Monday, October 10, 2011

My Personal Path To Publication - Meg Mims

On the blog today, I am showcasing another of the talented authors populating the growing house at Astraea Press.  Meg Mims is a romance and mystery author who came to the House by choosing independent publishing for the main reason you have already read about from other authors: she had a great manuscript that didn't fit in the narrow parameters traditional publishers seem to have for their guidelines.  Fortunately, independent publishers, like Astraea Press and so many other reputable small houses, don't restrict their creative guidelines, and brilliant, gifted authors like Meg, the other authors I have highlighted on this series, and even myself, have been lucky to  find these great houses and find a publishing home with them.  Meg Mims has been writing for a long time and she has earned the right to be published as well.  Her first novel, Double Crossing, has earned rave reviews, being called "vivid' and "an intriguing mystery".  You'll learn more about it at the end of this post.  Now, please read on to learn about Meg's personal journey to publication!

1. How long have you been writing?

I loved writing book reports in school, but my first fiction story was a Trixie Belden knock-off before “fan fiction” existed, LOL. I was probably 12. My older sister (always a critic somewhere in your life!) said to “write my own story, with original characters” since the plot was pretty good. With a dead body, I’m sure. ;-D  In high school and college, I turned to writing papers and learning how to research. So when I moved from “hobby” to “career” writing, around fifteen years ago, my focus changed. I decided I would publish or die trying.

2. Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? If not, what’s your plan?

I first published a puzzle, “Number Know-How” in 1997 in the children’s market, Jack & Jill magazine. More puzzles, a rebus, short stories followed, plus articles about writing and illustrations for newsletters. The pay was pretty skimpy – plus novel publishing eluded me, as well as picture book publishing (talk about a *really* tough market!) I decided I needed to find out what the “roadblock” really was, and entered the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program – which helped me identify my writing weaknesses and strengths. And getting my M.A. helped land me a non-fiction gig plus helped push me “over the transom” into novel publishing! Well worth the time, tuition and effort.

3. Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the “indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish?

I once had an agent, who failed to sell my romance (really a blended genre novel) – and I pretty much froze up in getting another book finished. She closed her agency, and I didn’t pursue another out of fear of freezing my creativity. I chose going directly to the publishers, and was very pleased that Astraea Press offered a contract for Double Crossing less than a week after my submission! I’m still open to self-publishing, but that’s in the far future for now.

4. Why did you choose that particular route?

I was tired of editorial letters that praised my writing skills but rejected my projects because of “too hard a sell” or “not right for our lines.” Small press “indie” publishing works for me because I’m still learning promotion, author platform, getting name recognition, etc.

5. How long did it take you to write your first novel?

Three years – and the first draft was almost 800,000 words! LOL. Second draft, half that. Third draft is around 325,000 words, but still needs a LOT of revisions.

6. How long did it take you to publish it?

I have not, but one day I hope to… depending on whether I can salvage a lot or have to scrap it all and start over. If it’s the latter, I’m not so sure.

7. How many times did it get rejected before it got published?

Double Crossing was rejected by a few publishers due to either “not enough romance/sex” or “not enough Inspirational elements.” LOL – it fell “between” the two extremes. I spent more time trying to sell my mystery, so when DC sold first, that was a big surprise.

8. Tell us about worst rejection letter.

Oh, the scribbled note on a ripped piece of my manuscript’s first page? By an agent, who clearly had not read the whole thing… SIGH. She must have used it for lining the bird cage.

9. What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel?

Like I said, I was *stunned* when Double Crossing sold before my mystery – and in less than a week after submission. And I was tickled pink that the publisher and her editor both loved it.

10. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?

“Put it in a drawer and start over.” I knew my manuscript was far better than that fate.

11. Now, tell us the best!

“NEVER give up! Only those who quit will never publish.” Ruth Ryan Langan

12. What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication?

See #11. And also READ READ READ in the specific genre you are targeting, and then before you start writing your book, switch to a completely new genre you haven’t read much of while you’re working. That helps to avoid “influence” and might boost your creativity. But most importantly, *WRITE EVERY DAY* … that’s the real “secret” to success.

13. Where can we read your blog? Buy your books? Connect with you on facebook? On Twitter? Your website?

Twitter - @megmims
Website – see above blogs and also
Book links –



A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered.
August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.
As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?
ISBN# 978-1-936852-48-2

Thanks, Samantha, for the wonderful interview! 

Are you kidding?  Thank YOU, Meg Mims, for stopping by the blog!  I'm thrilled to have had Meg today and want to thank her for sharing her journey with us today.  Meg is a joyful person and always has a kind word for an aspiring writer.  Why don't you connect with her on facebook or Twitter or check out her blog?  I know she would love it.  And please leave a comment here and let us know how much you enjoyed reading about her today!


  1. Meg, I definitely agree with your #12 answer. I write mystery/suspense but now read almost none. Instead I read historical and some contemporary romance along with fantasy, and all the different sub-genres

  2. Great interview, Meg! I can't believe the audacity of someone ripping a piece of your manuscript to scribble a note! Glad it worked out for you to come to AP, though.

  3. I do read mystery still, but more for enjoyment and to see how the "puzzle" is put together. No matter what you read, you can get something out of it, IMO! And one day I'll go back to that first mss and try to salvage it... but I'm glad I wrote Double Crossing - my 3rd attempt. Revising #2, and plan to revise #4 also to sell. We'll see. And I am so grateful for Astraea's "clean fiction" guidelines.