Monday, January 13, 2014

The Path to Publishing

Today's  post is from guest blogger Susan McNabb. She is a multi-talented woman who lives in North Carolina. If you have questions or comments for Susan, please use the comments section at the bottom of the post. Thanks, Susan, for sharing your experiences.

When I finished my first book and started shopping it to agents, I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be great if this part was easy? Everyone says getting published is hard—that it’s fraught with rejection and heartache, and I wondered what it would be like if my publishing path was easy instead.

I’d spent my life in the modeling and acting professions---facing rejection and heartache along with incredible highs on a regular basis. I longed for an easy path in my new writing career, but of course, my experience made me the perfect candidate for navigating the publishing world. You could knock me down all day long, and I’d get up and keep going every time.

An experienced writer sat me down and started to explain all the rejection in the business and that it can take years to see success. She asked me what I did for a living and when I said, “I’m an actor,” she laughed and said, “Oh, never mind.”

That was nearly five years ago. That first book is still unpublished, and believe it or not, I’m glad I didn’t find that easy path back then. That book wasn’t ready to be published and I was too inexperienced to know it. It’s been through several drafts and it still being tinkered with. I’ve since written more books, and now I am published.

Was it an easy path? That question makes me laugh. It’s as hard as everyone tells you, and then some. At least it was for me. But the key is perseverance.

I did get a book contract eventually—two actually, for a series of vampire romances. I found a new e-publisher and submitted my romance novel—the third book I’d written, but my only book in that genre. I thought my chances as a new writer might be better with a new publisher, and I was right. While we were editing the first book, I signed a contract for the second, and I thought I was on my way.

My publisher had appealed to me because they were new, but there was also a risk I hadn’t considered. Exactly seven days after the release of my first book, I was told they were closing their doors. I was released from our contracts, and at their suggestion, I self-published.

I had lined up interviews and reviews on blogs and websites, and my local newspaper had already announced my release party. I panicked at the possibility that the people I’d worked so hard to tell about my book wouldn’t be able to find it, so I hurried to get it up on Amazon the same day my publisher had removed it.

Was it easy to self-publish? For the most part, yes. Amazon has made it pretty idiot proof, and admittedly, had I given myself more time to get acquainted with the process, it would have been less stressful. I made some mistakes in my frantic state—the biggest one listing the book under the wrong name: a combination of my pen name and real name. I obsessively checked Amazon for a long nail-biting day waiting for my pen name to appear after I’d corrected it.

Today, the book’s on Amazon: Drop Dead Gorgeous by Suki McMinn. I didn’t get my wish from five years ago for an easy path to publishing, but I’ve certainly learned a lot. I have more books to publish and more books to write. And I’m sure more mistakes to make. But my plan, as always, is to persevere.

Susan McNabb lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and writes romantic fiction under the name Suki McMinn. Her adult vampire romance series, L.A. Vamps, begins with Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Susan was raised in Asheville, North Carolina, and earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Tennessee before moving to Los Angeles where she was a model and actor for nearly three decades.

Now happily settled in the tiny writers’ haven of Tryon, North Carolina, with her husband and rescued dogs, Susan is also a photographer, potter, and fiber artist.

1 comment:

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

Thanks, Susan! I'm always so glad to hear an insider's view from someone who's actually gone through the process. I don't like to think that a publisher might agree to publish my book, only to then go out of business. But it happens all the time--publishers close up shop or get bought out or merge with another house or decide to discontinue a particular product line. Best to be aware of all options.