READY OR NOT

I’d gotten used to rejections in my four-year quest to get published. I say four because I first settled behind the keyboard in 2007 to write the book that had echoed in my head for years. Everyone says they’d like to write a book. Well, here’s the secret to it — sit down and write. Or type, as it were.

I can’t take credit for that as an original thought. I actually saved it from my Cleveland Plain Dealer days when an editor used to include a Quote Of The Day in a weekly critique. The full quote was something like: “Get to the desk regularly. The writers we admire…might be geniuses whose talents dwarf ours, but more they’re people who show up…if you want to write, you must begin by beginning, continue by continuing, finish by finishing. This is the great secret…Tell no one.” (Jack Heffron,“The Writer’s Idea Book” (2000)).

I cut that out and taped it to my desk at home, where it still hangs. And so I crafted my first book and tried to get it published, having no idea how to do that. I tell friends I jumped into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim (I can’t). There are certain rules that must be followed, simple ones, like double space your manuscript, and more complex ones, like the proper way to send a query and what it should include. I’ve learned a lot since those first few letters I sent out and my first manuscript. I hope some day it will be published but I know now, it needs work.

Still. How many people can say they actually sat down and “wrote a book.” I’ve completed three and am working on number four. The one that will be published next month was the second one I wrote, but it has undergone many revisions and rewrites since its first draft.

But back to the rejections. Three years worth. Some were form letters — thanks but no thanks — and some more personal — keep trying. You are very publishable. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the agent kind enough to write that.

It was late at night and I was about to go to bed when I jumped on the computer one last time to check my e-mail. There was my response from Jennifer Lawler, the Crimson Romance editor whom I’d queried about my romantic suspense, then titled “On Fire.”

I wasn’t ready to end my day on a negative note. I stared at the e-mail but decided not to open it until the next morning. I could take another rejection easier then, with a cup of coffee in my hand and the sun shining in the window.

But Jennifer didn’t reject me! Instead, she signed me to a contract and I get to put my money where my mouth is. I am a published author … ready or not!

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