The Journey of an Unpublished Author

by amanda on February 27, 2014

When I started on the journey of writing my book, I had lots of ideas but very little insight into what it would require to be a successful and published. I did what most first time authors do and I got a copy of the Writers Market from my school library. I consulted with my mentors and they suggested I look through the publishers and see which ones were looking for the kind of book and genre I’m writing for. That seemed like such a simple concept and it seemed like I could check the index, flip it open to those pages and find them in 15 minutes. For those of you who may be reading this and have experience in writing industry, stop laughing. Seriously, it’s not THAT funny. Ok, for those who don’t know why that is so hysterical allow me to explain. There are literally hundreds of publishers and they are looking for specific genres and topics on books. For instance, one publisher was looking for non-fiction books on ancient Chinese culture and religion and others specifically only want romance novels. I needed to find publishers who wanted “inspirational and overcoming life adversities” memoirs. This is simply a very difficult task but I was learning.

As with all things I do in life, I thought it would be a great opportunity to “go big or go home.” I was going to shoot for the stars and I decided to look for best selling memoirs’ publishers. After I collected a list of the top five publishers, I started to research what it would require to get them to consider my work and I found out another startling truth I didn’t know. Navigating publishers, especially big ones, was going to require an agent. I still needed to pitch my book to someone but it had transferred from the publisher to the agent. I’ve made a lot of connections in my speaking career but I’m still not entirely sure where to start.

I’m not going to lie about it. This process is exhausting. It feels like take two steps forward and one-step back. It feels hard to gain any kind of momentum but I’ve never been a quitter before and I’m not going to start now. One of my advisors said something that resonated with me and I found myself realizing how much truth there was in his statement. He said, “It’s not meant to be easy. If it were easy, every person who considers themselves a writer would be published. Half the struggle is just to weed out the ones who don’t want it enough.” I want it. I want it a lot. It’s one of the big life goals I decided on when I started becoming a professional speaker, and even before then if you count when I was a child and thought I’d write children’s books for a living.  Writing and talking are my forte. My mom and grandmother joked when I was a child that if I could get paid to talk when I grew up someday I would. They still laugh at the irony of how that situation actually played out for me as an adult. I’m not one to give up on my dreams so as I wade through publishers, agents, and edited transcripts I find myself that much more driven. I may not be published or still entirely sure on how to navigate the industry, but you can be rest assured I will figure it out one way or another.

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