Well, sometimes, yes. Most times, not so much. Since I’ve published my trilogy, I hear those words quite often. What most people don’t know is how much work actually went into those three books.
The first book, I started writing when I was 21. It took me another 7 years to write about 3 chapters. Maybe 4 chapters, I really don’t remember. Everything was handwritten and I had a notebook full of scenes, then different scenes and the ending and a little bit of everything.
You have to realize, during those 7 years I got a divorce, lost my father, moved to a different state, got remarried and worked two jobs majority of the time.
It took another 6 years to get everything transcribed into the computer and write another 6 chapters or so. Then I started college. I wrote a little here and there, but never seriously for any length of time. When I finished school, I was bored and finished the book, polished it to the best of my ability at the time and started submitting to agents.
That’s when I started taking this whole thing seriously. Overall, it took me 14 years to finish the first novel. Then another four years to edit, revise, edit again, etc., etc., etc. until the novel only somewhat resembled the first idea I’d had. During one of the final rounds of edits, the idea for the second book came to life. I wrote that first draft in about two months. I wrote the third book’s first draft in a little over a month.
So by the middle of last year, I seriously started looking at self publishing. The intention was to publish the first one in October. I held off after going to a conference and getting a full request for the first book. I polished up the draft (yet again) before sending. While waiting for a response, I finished editing the other two. In all, I spent the last four months of last year doing nothing but edits. I probably went through those books three times each in those four months. Did I miss typos? A few. So far my readers have been forgiving.
For the whole trilogy to come to life and out to the readers took a grand total of 19 years. Now hubby said that’s a little misleading because I wasn’t really seriously writing during a good chunk of that time. And he’s right. It took 5 years from seriously deciding to publish to actual publication.
And I had loads of help. Encouragement of a best selling author, a few critique partners who suffered through those earlier versions, tons of classes with writing assignments, contest entries, winning a 25 page critique. I think that last one is what helped the most. The author I won the critique from really took the time to point out what I was doing wrong and write and she even looked at my revisions to see if I was on the right track. I really think that was the major turning point.
I guess what this post is about is not giving up. But you also have to take that last giant leap in order to become an author. I made the choice of self-publishing not because I didn’t think I was good enough to get an agent, but because I got tired of those agents telling me my story wouldn’t sell. It seems to have done fairly well, at least in my eyes. Especially considering I’m about as far from a marketing genius as you could get.
So I have to thank Annette Blair for the encouragement, Donna K. Weaver for the help and cheer leading and for Kim Law for giving her time to a writer on the cusp but still needing help. You ladies have been fantastic and I appreciate all you’ve done for me. BTW, love their books 🙂
Have a great weekend everyone!