Many years ago, when I first started writing, I was told that to become a published author you needed, luck, perseverance and talent. Now this bit of advice came with a BUT, you only needed to have 2 of the 3. So you could have luck and talent or perseverance and luck, etc., etc. I’d actually argue though that to stay published you really need all three. So here’s my story…
It was June 14, 2004 and I was with my mom at lunch, so I just happened to have my ringer turned up on my cell phone. I noticed the area code on the caller ID and I had just read about a fellow chapter mate noticing the same thing and how 212 meant NYC. So I immediately started to panic. When I answered she asked for me and said that it was Kelly from Avon and that this was, “the call.” She loved my book and wanted to offer me a 2-book deal.
Holy cow! My hands were shaking like crazy and I mouthed to my mom what was going on and she started jumping up and down and holding her hand over her mouth to keep from screaming. I remembered vaguely that I needed to write things down, so I grabbed an envelope and jotted everything down on the back. I wish I had been more coherent to hear all the glowing things she said about my writing and the book, but I was listening for number details so I would have info to give my top -choice agent when I hung up the phone. You see at this point I didn’t have an agent. I’d been trying for a while and had no luck, that’s why I’d started submitting to editors.
So I hung up the phone, jumped around with my mom for a bit and called my agent choice and left her a voice mail with the details. Then I called a myriad of people – boyfriend (now husband), critique partners, dad, sister, etc. Then I had to go back to my (then) day job. ACK! So I reluctantly went back to work, but I was excited and dazed and shocked. I told all my co-workers and they were all very excited as well. Then the agent called back and we discussed details, she offered representation, then she called Kelly back to finalize the details of the offer.
So that day, I had woken up with 5 completed manuscripts and having written for 7 years and yet another frustrating day having not heard anything from NYC and that night I went to bed as a multi-published author – or at least contracted as such. For all the difficulties in this business, the highs are pretty stinking high!
Now, 9 years later, I’ve published 8 books (plus one novella) and have 3 more coming out this year. And frankly I still think it takes a little bit of luck, a good measure of talent and a huge helping of perseverance to stay in this business.