03 March 2014

Getting Published: Is it Luck or Skill?

It's March and time for a new topic. Getting Published. Luck or skill?

Would you laugh at me if I said both?
In my experience, getting editors to say YES! is extremely difficult, except when it's amazingly easy. :-)

Before you throw something at me, let me explain.

I like to tell people that I heard the party going on at Samhain Publishing and when no one was looking I crawled through the dog door and joined in. My first book wasn't supposed to be a stand-alone story at all. In fact, it started out as a short that I wrote for a contest.

I read about the contest in the newspaper. The winner would receive a free pass to the writer's conference and I was itching to go to. The contestants were given a writing prompt about a man who sees a beautiful woman he is attracted to her and then kills her. Ugh. I write romance. How in the world could I write a story with such a beginning?


Unlesss the man, is really Death come to kill the only woman he can't live without. The two make a pact, turn the Natural Order on it's head, batta-boom-batta-bing...SOUL STEALER was born.

But it was just a short story. Samhain had released a call for humorous stories they wanted to publish in an anthology. I thought to myself, "Yeah, this story is sort of quirky, not hysterically funny, but maybe they'll like it."

I received a note from one of the editors that my story wasn't chosen for the anthology but had been forwarded on to another editor for review. Yes! I liked the sound of that. Even better, the editor wanted my story to become a stand-alone novella if only I could make it longer. How could I say no? I made it longer and also pitched the novel I was working on. Both books were published.

So, I might have crawled through the dog door, but I was ready to party. I'd taken classes, gone to conferences, and honed my skills to be ready for the moment. I wrote, wrote, wrote. And I read like a madwoman. I joined writer's forums, chapters, and asked questions to stay educated about what the publishing houses were looking for. When an editor announced a craving, or need, I sent what I thought could satisfy her.

Batta-boom, batta-bing.

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