Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!


This month's IWSG question asks about that first literary endeavor and where it is now. Mine is where it deserves to be, in a drawer, filed under "Learning Curve."

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I just didn't quite know how to go about it. Back in the '80s (Yes, I'm an '80s Lady!), the most you could hope for as a wannabe author was that your library had a copy of the Fiction Writers Market. No Internet, no social media, no chat groups. I didn't know another writer LIVED in the state of Michigan let alone how to find them. But I had a story I wanted to tell - a huge historical tome that involved martial arts, secret identities and a trip to China. From my handwritten notebook, I typed up those 600-some pages on my Smith Corolla, thumbed through FWM and found six publishers to query (whatever that meant!). Off went my proposals only to discovery four of the six didn't publish the type of book I'd written. I got one photocopied rejection and amazingly one request for a full manuscript. Off it went boxed in dreams. And back it came with a pleasant "No thank you" and no comments. The worst feeling ever, having the manuscript box delivered back to your door. I would never be an author.

Two years went by before I thought about writing again. When the bug bit, it bit hard, and within 14 months, I had three more completed manuscripts and again decided to try my luck - this time just typing up the proposal from the best of the three potentials and sending it off to another four publishers. Three I never heard back from. One responded in two weeks. Zebra/Kensington wanted to see my Regency-set historical! I had to run to the grocery store to see what their books looked like. Oh, dear! Those pink and purple covers! I scrambled to type it up and expressed (!) it to the requesting editor. Three days later, Carin Cohen called with an offer and asked what else I had! I ended up selling another of the four along with an option book.

Sixty books later, I look back on that first requested manuscript with a nostalgic sigh. Will I pull it out and try to earn something off it self-publishing it along with some of the rest of my backlist? Not in a million years. It's value was something far greater than royalties. It paid off in experience.

How about you? Do you know what your first manuscript is doing?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!


Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the August 3rd posting will be Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders!

14 comments:

  1. Great blog, Nancy. My first effort, COME KISS ME, LIAR, is printed out and piled in my office closet. Good thing since the software I wrote it in, AmiPro, is a little hard to come by, and it's only been saved on floppy disk. Such fun. Still love that story that I re-wrote nine times. At least I learned never to do that again. :)

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  2. Oh man, the Fiction Writer's Market! It was always an exciting day when the newest one showed up at the library. I think I was checking it out every week!

    Congrats on all your success!

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    1. Thanks, Megan! I wonder how many authors would be out there today if they had to work that hard to get published . . .

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  3. You've come a long way, baby! You remind me of what it means to "never give up"! So very glad that you didn't. I wouldn't have Max now if you had. :)

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    1. All just so you and Max could get together. No, don't thank me, Sandra! LOL!

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  4. LOL! Love the pic, and I can just imagine your beeline to the market. You go, girlfriend. And just look at you now! And look at me, over here looking for the WEWRIWA post...I'm not behind at all..LOL! Great post. You made me laugh. I needed that!

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    1. Then my job here is done! Thanks, Dr. E. Yes, we've come a long way.

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  5. Beautiful! I like the sentence, Sixty books later. That is some accomplishment and that first book that you wrote gave you the kick that you needed to keep moving. I am still working on my first manuscript and I hope that I too receive the Kick that spirals me out into the literary world.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Keep on keeping on, Pat!! You're on the first step. Keep climbing!

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  6. What perseverance! As long as I've known you, I've never heard this story. My 1st ms is filed with yours, marked experience. Keep on writing, girl.

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  7. My very first literary endeavor, which I started writing in Jr high, is preserved in handwritten notebooks and some typewritten pages. While I never finished that Civil War story, I might someday do that. I still love those characters. Congrats on all your success, Nancy. You're always an inspiration.

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    1. I have those notebooks, too!! Never throw anything away!

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