So we’ve covered who we are (in brief). But how did we get here? Well, that’s a bit of a story. As we mentioned, Kelly and I met in college. We worked together and went on to graduate, start our careers and families, and we remained friends. We have both always liked to write, and we’ve done it separately for years. Neither of us had gone so far as to try to get published, apart from the University Literary Magazine (I was rejected. I’m not bitter, though).
We kept in touch with each other with almost daily emailing. We would sometimes share what we were writing. We’d bounce ideas or plot lines off each other, or have the other read what we were working on. In early 2015, Kelly sent me a story she had been working on for awhile. We’d talked about it before, and now she wanted to to read it through.
“Fix it,” she requested. You see, Kelly’s focus is always to get the ideas down. She has a million ideas and she’s brilliant with dialogue. Technical writing isn’t her favorite thing.
One thing lead to another and eventually, she asked me to REALLY work on the story with her. At first, I felt like more of an editor than an author, but over time the story changed and grew and there were whole new chapters and it truly became OUR book.
Kelly had been working on the story on and off for a year or more when she sent it to me. Together, we spent another year on editing and rewrites. Then I spent a few months researching how one goes about trying to get a book published. A good friend and coworker of Kelly’s, Pamela Woods Jackson (author of Confessions of a Teenage Psychic, Certainly Sensible, and the soon to be released Genius Summer) gave us some great advice. We sought out a publications called “The Writer’s Guide”. We drafted multiple documents to send out, including a query letter, synopsis, and author bios (did we mention we don’t love to write about ourselves?). We researched publishers.
On February 29, 2016 we sent out our first batch of queries. I thought it was appropriate that it was Leap Day. We’d taken a huge leap.
And then we waited. A few weeks later, we actually got an offer from a publisher. Without going into too much detail, we spoke to some people and discovered some things that caused us to turn the offer down. We knew it was the right decision, but as the months passed and the rejections rolled in, we had moments where we wondered if we’d turned down our only chance.
Some publisher’s don’t accept what they call “unsolicited submissions” (novels by unknown individuals that the publisher did not request), so we started querying agents as well. But all that got us was more rejections. “Thank you but I do not feel this would be a good fit…good luck and don’t give up…”
We considered major rewrites. We deal with some pretty intense and possibly controversial issues in our book. Maybe it was too much, too far for a publisher to take a risk on rookie authors. We worked on a new draft, but it was just depressing. We were happy with our book and we felt like these changes made it weaker, compromised our true vision.
We created Facebook and Twitter accounts and had a professional videographer create a book trailer, hoping to drum up interest in a new way. We did more research and sent out more queries. We started considering paying for professional editing, thinking maybe we had too many grammar mistakes that we missed.
Meanwhile, Pamela recommended a site called Authors.me. They are a site that actually works to match authors and their work to publishers. In October of 2016, I submitted to several publishers via their website.
On February 14th, 2017 (Valentine’s Day), nearly a year after we first submitted work to publisher’s for their consideration, we received an email from the creator of Black Rose Writing. They were offering us a publishing contract. They were one of the companies I had queried through Authors.Me.
Over the next few days, we reviewed the contract, did more research on Black Rose, contacted some of their authors, and sought the advice of our families. We asked lots of questions. Two days later, we signed the contract.
Since then, it’s been a surreal whirlwind of events. Some days, we can scarcely believe it’s happening. I guess it doesn’t quite feel real yet. We did decide to pursue professional editing and we are honestly very happy that we made the investment–not to mention that we were VERY happy with our editor. We did some minor rewrites and some major improvements in the technical writing. And that’s that! We have just sent the manuscript back to the publisher.
Next up? More editing with them (they use some sort of computerized algorithm to suggest edits), followed by cover art and marketing plans and I don’t know what else! It’s going to be an exciting ride!