I Finished the Book. Now What?
Finding a publisher for my book was an intimidating thought. I had no idea how or where to begin. Luckily, I did know one other author.
Mark D. Williams is a non-fiction author. His classroom was right across the hall. He just happened to have a friend who was published with Poisoned Pen Press. After doing some research, Mark discovered that Poisoned Pen Press was accepting manuscripts at that time. He shared that information with me.
The first thing I had to do was write a query letter and a synopsis of Death on Paradise Creek. I had to do some research to learn how to do both.
Writing a query letter that would make someone want to read my book wasn't as easy as it sounded. The synopsis was even more difficult. How was I going to write a two page overview of my book that piqued a reader's interest without revealing too much. I didn't want to give away any of the suspects and certainly not the ending.
I worked for several days before I was finally satisfied. I had the email typed with the query letter and synopsis attached. All I had to do was press send.
My hand was shaking so badly that I had to step away from the computer and walk around a few minutes. Sharing my work with family and friends was one thing. Sharing with total strangers was another.
I wasn't sure I was ready. I was scared to death.
It wasn't fear of rejection. I've read that many well-known authors were rejected many times before finally finding a publisher willing to take a chance. I fully expected to receive a rejection. In fact, I expected many rejections.
It was mostly fear of the unknown. What if they liked it? What if they offered me a contract? What then? Did I have it in me to keep writing? Would I have more story ideas or was this it?
Words that I've often spoken to my sons and my students came back to haunt me. "You'll never know if you can achieve something if you don't try. You'll always wonder what your life might have been like. Don't let fear keep you from taking that first step."
I had to put those words into action now or never utter them again. How could I encourage others to take a risk when I couldn't?
I took a deep breath and sat down at the computer. I took another deep breath, closed my eyes, and with a still shaking hand, pressed send.
In November 2013, I received an email informing me that Poisoned Pen Press declined my manuscript of Death on Paradise Creek.
I was disappointed but not at all surprised.
See the December 2018 post for the next chapter of
My Indie Author Journey