Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Become a Published Author; Part 2

    This post is a continuation from yesterday:
    To recap, I turned down two publishers.  One was small and didn't have a non-fiction audience; the other one was religious and wanted me to change "damn" to "dang."  But let's not get into religion again. I already wrote a post about that last week.
     Back to the point.  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'm sorry your son died, but I don't feel there is a large enough audience of people who have miscarried or lost children because of birth defects."

    Maybe I had missed the boat.  Changing my book--my journal--maybe it would have been the right thing--dang it!

    I did some research after that.  Here's what I started including at the end of my query: 180 babies are born every minute and 1.8 of them are born with defects.  A vast number of people can relate to my story but regardless of that fact, everyone has experienced grief, everyone has experienced loss.
    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.  Last January 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.
    This is what I wrote 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 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?  
    "I know my book can help someone out there--if it just has the 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 my book launch, 
please click here: 


    1. Heart-wrenching! I can't wait for part 3! (I'm tweeting and FBing this post as well)

    2. Oh yes, I can't wait for part three. It's nice to go back and hear how everything got started...:)Although, friend requesting that many people made me laugh. You are so sweet....LOL

    3. It's not exactly something I would have classified as a niche market. "everyone has experienced grief, everyone has experienced loss" is a powerful and accurate statement.

    4. It's amazing how many people you meet through social networking. I just joined the blog community and have already made a few friends. I love it!!

      I'm glad that I already know your story has a happy ending or else I'd be nervous right now. lol

    5. Let's not forget how after you got into blog world you bullied me into joining you. So glad you did. I didn't know you had done this. lol So you. Love your face girl!

    6. Thanks for posting! keep up the good work

    7. You wear your bra when you sleep? That doesn't sound comfortable. Give up the bra and have even more success.


    8. Yeah it's all about perception, once you have the followers and such people take you way way more seriously, even if like 10 of them you know..hahaha

      I never thought I'd like this blog stuff either, but away I went. If interesting to see what/who one finds, even the nuts..haha

    9. I had to go back and read Part One--I am behind.

      I admire your courage Elisa, and glad to hear that you were published doing things your way--rather than conforming to what others think a writer should be.

    10. I Love this post EC. We are kindered spirits. Yes!

    11. I have heard recently that a woman is expected to have at least 1 miscarriage in her life. Isn't that enough of a 'market'?? I cracked up over you following yourself...I did it too at first! Glad to know I wasn't the only one!

    12. Loved the letter you sent to your "friends". That took guts, lady. And now you have over 1,000 followers--that takes talent!

    13. Dang, I'm going to need FB friends to sell a book? Maybe you could ask your friends to friend the rest of us just for show.

      I had a miscarriage, by the way. Just got to the point I can talk about it after 15 years. Sort of, not really.

    14. I honestly don't remember how I started following you. Maybe you found me; maybe I found you. I don't know, but I do know that I've enjoyed your blog so much. I don't log onto my blog much anymore because lately I've been susceptible to writing sad posts, and I don't want to loose any followers over depressing them. I love that I follow you on Tiwtter, but I just wish there were quirky things that you tweet in 140 characters or less, like you write about in your blog (since I've missed your latest posts)

      Also, I love the letter you sent to the people on facebook. It did take woman balls, but I recently heard a term that I think you might enjoy. Instead of saying woman balls, you could say, "lady-nads!"

    15. Nice continuation from yesterday. Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

    16. Just popping to say hello and the very best of luck with the novel, Elisabeth. It's always fascinating to read of journeys to publication, paths often snaking and full of boulders as they are! I'm sure when the book is out there will be many more readers who connect with your warmth, humour and insight.

    17. Elisa,
      Don't get down.
      I am finding that the literary world is not very different from trying to be a singer or actress.
      It's all about timing, who you know and how hard you try.
      You are working your ass off and I have a good feeling about you and your work.
      I believe in you and KNOW you have what it takes.

    18. Wow, Elisa. What a harsh world. I believe in you, and pray for you.

    19. I'm a new reader so please excuse if you've already discussed this but...what about self publishing? I keep seeing these self-published books showing up on the bestseller list on amazon (some only avail via Kindle). If you are expected to use your own network to market your blog maybe you should pocket all the proceeds too? Plus then you can skip the whole "dang" BS ;)

    20. i remember seeing my first follower, too, and it was me as well:)
      the publishing world is a disgusting place.

    21. I love that you were your first follower! Now I don't feel so badly about my accidental clicky issues. ;)

    22. --Do it your way, E.

      The rest of them can go to Hell!!

    23. Nice continuation from yesterday! Will be reading tomorrow's post!

    24. You are all so sweet :) This support meant A TON! I amazed that I'm so blessed!

      Yes, I wore a bra to sleep when I was fifteen. Little good wearing it OR not wearing it did LOL! :0)

      I am so sorry you went through that.

      That's a great idea about Twitter. I'm on triberr so a bunch of my tweets are rerouting from other people.

      I think self-publishing is a wonderful way to go :)

    25. You're so amazing.

    26. Just came across your blog, its interesting, followed.

    27. Ahhh...Julianna was my first non already friend "Follower"...somehow I think I ended up on Melynda's blog and then yours...but I can't remember how I got to Melynda's.
      I now have 68 followers. :)