I landed a publisher for my debut novel! SkipJack Publishing will launch my literary suspense, Pennies from Burger Heaven, on January 21, 2016. I’m beyond thrilled about this, and my success is an important lesson for us all…
You don’t know if you don’t ask.
The rewards far outweigh the risks. Let me tell you my story, then I promise I’ll get to you.
How it Happened
SkipJack Publishing (they skip all the jack and get straight to publishing) was created by indie author, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, and her husband, Eric Hutchins. Pamela has 12 books published (six novels and six non-fiction books): everything from the award-winning novel, Saving Grace, which was released in 2013 and has over 1,900 reviews, as well as the incredible how-to book for writers, What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes? (and How Can I be One, too?) Pamela launched her first novel in 2013, and now makes a living writing full-time.
The woman knows her stuff, and I almost didn’t ask her to read my manuscript.
Why? Because I was afraid. I worried that she’d think my book wasn’t good enough, then politely reject it. Plus, I didn’t want to jeopardize our newly-formed friendship.
Full disclosure: Pamela and I grew up in the same Texas town and sort-of knew each other in high school (We were cheerleaders at rival schools. Stop laughing). Twenty-five years passed with no contact. In 2010, we both stood on the winners’ platform after we each won first place in our genres at the Texas Writers’ League’s annual writing contest. We recognized each other’s names and visited a while, then returned to our own lives.
As I continued to query literary agents, land my dream agent, rewrite my entire novel from page one, then lose said agent (she quit publishing before we got the chance to sell my book), Pamela was publishing her books, building an audience and taking charge of her destiny.
In 2014, I invited her back to our hometown to lead a workshop for my local writers’ organization. That’s where we reconnected and have stayed in touch ever since.
SkipJack feels right for me because it offers complete author autonomy and mutual support. I’m still doing all the legwork, which I would’ve done anyway, but they’re giving me full access to all their resources. So, instead of debuting my novel to the Mudpie Writing community of 1,100, I will now be introduced to an audience of 10,000. I’m also in the process of contacting their list of 50+ book bloggers who do reviews, author interviews, Q&A’s and more.
It’s perfect, and I almost let fear stop me from this opportunity.
Although SkipJack is currently closed to submissions, follow SkipJack’s blog to discover the latest publishing trends, learn great advice to get more traffic for your books, etc.
What This Means for You
Do you have to “know someone” before you can publish, and make your dreams come true?
Of course not. That’s the beauty of today’s publishing world. You no longer need permission from anyone else to share your work. You’re 100% in charge, baby!
Writing means taking risks on and off the page. On the page, this means creating the truest story you can, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, so that your words resonate with others. Writing a million words before anyone reads a single piece of your work.
Off the page, it means taking the next small step out of your comfort zone to move yourself to the next, tiny level:
*Ask that beta reader to read your chapter.
*Join that critique group for weekly feedback.
*Enter that writing contest.
*Query that literary agent or editor.
*Pitch your short story to that literary journal.
*Apply for that magazine internship.
*Read the first page of your novel at that conference.
What if they say no?
Writing is a numbers game. You’re going to hear no a lot more than you hear yes. Clearly, rejections hurts. You may cry, kick and cuss, or however you handle rejection (I do all three; plus, eat a ton of Oreos).
The trick is after the rejection to get yourself back to your computer and get back to work. It’s painful to do, but so worth it. The rewards far outweigh the risks.