I have some very exciting news. I have story that will be published in the Secrets and Doors anthology set to be released very soon. It has been quite a journey for me and I have learned a lot. If you are currently writing, or hoping to write and someday be published, trust me when I say it isn’t quite the way you imagined it would be.
I always thought that the most difficult part was writing the book-all the way to the end. When I finished my first book, I heard many times, “You wrote a book, how many people can say that they actually did that.” The truth is, a lot. There are so many stories out there just waiting to be published it is overwhelming. The book market is incredibly competitive. I learned this very early on when I started to get serious about writing.
I have been writing for a few years now and finished my first full length novel in 2008. I finished another novel a few years later and during that time, my family moved. We moved to the back of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. I joined a writing group and met some wonderful people. I have been very lucky because the authors in my group are more than just great writers, they are full of integrity. As you begin writing you will find that trait is just as important as finding a mentor that can write a good book. I look up to them and I am so lucky that I got to work on this project with them. Find them here: Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Angela Hartley.
I also learned that authors are their very own species. Maybe it is artists in general, but surely authors. Authors are creative minds with very sensitive souls. When I first walked into the world I told myself that I wasn’t going to feel that way. I was going to write because I loved it and not worry so much what others thought of me. What I found, however, was that I am just another author. As an author you are only as successful as the people who support you.
Thanks to the incredible group of people that I met, I learned so much and was able to submit my own story for the Secrets and Doors Anthology. The process from there was a lot of work. There is a lot of collaboration that goes into an anthology and I realized just how hard the leaders of our group work. They spent hours marketing and selling, finding editors and options, while I, learning from the sidelines sent a few cheers while I worked over and over again with the editor, Callie Stoker, to make sure my story was just right.
I was on cloud nine. Willing to put in the time and work hard. Writing is hard work. You need tough skin and a really big heart. You also need a great support team. I realized this when I received an email that asked to get a review of my story.
“No problem,” I thought. “I have friends and family with blogs. I know people.” How disappointing it was for me to realize that when I posted and asked for a small amount of help, I was answered with crickets from all of my blogger friends. Don’t feel bad for me, I did plenty of that for myself. So much so, that my precious sidekicks, so in tune with feelings made me this incredible drawing of themselves “answering my blog.”
I really do have a great support system, just most of them don’t blog or are already in the anthology so I strapped on my boots and did what I should have done to start with. I asked a stranger. Marketing 101 for a book, be brave, get out there, be willing to connect, and toot your own horn. I did just that and found the wonderful Mandy Eve Barnett to read my story and write a review. I will forever be grateful for her kindness and her ability to remind me that there really are great people in the world. I sent my story off to her with my stomach full of nerves.
This is the moment I realized I was an author. I had something special. Something that mattered to me. I shared my soul with the world. I was crushed when I felt a lack of support only to sit, waiting, stressed, scared to death and worried that I would get a bad review from someone who I never met. Would my career as an author be over? Would my next book never see the light of day?
I took a breath. I looked at my sidekicks and my husband with his thumbs up. I called some family who said they had my back and I thought of my mom who would probably be more excited for me in this moment than I am for myself. I moved on. I read others blogs, supported some friends and family on other things and remembered that life goes on. I already have some pretty great things to look forward too. Even if my reviewer hated the story, it was coming out anyway and this was a huge accomplishment.
I will let you see what Mandy thought of my story here: http://mandyevebarnett.com/
So as a first time author I would share that be prepared for a lot of hard work. Know that just as any other job in the world, you are just one of many-learn to stand out. Market yourself well with bravery. Believe in your story and in yourself. Learn from others, especially your mentors. They know what they are talking about and can help you along the way. Remember that your support may not be found in a blog post, but will be found in a letter from your sidekicks or those that took a chance on you to publish your book.
Don’t worry, I am over the disappointment I found early on. I am the lucky one to get to be one story of many that I share with some of the most incredible authors out there. Make sure to grab our book. The anthology proceeds will all be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. That is thanks to the great publisher Crimson Edge Publishing and all of the authors involved. While you are at it, make sure to check out some of the other authors and buy their other books too. They are good, honest, people and really great storytellers.
More about the Secrets and Doors:
Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).
In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.
Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.