First let me say that my editor has told me that the reason I can write is because I am a
natural story teller. I come up with an idea and let the voices lead me along the road to completion. She has also told me that the reason I can knock so many storylines out so quickly is because I do not know what I’m doing. Let me explain: unlike most in the writing field, it was not always my goal to become a writer. Sure I dabbled in poetry, wrote letters and even wrote some newsletters for several volunteer organizations I was involved in, but that is really as far as it went.
One day out of the blue I told a friend, who was not in a happy place, that I was going to write her a happy ending. What I thought would be a short story soon took on a life of its own and Amber’s Eyes, which was the “working” title to Tears of Betrayal was born. While I knew I needed help in the punctuation department I felt it was a really good story. It was the first time I thought “wow; I need to see about getting this published.” That leap from writing to being published took me twelve years!
I tried to find friends to edit it (please do not do this) and I even hired an editor (off of Craig’s list who took my money and never edited the novel, so please DO NOT do that either!) I also contacted a real editor who told me I would need to edit my book before she could edit it.
She told me I was a natural story teller but I needed help with the sentence structure and mechanics. I was then really confused, wasn’t this what editors do?
I finally decided I would self publish my book but how could I self publish a book when I didn’t have an editor? The last thing I wanted to do was send an unedited manuscript out into the world. It was all so very frustrating. My prayers were finally answered when I found my publisher, Koehler Books. Not only did they do traditional books but they also offered a
publishing package. Some people refer to this as vanity publishing; I call it an answer to a prayer. If I was going to spend the money to publish it anyway, why not use that money and have someone who knew what they were doing do it for me? Not only that, but in the process I would get to work with a “real” editor and have a “real” book.
While few in the industry condone this, I am not the least bit sorry that I took this route. In the process of getting published I was able to meet and work with Michelle Johnson, a wonderful editor whom I still work with to this very day. I hired Michelle to edit my second novel, The Scars Between Us, and after doing so, the novel was picked up by Koehler Books as a traditional book deal with no cost to me.
Michelle has also edited two of my children’s books, the first of which is due out next month and she and I are currently working on the revisions of my third novel.
I am a good story teller. I have wonderful muses. I have six manuscripts in various stages of completion, with ideas for at least as many more beyond that. I also know I am still learning my craft and that I need to work with an editor to help me polish it to where my audience will enjoy reading it without picking it apart. I am grateful to John Koehler for giving me my start. I am also grateful for Michelle Johnson and her continued patience. She is a wonderful editor and a great teacher and I am so lucky to have found her and in finding the right editor for me I was able to move from “self published” to “traditionally published”.
As a published author, I can honestly say I have never worked so hard in my life. But, I can also say I have never been happier. I am still learning and I am still writing, my journey has only begun!