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From First Draft to Publication

My story began on a cold February day. My husband was virtually working around the clock on a work project. And my son was finally in kindergarten. I was a stay-at-home mom and a creative storm had been brewing in me for a while but motherhood had taken all of me during those first years.

Writing a book had been on my bucket list for some time. With a significant birthday approaching, I decided to write and submit something to publishers before my next birthday.

I started with rough notes from a memoir I thought I’d write. But after reading stacks of books and articles online about getting published, I decided not to write a memoir. I wasn’t famous enough for anyone to buy it. I’ve always enjoyed a good love story and I read that romance was a hot genre. I’ve been writing and doing creative things for as long as I can remember but this time I wanted to think from the end point.

If I wanted to be published and I was a new writer, what would be the easiest way? New Adult is a hot emerging genre and romance has lots of voracious readers…so I’d write a New Adult Contemporary Romance.

In my twenties I was single and living in LA. That seemed like a good starting point for a story. At the same time, The Bachelor was on and featured a good looking farmer deemed “Prince Farming” and that gave me the idea to have the hero be a farmer. But then I realized that rancher and cowboy sounded sexier than farmer.

As I wrote, I went to the library and loaded up on romance novels. I also read books on how to write a novel and researched publishers.  After two months of writing, I had a first draft. I had really finished it…if only I’d know how much more work was to come!

Then I revised and gave it to a few beta readers. I wrote a query and synopsis and submitted to some small publishers and some Big 5 e-publisher imprints. My book was on the shorter side word count wise so I knew it wouldn’t be the right fit for most agents. I did sub to one and she got back to me right away with a no. At least I didn’t have to wait. Any answer is better than no answer, I realized.

After waiting two months some rejections and a revise and resubmit had tricked in. That means an editor gives specific notes for a re-write and if you choose to do it, you are welcome to re-submit.

I was working on revisions when I heard about #Pit2Pub, a pitching contest that would allow me to pitch to small publishers on Twitter.  I noticed that there were publishers listed that I had not submitted to yet. 

It was serendipitous timing as my re-writes were just wrapping up. It seemed like an amazing opportunity to try a second round of submissions with 140 characters. I had participated in
#PitMad and another Twitter contest for picture book submissions so this time I had a better
feel for what to expect. I wrote variations on the same pitch.

So I tried to have a thick skin and pitched my NA contemporary romance, Dating Maggie. At the end of the day, my pitch received eight favorites from small publishers. I was thrilled!

This was the pitch: A hot rancher threatens to turn an actress/dating vlogger’s world upside down. #Pit2Pub # NA #R.

I researched the publishers that starred my pitch and decided to submit to three of them.  This is was an important step because not every small press is created equal. I was also waiting to hear from a publisher that was looking at my R & R that I’d submitted before I participated in #Pit2Pub.

Limitless Publishing requested a full a few days after my submission and a contract not long after that. The other publisher said they would need more time to review my revised MS before making a decision.  I was happy with the Limitless contract and let the other publisher know that I had signed with another publisher. Their covers are what really won me over. Wicked by Design created mine and I loved it. Readers have also commented on how much they like the cover.

Now Dating Maggie is a real book! It’s available as an e-book and in paperback on Amazon. Some positive reviews are starting come in and I’m getting to interact with readers, which has been so much fun. I’m also learning to market and approach my writing as a serious business.

Feel free to leave your writing story in the comments.


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