Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Become a Published Author; Part 2

    This post is a continuation from yesterday:

     So, I tried finding another publisher over the next year, and toward the end, all of the rejections sounded the same. 

"The market is tough right now."  
"We're only representing established authors at this time."
"I love your story, but you don't have a platform."

  I finally found a small publisher who would publish it, but the sweet man had less of a following that I did AND the contract seemed strange.  I turned him down and felt maybe I had missed the boat.  Maybe going with him would have been the right thing--dang it!

    I did some research after that and found that although there are many epic fantasies, there are few about humans living in the ocean.  I changed up my query.
    The rejections were softer after that.  (Adding facts to my query had helped.)  Two editors even said that if I had an audience, they would have published my book.
    "What kind of audience?" I asked.
    "More friends or 'likes' on facebook.  You need a blog.  You need a following on twitter.  You're the one who will be able to connect with the people who need to read your book.  You're the one who needs to build this platform."
    That's when I got crazy.  In January of 2011 I started a blog.  I had a small number of friends on facebook, no idea what twitter was, ten cents in my pocket, and no followers.
    One day I looked at my blog and was thrilled because I had ONE FOLLOWER!  My heart dropped when I realized who it was--I'd followed myself on accident.  I quickly unfollowed and continued on.
    My friend came over a few days later.  She watched me clicking away on the computer.  "What in the hell are you doing?" she asked.
    "I'm friending people on facebook."
    "Do you actually know any of them?" she asked.
    "Not yet, but someday I will."
    I made it to almost 800 friend requests that day.  One lady said, "I looked just like Aunt Esther."  Her comment was great, except I don't have an Esther in my family.  
    A man said he hadn't talked to my father Roy in years.  I just didn't have the heart to tell him, I don't have a father named "Roy."      
    I got a message from a young man.  "Didn't I meet you at the bar?" 
   "Don't you remember?" I responded, and he accepted my friendship immediately!
    It was the next morning though, when I almost died.     
    Another person had e-mailed me from facebook.  "I don't know you.  I see you've had a lot of connections recently.  Why do you want to be my friend?"
    My face flushed.  The guy was military--which meant he'd see through ANY LIE!  It was like the time I'd heard that if I slept without a bra on, my boobs would get bigger, but once I tried it, nothing spectacular happened--talk about disappointment!
    I faced the computer.  My little cursor blinked--the damn thing knew I was in trouble.
    But I grew some woman balls then, and did the best I could.
    I wrote something like this back to the man and ALL of the other people who had mistaken me for someone else (well everyone except bar-boy):
    "Eight years ago my son died in my arms.  The day God took him from me, I felt like someone had ripped out my soul, but through everything, I gained the courage to face an uncertain future.  I realized God never left me . . . and things would get better.  
    "My son's life and death made me who I am.
    "I kept a journal through the whole experience and wrote a fantasy novel to help my children cope, and now I might find a decent publisher if I can just gain a platform--friends on facebook and followers on my blog and twitter.
    "I know we haven't met in person, but I'd love to start a friendship with you, here on facebook.  Will you be my friend and help me with this cause?  
    "This is my dream--I just need a chance."

    E-mails started pouring in after that.  I was too terrified to read them though, at least until I could put on some fancy boots and drink a huge thing of coke.  (Boots and coke--they just make things better.)

    To be continued tomorrow . . .  

    If you'd like more information about Zeke, 
please click here: 


    1. i find it pretty interesting that you have to build the platform. it's things like that that you don't think about when you're being creative. or at least i don't.

    2. I love your posts, and I love your story. This isn't the first time I get happy tears at reading your blog.

      That aside! I find it strange also, that we have to have a platform, but... if it means meeting awesome people along the way, I'm all for it.

    3. Elisa, your post cracked me up all the way... what an adventure. After reading one of one of your post last year, I decided to make more friends on FB this year (something I didn't care about before.)

      Last month, I saw a friend with a million and one (lol) friends so I sent him a message to send me some of his friends. Silly me. He was polite and told me I had to write a message why so that he could post it on his blog.

      I had to think of another plan. I thought, what the hell, I'll just steal some of his friends. I started clicking on about 100 of his friends and some managed to become my friend until FB put a clamp on my activity – asking them if they knew me and if I didn’t know them that I should stop friending them.\

      So I went to twitter.

      Keep the posts coming, I’m enjoying them.

      I write a post later, you can check it out.

    4. You always make me smile. Your honesty and personality won out. It always will. :)

    5. Not one for facebook, twitter is where my path lies, but I still use it here and there. Your adventures into publishing was sure a daunting one, but definitely say it was worth it just from starting this blog, such fun.

    6. Argh another to be continued. The torture!

      I haven't gotten any of those on Facebook but I've gotten a handful of "Why are you following me?" on twitter, which I find odd as Twitter is a lot more public / open than Facebook. If you don't want random people following you, set your profile to private.

      You're 100% right about establishing relationships though. It's awesome too. I haven't met so many cool people since my college days.

      This is one of the funny things about publishers. People don't realize that they expect you to do most of the work. I think people have a fantasy about sending their manuscript out and suddenly *poof* they're JK Rowling. :)

    7. Times have certainly changed since computers and the social network arrived--LOL! It does make sense, I suppose. You'd have a built-in following if you have all those online connections, I guess. If I ever wrote a book I'd be screwed because I quit facebook and twitter a long time ago--LOL!

    8. I remember reading about the response of the military man--it was wonderful! And all this Twitter & Facebook nonsense is still another reason I haven't written a book.

    9. I think this is what would be so hard for me to do my art professionally. I am not a social person, and even people I knew or know as acquaintances I don't have on my Facebook. Ah well. I think that is a part of my life I will have to work on.

      Social Networking, just the name makes me hyperventilate. Why can't it just be Networking? Why did they have to put that silly "social" word in front of it!

      1. It's not as bad as it sounds. If I had my way, I'd be a hermit. Yet I do ok in the twitter and facebooks of the world. It's all about being yourself and not being overly self-conscious (which isn't too hard to do when just in front of a pc screen)

    10. Ha ha ha, Is that what I have been doing? Just goes to show you, there is a reason for everything! I have been writing my whole life, but never considered writing a book until I started blogging and YOU my dear are on of the reasons :)

    11. Chocolate coke, right?

    12. You do look a lot like Aunt Esther, honey.


    13. I don't know why I couldn't figure out what they meant by platform. Duh, right? Why don't they just say it...you need social media funky world;) I know, social media really helps me, and I have to use it and totally embrace it, but c'mon, it's funky. Am I the only one?

    14. Love the style of the request you typed up. Nothing beats honesty.

    15. I see now why many authors have blogs, twitter and facebook. I think it is a great way of getting known and published. Good for you.

    16. You don't need boots and coke! You are amazing as is. Me on the other hand I need my boots and diet coke. lol After all my boots match my hair. I wrote that one for tomorrow. lol

    17. You followed yourself? No worries, I accidently did the same thing. hahaha

    18. It is certainly tough being an author, I do not envy the hard work you all put into not just the writing but all this networking you do. Keep up the good work.

    19. Dear Elisa,
      In "The Golden Sky" you reveal yourself as fiercely honest. You refused to change the text so as to seem older than your 19 years when Zeke was born.

      I have concluded from reading your blog for almost nine months, that you simply are fiercely honest about yourself and your life. It is one of your most outstanding traits.


    20. like the story so far. looking forward to part 3. :)

      i have a problem with FB. i can't seem to get more "likes". is that what i have to do? go liking other things?

    21. What an amazing tale this is! I can't wait to go and read part 3. It sounds like it was a good thing your friend came over and helped you to get the ball rolling! :)

    22. Very inspiring post. I'm a new follower. Can't wait to read more/

    23. Judging from the number of followers on your blog, it looks like you're doing a great job building a platform! Looking forward to reading more.