One of the things that I’ve found myself doing over the past year is looking into the authors of each of the books I read. I’ve found it inspirational to learn about the paths that writers have taken to get to where they are now. It’s way too easy for me to get frustrated and want to take a break or – heaven forbid – throw in the towel. But when I can look at published authors who were successful despite their writing challenges, it makes it all seem a little more within my reach.
Some people write many different manuscripts before getting lucky: Jim Butcher wrote something like five complete stories before getting a publishing contract. Some people have to try a completely different genre before it clicks for them: Dan Wells wrote an epic fantasy before trying his hand at supernatural horror in the I Am Not a Serial Killer series. Some people write for many years before someone accepts their work: Brandon Sanderson, I believe, spent about 10 years writing before he finally became a published author.
All of their stories give me hope and push me to keep going. Their stories boil down to the same message: don’t give up.
The latest writing journey that inspired me came from Jeff Wheeler, the author of the shockingly engrossing Legends of Muirwood series that I am currently reading.
When I looked up Jeff’s publishing story – which you can find here – I was amazed. Basically, after writing a handful of manuscripts over a span of years and eventually self-publishing paperbacks, he used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing to create e-books of his work. After having the e-books of the Legends of Muirwood trilogy floating out there for only about six months (and being pretty successful), he was contacted out of the blue by the head of Amazon’s sci-fi/fantasy publishing imprint, 47North and offered a sweet contract deal for not only Legends of Muirwood, but also a deal for a whole new trilogy.
After learning this, my mind was blown. The editor contacted him? Amazing. Now, I should add that my shock was a bit tempered by the fact that I know of one or two other authors who have self-published, been successful, and then been offered contracts with the big publishing houses. However, every time I read about it, I am just as amazed.
There are many different routes that a writer can take that all lead to published books. Each success story that I read makes me that much more hopeful that, someday, I will get there, too, no matter how long it takes or how many manuscripts I write.
I just have to keep writing.