Every author’s journey to publication is different. I’ve written a 3-part blog sharing my road to getting Salvation Station published in April 2020 with the hope that other authors can learn from my mistakes and successes.
Salvation Station began as a screenplay over 10 years ago when I thought I wanted to write movies. Then I took Margo Dill’s Women On Writing (WOW) course, “Writing A Novel with a Coach,” and began expanding the material into a novel.
Two editors provided feedback and I revised it numerous times. I started querying prospective agents in 2015 while receiving professional advice on my query letter. All told, I sent out over 100 agent and publisher queries. My first query resulted in a request for a full manuscript. I thought all my hard work was finally leading somewhere positive.
The euphoria didn’t last long. Two other agents requested full manuscripts. Replies ranged from “a terrible market for fiction” to “I was very disappointed in the story.” I felt like “failed author” was my middle name and wondered if I should even continue to write.
An editor then responded with some helpful advice: “This is too slow for a thriller and in spots the plot seems implausible.” I knew getting a personal response was rare, so I took her words to heart, slashing 25,000 words from the manuscript (killing my darlings en masse). This was my third major revision. When I learned about two regular contributors to WOW who also sent over 100 letters to agents with the exact same results, I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
I changed my approach. I began sending the newly slimmed manuscript (a comfortable 80,000 words) to crime/mystery novel publishers. There were still rejections, but several indicated they were interested and reviewing the manuscript.
I submitted to She Writes Press, a hybrid of upfront costs to the author combined with the traditional publishing aspects of strict editorial standards and good distribution channels. In upcoming posts I’ll explore what I learned, what I would approach differently, and future publishing options.
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