How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories. Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them? Did they start with an agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish? What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?
Today’s guest is Mary Carter, author of the women’s fiction novel, The Pub Across the Pond (Kensington).
I started writing SHE’LL TAKE IT in January of 2004 as a New Year’s goal. I had always been a voracious reader, and a writer. I’d written poems, short stories, plays, and had even tackled a screenplay. I was reading a novel at the time that I didn’t think was very good and I was surprised it had been published. I thought—“I can do better than this.” I took an online writing course. I liked the course, but the teacher wasn’t supportive of my main character. She was a kleptomaniac and he cautioned readers wouldn’t root for a klepto. I went with my gut—a powerful lesson. After numerous stops, and starts, I had a first draft. A beginning, middle, and end, a strong main character, and tons of obstacles. In the past I left works unfinished, quitting when the work was a mess. (First drafts are always messy things). I started reading novels critically. Taking them apart, analyzing them. I actually sat down and outlined novels to see if they followed the beats I’d been reading about in various writing books. (I read a ton books on writing). I completed a second draft, and made ten copies for ten friends. I weighed their feedback carefully and rewrote the manuscript. Next I bought LITERARY MARKETPLACE and queried agents. I heard from one who wanted to read my first 50 pages. She eventually passed, but talked to me on the phone about what she didn’t like. She encouraged me to move on and write something else. I also ignored this advice. And then, a second agent asked to read my full manuscript. He offered to represent me. Although I am no longer with this agent, I am truly grateful. Four months later he sold the book to Kensington. The day I got the news I was walking down the dock on Lake Union in Seattle where I lived at the time, and saw a double rainbow. It’s been an incredible journey ever since. If you’re looking to get published, get serious about learning the craft, be open to feedback, listen to your gut, and never give up.
MARY CARTER is a freelance writer and novelist. The Pub Across the Pond is her fifth novel with Kensington. Her other works include: My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written two novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is currently working on a new novel for Kensington.
Readers are welcome to visit her at www.marycarterbooks.com.
Visit her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Carter-Books/248226365259.