More Improvements = I Hit My Original Goal

When I began writing in earnest, my original goal was to reach 75,000 words. Last week, when I thought I'd finished the book, I'd only reached 70,000. And I was okay with that. After one editing earlier this week, I added a little over 2,000 words. And I thought I was finished.

But something kept nagging at me.

If my book claims to be one that emphasizes forgiveness and mercy, shouldn't the most pivotal moment in the character's life be worthy of more than just two paragraphs? Most certainly! As it now stands, it was deserving of an entire chapter all its' own. I feel like I've broadened this message and given it more room to sink into my readers than before.

And in the process of what I felt were necessary improvements to the story, I added far more words than I expected.

In fact, I now have just over 75,500 words in my story. Which means that my original goal has now been met.


Fun Part's Done...Now for the Real Work!

It occurred to me last night as I updated this blog how accurate the tag line under my heading is. "An aspiring writer's quest to becoming a published author." Oh, boy, is it ever a quest!

I've often heard that breaking into traditional publishing is nigh on impossible anymore (and, again, why I think there are so many indie-publishers out there). But I'm gonna give it my best shot.

After checking out the submission requirements for several Christian publishing companies, I've discovered two websites that cater to people trying to get published. On one, you submit your entire manuscript and wait to be "discovered". On the other, you pay a one-time fee of less than $100 and submit a proposal (plus a sample of your work). It remains for 6 months. In that time, publishers can look at it and, if interested, send you a contract.

Just to round things out, I also looked at CreateSpace (one of the self-publishing branches of Amazon that lets you publish your novel digitally and in print).

I'm still waiting to hear back from the company I contacted yesterday. Once I do, depending upon what they say, I may go ahead and start the process for the online Christian publishing website I found.

I'm not quite sure which is the best way to go at this point. While I love the idea of "The Reunion" being published by one of the traditional publishing companies, I do not want a writing contract at this time. I've never done well writing under deadlines. In this case, self-publishing might just be a better option all around.

Something to think and pray about, anyway.

At any rate, I realize that the fun part--writing the story--is done. Now the real work begins!

Edited to add - I heard back from the company - they are not accepting submissions at this time. There's a part of me that can't help thinking if I'd finished much sooner and not lollygagged about, I could've sent it straight to my original contact. At the same time, there's obviously nothing I can do about it now, and this kind of thinking is not helpful. God knew the perfect time for me to be finished and He knows just what the next steps should be. I just have to keep focusing on the MAJOR accomplishment I've just achieved instead of the long, hard road ahead of me.


A Brief Blip of Disappointment

I dug out the story again this afternoon and reworked a part that just didn't feel finished. 2,000 words later, it feels finished. Yay!

At that point, I decided it was time to send The Email. Two years ago, I received the contact information for a woman who worked for a Christian publishing company. She seemed interested in reading my story---when it was finished---and encouraged me to keep her contact information. I did. And I emailed her that it was finally finished.

And......she apparently no longer works there, as the email came back to me.


I'm not gonna lie, I was very disappointed. On the one hand, I know this is a long process. But the impatient (excited) side of me hoped that this very first company would love it and want to publish it. Silly, really. Especially when I hear stories about famous (and well-published) authors like John Grisham who kept getting refusals when they first began writing novels.

Still. Can't help how I feel about it.

I've emailed the customer service department asking whom I need to send my submission to (and if they are even accepting unsolicited submissions. Zondervan, unfortunately, is not. At least, not in my genre), so hopefully I'll hear back soon.

Otherwise, I guess it's a waiting game.

(Like so many other things in my life lately.)


Okay, I Wrote a Novel.... What's Next?

I have a sinking feeling that all that work I just finished was the easy part. Now comes the challenging part.

Honestly, I have some idea of where to go from here but not really. There is a plan, yes, but if that doesn't work out...

First, I will let it simmer for about a week and then do another reading. Once I've made any corrections that need to be made, I'll start the process of submitting it to editors. And I'll keep doing this until I find one that wants my book. However long that takes.

I've got one possible contact but that's it. So if anyone has any editorial contacts they want to send my way, I'd love to have them. There is always the option of going the self-publishing route, but after dreaming about this since I was about 10, I'd really like it to be traditionally published.

Even if that means I submit it over and over and over until I find someone who wants it. (But I pray it doesn't come to that.)


It Is Finished

4+ years and 70,000 words later, it’s finished.

My first novel is done.

It is so strange to write those words and even harder to take them in. Justin and Emma have been with me for so long now that it’s very difficult to imagine days not spent in their presence. Their story has changed so much from what I originally intended. But in a good way. I always intended this to be more Emma’s story than anything. And it still is.  I wasn’t prepared, however, for the fact that Justin had a story to tell as well. So I’ve decided it’s not necessarily Emma’s story or Justin’s I’m telling---it’s their story. Their combined story of grace and forgiveness.

What’s also hard for me to take in is that I’ve completed a full-length novel. Up until now, the only stories I’ve ever completed were short ones of no more than 20 pages in length (at the longest). And now... 70,000 words written.


And I don’t know how to feel about that. I’m giddy and sad all at the same time.

Is this normal? Who knows.

There’s also an element of fear.

What if nobody likes it? What if people hate it and leave me scathing reviews. Or, what if none of the publishing companies want it???

On the other hand, just whom did I write this for anyway? For other people? Or for me? If I’m pleased with the story, it shouldn’t matter what anyone else says. In fact, I can about guarantee someone (most likely multiple someones) won’t like it. And I’ll probably cry and be depressed.

But that’s okay.

I just have to remember why I wrote it.

There is one undeniable fact to remember:

I wrote a novel.

And that’s something to be ridiculously proud of regardless of what happens.