The road to being a published author

I finished writing Cricket’s Song in 1997.  It was the first time I had finished anything longer than a short story, and I was happy that I had done it.

But I had no idea what to do next.

I read the how-to books, and I looked through Writer’s Market, and everyone said about the same thing: submit the first three chapters, and hope you get plucked from the slush pile.  Sure there were strategies for getting noticed, but if you didn’t have any connections, it was kind of a crap shoot.  Even with connections, you had to hit up the right editor, on the right day, when he was looking for a book like the one you wrote.  It was very intimidating, but I printed up some submissions, crossed my fingers, and sent them out.

And then waited.

I got one response, from Baen: a note that said they liked the writing, but it was too bucolic for them.  After I looked up “bucolic” (of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life), I realized that I hadn’t even considered that the different publishers would have different styles, and I basically threw up my hands and quit trying.  I kept writing (it’s a bit of a compulsion), but I didn’t think about doing anything with what I wrote.

And then I found the Beautiful (but Evil) Space Princess Sarah Hoyt.

I didn’t even find her blog looking for stuff about writing.  No, the link I followed talked about raising her two intelligent boys in the public school system, and what that system tried to do to her family–and how she fought back (hint: never mess with a space princess).  But as I continued reading, she talked about publishing independently.  And when I contacted her, she encouraged me directly.

So now I have some stuff up on Amazon, and even though I don’t sell much, that’s not the point.  The point is that I can order a copy of my own book (at the author’s rate, no less), and give it to my mom.  That’s beyond cool.

And if I can figure out the marketing angle, maybe I can get more people to read what I’ve written.  That would be pretty sweet, too.

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