Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finding Your Voice

When I was only contemplating becoming published, I had many misgivings about whether or not I had the chops to do it.  I dove into my research, having written what I considered to be a publishable story, Spellbound.  Almost every blog, every author interview, and especially every agent interview I read, had something to say about two things:  having a platform and having a voice.

I had a voice!  Didn't I?  I sat down and re-read my story and decided I did have a voice.  Then further research advised me how I had to describe that voice in an engrossing manner, well enough to catch the attention of an agent or editor or, best of all, a publisher.  Describe it?  What the hell did that mean?  I had a story, I wrote it.  End of story, right?  Wrooooong.  So very wrong.

I submitted to a couple agents and while there was interest, they didn't take my bait.  And then I started hearing about the second thing:  platform.  Again, I was all, what the hell is that?  I studied some more (thank God for the internet!) and learned platform was actually the application of that voice you think you have.  You needed a blog, a facebook account, Twitter, all the social media one person could handle.  Whew!  It seemed like a lot but I had committed to this and besides, hadn't I told my husband this was my dream, and also it was my time?

So I started a blog.  Holy cow, did it suck at first.  I may have had a voice, but I certainly wasn't used to using it.  I wasn't sure what to do except talk about my story, which I did.  Then I started writing about my other work, then work I wanted to write.  I joined facebook and developed this whole community of other writers going through the same thing as me.  I bought Writers Searching for Agent-type publications and began to look for my angel.  I mean my agent.  I compiled careful lists of agents who I thought I might like, who had the same lists as the book I wanted to publish.

I taught myself how to write a query letter, how to play up the fact that I had zip for other publications, and I banged out blog posts.  I even started to blog on other people's sites.  For some reason they thought I had something to say.  Then my first exciting bite!  Defiantly, I had sent my submissions to a place that clearly stated they didn't take unagented submissions.  I figured, what was the worst that could happen?  Then the unexpected did happen: Harlequin Teen asked to see my manuscript!  I sent it in and me and the hubs made a list of things we would like to do with the advance money.  I know, right?  I didn't know ANYTHING!

The rejection came a couple weeks later, a lovely worded letter with some great advice.  They were passing on this one, but wanted me to submit in the future with any other projects.  I was bummed and elated at the same time.  Me and the hubs put the list we'd drawn up in a desk drawer.

Then a small independent publisher I had submitted to asked to see the manuscript.  Fully jaded now, and expecting, realistically, nothing, I sent it in.  Two days later they offered me a contract.

So, I don't have an agent yet.  But what I do have is a voice.  And five published works. And a platform.  You are smack in the middle of it here on this blog.  I passed 10,000 views recently and am pretty jazzed that most posts receive at least 35-50 or so hits.  I suppose the take-away from this post is exactly like many others will say.  Don't give up.  Keep writing.  Develop your own platform and your personal voice.  And it's okay if you make a list.....just keep it in that desk drawer.  I do, and I know someday I'll be pulling it out.  And if you have a blog, let me know about it.  I'll be happy to support you.

2 comments:

  1. Love your voice, blog and especially your books. Keep'em coming.

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