1-The Journey Begins

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From Pen to Publisher

In 2014, I was asked to create a series of posts on the journey a book takes from the first word to the print I can hold in my hand. I have actually traveled two different roads–the traditional royalty publisher (Kregel Publications) and also the self-published route (which is, honestly, a much shorter route. These first four posts take you on the journey to becoming a published author with a royalty (read: they pay you to publish and distribute your book). The last four posts detail the journey to self-publish my book. I have done both. In some ways the journeys are similar; in some ways, not so much. For one thing, finding a publisher and having your book come out with them takes months and months longer. Ah, but I digress . . .

A Side Trip Down Memory Lane

I can’t dive into this post without first inserting a few memories from my own writing. You young authors have it so much better than I. You have the computer! I wrote with pencil and paper. Here is a sample of some of my writing paper (not my printing paper). The paper had perfect lines and was free.

As a fourteen-year-old young writer, I dug it out of the trash bin in perfect condition from the computer room at Penn State University, when my father took a summer school course on computers in 1969. When students printed out their programs, they tossed all of the blank pages . . . pages and pages of blank green and white paper. The computer itself took up the whole room. I was in the eighth grade. And what did I do with all these leaves and leaves of free paper? I wrote stories all summer long. What a marvelous time of my life. So, the first step in the “pen to publisher” journey to actually write a story.

The Journey Begins

1. You write a story. Some folks make nice outlines and plan their story chapter by chapter. Not I! I am a seat-of-my-pants writer (well, I used to be. Deadlines have made an “outline” creator out of me, by necessity).

2. Once your story is written, you find somebody to read it, preferably not your mother, aunt, sister, or best friend. They are too nice. You find somebody to really dig in there and find inconsistencies (What? You mean I can’t let my hero fall from a 100-story building and live?) This is a painful process. It hurts! I remember giving the very first manuscript, with the incredibly stupid name of Andi’s (Mis)Adventure, to a real author (who became my mentor). She has her own blog now. Reece’s Ramblings >> Wow! Did she ever know how to splatter red ink all over my precious story. (Good news! This sad piece of work below eventually became Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home).  

3. When you get the manuscript back, first you cry a little, then you buck up and revise the story! You don’t have to do everything your reader/editor suggests, but it doesn’t hurt to at least consider it. No manuscript is perfect the first time (or after the 12th time either). I revised this story more than a dozen times, not including typos. Becoming an author is not for the faint of heart.

When you are so sick of the story that you almost decide to burn it and find a different hobby, you are ready for “From Pen to Publisher Part 2.” and the next step in your publishing journey.

Go to Part 2 >>

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

7 thoughts on “1-The Journey Begins

  1. OH WOW! I am laughing so hard right now because that is exactly what my Mom did to my story! Do not worry, my Mom does NOT go easy on me. Sheesh. I literally said, “Mom! Do you plan to destroy my whole story? I took a long time writing that thing! Oh no stop! That was my best part!……..” And so on. Thx for this insight!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This brings back so many memories! Wow, look at that red ink. I honored your desire to become a great writer by suggesting everything it had taken me years of trial and error (I didn’t have a mentor) to learn. I loved the story. It just needed good editing. Look at you now. I have watched you grow and even had you critique my work as your schedule permitted! Outside of my mom and my co-author niece who proofed and edited for me, you were the only one I allowed to do so for years. Most important. the friendship God gave us continues. I thank and praise Him.

    God provides. When your writing became a business that occupied so much of your time, He sent a former student/friend who also has wonderful editing skills to give my work a once-over.

    Liked by 1 person

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