What makes an author? What kind of journey do we embark on the moment we make the decision to share the stories we’ve been putting into bytes for many years?
For me, the journey began right after the birth of my youngest child. My husband offered me the opportunity to stay at home but also work. He suggested that I follow my dream of becoming a published author.
Let me tell you, the initial acceptance of several short stories gave me more hope than I had bargained for. I was published! My stories were in magazines, being read by teens everywhere. Those were happy days, times when I celebrated the success that came to me early.
Then came the constant rejections. The magazine industry was fading. Those publishers were scaling back on who they accepted. I turned to novels, thinking I’d have the same easy acceptance I did with short stories.
Oh, how wrong I was. For the better part of nearly fifteen years, I’d submit again and again. I’d refine my books, seek out any publisher, and stare in shock at the rejections, if I received one. We were now in the twenty-first century. It wasn’t unusual for a publisher not to respond to a query, if the story didn’t grab them.
Still, I kept submitting. I searched for online publishers, thinking that if the Big 5 or small traditional publishers didn’t want my work, someone else would. Day after day, I’d write for a few hours and then go on the internet, seeking the one publisher who would see what I did in my books.
Even then, that contract offer eluded me. I remember very well the day I decided to give one last publisher a chance—Solstice Publishing. I sent them Softly Say Goodbye and then decided to dive into working on new stories, new tales of teens. For six months, I waited and checked my email more than I should have.
One night in November of 2011, a night my family was sadly thinking about how my husband wouldn’t have a job in six short weeks, I clicked on the email icon. It was more something to do than any urge to see what was there.
To my surprise, there was a letter from Solstice Publishing there. I stared at that little line for many minutes, afraid to open the email and see another rejection. That’s how convinced I was that nothing would go right.
Finally, I did the double click and the email opened. I read the acceptance. Noticed the attached contract—about five times. Then I squealed. Laughed. Hysterically.
My then teenager immediately thought his mom had gone over the edge. All I could do was laugh and cry, pointing at the computer screen. Tears ran down my face. Our son kept yelling at me “What’s the matter?” He hollered for his dad, saying that I’d lost it.
I looked up at my frightened teen and screamed, “I sold a book!”
Those are the exact words I used. His fear vanished in an instant and he was hopping up and down, yelling out the good news. My husband was laughing again. The worse moment of our lives had become a victory, one we will forever cherish.
My journey isn’t over by a long shot. Even now, almost five years later, I have a home with Solstice Publishing. This publisher has given me the confidence to expand my wings, take on subjects that aren’t the typical teen story. And I don’t plan to quit. Ever.