Sunday, October 7, 2012

Harlie's an Author...well, she's signed a contract

My Publishing Journey by Harlie Williams

 Now, I know that most authors have a fabulous publishing journey.  Filled with a fast track to greatness, glowing inspiration from other authors and the words just flowed like you’re the writing machine of Nora Roberts sitting in your perfect office overlooking beautiful scenery in your backyard, right?

Reality for this writer is I wrote my story over a year ago with SpongeBob Square pants in the background, my son consistently bugging me for food, something to drink or “Can you play with me?” every five minutes.  Yes, writing the sex scenes were interrupted too many times. 

I subbed this story for anthology call and it was rejected flat out.  No explanation from the editor.  I cried and told myself that I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.  After about a month of self-loathing, I realized that I was a writer.  I had a review blog.  I reviewed books, wrote about them and people really liked my reviews.  So I took a couple of online writing classes, joined a great critique group and buckled down.  I even had a couple of authors read it and see what they thought of it.  Well, after getting back my story in shreds, I re-worked it and put it away for a couple of months.

In one of my loops, they were offering an online pitch session.  I eagerly signed up and worked on my pitch.  If I thought writing the story was hard, getting the pitch right was even harder.  I mean, how do you sell in a story in ten minutes?  It’s not easy.  As I waited my turn in the bull pen to pitch, I got really, really nervous.  What if they don’t like it?  What if it’s too short?  Is my story good enough?  Soon, I’m leaving the pitch session with a request for a full.  OMG!  They liked the pitch.  Now what?

I went back into my story added some things that were mentioned in the pitch session and hit the “send” button.  Hardest thing I have ever done in my life; hitting that button.  Within 48 hours, I had a contract.  Yes, a contract.  I was in shock for at least two days.  I didn’t know what to do.  Sign the contract?  Not sign?  Can I handle edits?  Promo? Reviews?  Social media?  Website?  The answer is yes.  I have a blog; I review for other sites and my own.  I’m active on social media.  I can do this!

The main thing I learned about this journey is that everyone’s is different.  It took me a year for someone to like this story and give it a chance.  I’ve been told that shopping a story for a year and getting a contract for it is excellent.  Most of the time it takes longer for a story to even be considered. 

The moral of my journey is I NEVER gave up.  I worked on it, learned from my mistakes and it made me a better writer. 
I signed with MuseItUp Publishing and my release month is December.  I haven't even gotten edits yet but then again, I only signed the contract a week ago.  :)

I would love some likes on the author page.  Here's the link:

Thanks for reading my post this month.  And yes, I'm still in shock but I'm slowly coming out of it.  Harlie's review blog is too busy for me to sit around and eat bon bons, sipping a Mai Tai!


Tina Donahue said...

Oh hon, you were joking in your first paragraph, correct? Most authors do not have a fast track to publishing or success. That's why the few who do make it to the big time quickly (think Twilight) are all over the news.

This is an excrutiatingly tough biz. Most authors write many novels before the first is accepted. After that, it gets even harder with having to have great sell through, doing all the promo, building readership, hoping you don't get dumped by your publisher/agent/both, praying the publishing house doesn't go under or get absorbed by another where you'll have to start over with an editor who doesn't know/doesn't like you.

As to wonderful reader/reviewer comments - writers have a better chance hoping to win the lottery on a daily basis. Some reviewers/readers will love your work. Others will hate it with a vengeance that's stunning. Snarky comments/hurtful comments are more the norm that you'd like to believe. Warning: don't check Amazon on a regular basis, it will drive you nuts.

Be happy for your success and that first contract. But be prepared. And write because you have to - it's your life blood - not because of any success involved or acceptance by readers. That's a bonus. It's not the core of who authors are.

Harlie Reader said...

My first paragraph was written after I saw the Nora Roberts interview on 60 Minutes. :P

It is a tough biz, trust me. I have gotten hate emails from people that have not agreed with a review I posted. It happens.

Thank you for your words. I'm excited but scared, too. What if people don't like this side of Harlie? Everyone wants acceptance and validation.

Marika w/a Harlie

Meg Benjamin said...

Hi Harlie:
All of us have MSS under the bed. I wrote four or five complete novels which all got rejected handily before I finally got it right with Venus In Blue Jeans. Talent is really nice in this business but patience is the real requirement!

Natasha Moore said...

Congrats on your first sale. This will be just the first of many "firsts". Celebrate each one. :) And keep writing!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! I tried the FB link but it didn't take me to your page.

Melissa Limoges said...

Congrats to you, Harlie. So happy for you, chicklette! Wishing you continued success. :)

flchen1 said...

Huge congrats, Marika/Harlie! So happy this is another milestone in your journey as a writer! keep on persisting--I think that's a big part of authorly success too ;)

And I'm with Ella--I couldn't get the FB link to work either :( Let us know when it's up so we can go like :)

Fiona McGier said...

Congrats, Harlie! Success is 9/10 persistence, or something like that, right? Lightening strikes so very few of us with success...the rest plod along because the characters always talking in your head drive you nuts if you don't let them out! (Only another author would understand and NOT call the funny farm!)

Fran Lee said...

It's wonderful to get that very first contract! You walk on air and want to shout to everyone you see..."Hey! I am a published author!"

Adele Dubois said...

I wish you all the best of luck on your journey! Congratulations!