Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Become a Published Author; Part 1

    Since my first novel is coming out in less than twenty-five days, I thought it might be fun to share the journey I went through.  It's taken a lot of work to get where I am. 

    I started keeping a journal over nine years ago.  Little did I know, six years later, that journal would be my lifeline to a time so altering, I'd tried pushing it out of my mind.  But through my own words, my own struggles, I saw a new part of myself.  I found the joy and happiness--the healing--that miraculously came in the year after my son died.
    I kept thinking how much a book like that would have helped me earlier, right after my loss; it was sad because at the time I'd only found things written by doctors and therapists.  So, from the encouragement or my brother and two good friends, I decided to make small grammatical revisions and try to find a publisher.  




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    Now, finding a publisher IS NOT easy.  I went through several market guides.  I visited www.yellowpages.com and called every single listed publisher in my state.  I knew I'd meet a ton of great people, but what I didn't realize is how many authors are self-published and listed as having publishing companies.  Through this process, that single day of phone calls helped me more than anything prior to it.
    I met a self-published cook who sold over a million copies of her cookbook.  A lady who'd been to Africa had sold over 50,000 copies of her novel about photography.  I met a man who knew how to write AND make bullets during the Apocalypse.  I even talked with an author's wife--her husband wrote "The Christmas Box."  (I had no idea what a big deal that was at the time and we just shot the bull like it was nothing.)
    After calling over seventy people, and sending several queries, I found two publishers who were interested.  One had never published a memoir or a journal before, but felt drawn to my cause and my little boy who had died.  
    The other publisher wanted me to remove "damn" and replace it with "dang."  I kindly declined the small publisher who had never released a memoir, and I almost signed with the straight-laced bigger company.  
    I was so close, but the thought of my treasured journal reading, "Dang it, my son died," was too much for me.
    I rejected their offer as well and continued on with little luck.     
    Several bigger publishers said I needed a platform before they'd even consider my work.  So, another part of the process began. 

    I'll share part 2 tomorrow.  On a side note, would you have changed "damn" to "dang" if it meant you'd be a published author?   

33 comments:

  1. I'm happy for you! :)

    and I wouldn't change damn to dang. it's not the same. If you meant damn that that is what should be!! :)

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  2. I am sorry to hear about your rough past. I am glad that you had a great support system and was able to make it through.

    I would never change Damn to Dang, especially for such a personal piece of work. Dang reminds me of silly things and silly people...damn makes me think angry, mad, and meaningful...Damn is a much more powerful word.

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  3. I wouldn't have changed it, either. If it was a piece of fiction you had been shopping around, it would've been fine to take the publisher's suggestion. But this book is a very personal work, and you want it to ring true to what happened. And I think you've got the "platform" thing covered. 1307 members? Woot!

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  4. I'm with you: "Damn" stays.

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  5. So it's really that difficult to find a publisher... For me, "damn" is way better too. I'll wait for the Part 2.

    World of Vhincci

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  7. You can't change someone's thoughts and words just because you are on some 'moral high horse'. If that were the case then a lot of classic literature would suck "parts of the male genitalia known as testicles" aka balls!

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  8. Me change something? Not likely. I wouldn't be who I am if I did that. I'm eager to see part 2.

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing your story...I really can't wait to read the next part.

    NO I would not change it and I really respect you for refusing to do so as well. The temptation can be overbearing.

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  10. Change nothing. You intended it the way you wrote it, and you shouldn't be asked to go against yourself.

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  11. It's a journal! The minute you start changing things it loses it's integrity. I'm proud of you for not taking the easy road and sticking to your guns. You are an amazing woman and I'm so proud of you. Way to go!
    For all the nay sayer's that have told you not to self publish and all the other crap they have put you through I say screw 'em. You're a rock star and they don't have a clue.

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  12. Change it? No DAMN way!! THE GOLDEN SKY is an amazing read. You took your life & your heart & laid them on the table for everyone to see. It took a lot of guts to do that, Elisa!

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  13. Yeah I'd never change Damn to Dang that is just dumb. It just sounds stupid. Dang sounds like some Deliverence type twang..haha...Good call on that. A million copies of a book too, damn that would be nice. (dang that would be nice) see sounds dumb..haha

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  14. What a cliff hanger! I can't wait to hear what (and how) you decided. No, I wouldn't have substituted 'dang'. For you to have come to wisdom about such a loss--enough to write a book--means that the publisher has to respect your instincts and truth. That truth said 'damn'. I'm glad you stuck to it.

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  15. I so agree with LMF. Dang is a light word and at such a personal moment, I would cuss too. Even though I don't cuss much, that moment would make the exception. Besides, it's all about word choice which is very important. I know some people don't value it, but as a poet, word choice is everything. The meaning and the context around words are all that I work for. Therefore, I think you made the right decision.

    Now I can't wait for what happened! Part Two coming soon, yeah? :)

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  16. Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to hearing part 2!

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  17. I wouldn't change a single fucking word to get published. I yam what I yam and I likes what I am. Nobody will publish me anyway so it doesn't matter. You have to actually write a book to get the book published. hahahahahahahaha

    Love,
    Lola

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  18. Wow, I didn't exspect to read this whole thing, but I got pulled in deep just to be cliff hangered in the end lol
    I guess I'll be back tomorrow :)
    And, congrats!

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  19. "Dang" is completely disingenuous and I would look with great suspicion on any publisher who would suggest it, with the possible exception if it were a children's picture book in question. But definitely not for a memoir such as that!

    I didn't realize that you had a book coming down the pike, so I will be sure to keep a look out for it.

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  20. Thanks for sharing this! Can't wait to read part 2! I posted this on FB and Twitter as well

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  21. Never in a billion years!!! Of course, I a published author... but you are and I am so happy for you for that.
    Can't wait to read it!
    Love your writing!

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  22. Um no.

    I'd have used an even stronger word.

    Oh most likely, fallen to my knees with no words at all.

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  23. Very intriguing. Can not wait for tomorrow.

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  24. No. I would not change the word in that usage. My losses were only miscarriages and those were traumatic enough since it took so long to get pregnant. I went farther backwards post reading because a friend's child died. But I ended up reading your blog and your brother's comments about the whole sitting down to pee business. My brother does the same thing at home for the same reasons. Kudos to both! I want to smack my hubby because he refuses and I end up sitting on the evidence. Then he claims it me who peed on the floor in front of the toilet. Grrr!

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  25. No way. No dang way. xD
    Its your story and it'll be your voice that people hear when they read it. And it'll be your story that'll help other people get through a difficult time as well. Just hang in there until you feel like it right, I mean, there's no rush right. I know that when you ppublish a book, it'll be perfect and something that I would love to read x)

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  26. Now forgive me, but the only way to answer your question as to whether I would change damn to dang is: (Look away mom) Hell no.
    Good for you hon.

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  27. hi elisa!
    feeling so proud of you:)another example that proves hardwork pays:) so nice of you to share this informative post:)
    tc

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  28. Dang is a stupid word. I might have changed it to something else, but not dang. I'm so sorry your son died. I can't imagine losing one of my kids.

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  29. Damn! I can't wait for part two!!!

    Who says dang?...honestly!

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  30. I say dang. But I also say damn. It means different things. And when your son died, it wasn't a dang it. It was damn it. ((hugs)) and thank you for sharing.

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  31. Damn to Dang?
    Never.
    But tell me what is wrong with the word Damn? I don't see anything offensive in it. Do you?

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  32. I'm so glad I'm finally getting a chance to read this. And no, I wouldn't change damn to dang...ridiculous!

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