I am proud to announce that the The Butterfly Memoirs series has found a publishing home!
5 Prince Publishing has signed the entire six-book project! The tentative publishing date for book one, A Heart Not Easily Broken, is this fall!
So what happens next?
Remember when I spoke about edits, edits, and more edits on previous blog posts? If you follow me on Twitter, or are a friend on Facebook, you know I have already edited this book several times. The fun does not stop here, though. Now it is time for revisions.
5 Prince Publishing has paired me with an editor who is as enthusiastic about this project as I am. What a blessing! I am sure together we will get an even better product ready for our readers.
As I write this blog, I realize I am referring to my manuscript as ‘the project’ and ‘the product’.
Is it because I no longer see A Heart Not Easily Broken as a story, my sweat and tears for the last three years?
Yes and no.
No matter where my writing career takes me, this will forever be a story that is near and dear to my heart. I have learned so much about writing due to this manuscript. For the past three years, it has seen numerous re-writes. I have scraped, pulled out, brushed off, and revised repeatedly. Names have changed, desires have evolved, until finally, I found something that worked. This is a story I could not avoid telling, period.
If there is one piece of advice I can share with other authors who are working to see their writing dreams fulfilled, it would be this: never allow anyone to tell you how to tell your story. Do not believe there is only one style of writing that best suits your genre.
There is one thing I learned from the experience, thanks to family and friends:
Querying, while time consuming, dreaded, and a test of one’s patience and perseverance, is another way to perfect your craft.
YES, rejections are a way to perfect and hone your craft.
Receiving a response from an agent or publisher in your email always makes your hands tremble and heart race. Do they like it? Is this ‘the’ offer? Opening to the words: ‘Thank you for your allowing us to read your project, but it’s not what we’re looking for’, or simply, ‘No thank you,’ (I had to laugh at that one!), can often hurt. Every now and then, an agent or publisher will take a moment of their precious time and share a little bit of information as to why they aren’t interested. Once your tears dry up and you find that second layer of tough skin, go back and actually read what they said.
Are they giving clues as to what steps, or changes, you can make to put your project closer to what they are looking for? Could making those changes result in drawing interest in the future from the next agent or publisher you query and eventually the most important person—the reader? Will those suggestions change your writing voice or story to the point you feel your writing voice is lost? Are they basing their suggestions on personal tastes or their expertise of publishing? Would making those changes hurt or tighten your prose?
Following through, making the necessary adjustments, will perfect your craft. Think of it as a way to get ‘free’ editing advice from a professional. That way if you decide to self-publish, you will have already taken steps to perfect your product.
Here are words that inspired me, my mantra, if you will:
“Sometimes you gotta break the rules and stand apart. Ignore your head and follow your heart” -Anonymous
I ran across this quote one day when I was struggling to figure out how to take my characters on their journey. At first, I thought the words fit my heroine, Ebony Campbell, best since her story revolves around an interracial romance. Her decision to ignore the color of her, and her love interest, Brian Young’s skin, allows her to let love into her life.
Before long, I realized those words also held meaning for me. Learning the rules of writing in your genre does not always mean you have to follow them to the letter. Developing your writing style and voice comes from taking the basics and twisting them ever so slightly to make your work stand apart. I have done that and cannot wait to hear feedback from readers to tell me what they think.
Now as far as my ‘project’ is concerned…
My focus now is to find my business muse and prepare to work with my editor on revising the story. It is time to set emotions aside and clear my mind so this process can run smooth. Easier said than done, I know…
Now it’s time for marketing, making new friends, expanding my social network reach beyond Twitter and Facebook. Now the real work begins! And to think, three years ago, I thought learning how to write was work. That was gravy! Now that I have a publisher behind me, continuing to see success is up to me.
In the coming months, I will continue to share helpful writing tips because hey, writers never stop learning. I will also share my continued journey to publication and beyond; after all, the title of this blog is…
This Writer’s Life!
MJ Kane, soon-to-be published author!