It Only Took Thirty-Seven Years
I like to call myself a thirty-seven year overnight success. I started sending out manuscripts when I was eighteen, back B.C. Before Computers. Before the Internet. In those days, you typed your manuscript on a typewriter or word processer, found a box it fit in, and mailed that box to New York. Then you waited and waited, and when it came back, you sent it off to the next publisher or agent on your list. I was amazingly happy when the Internet arrived and I could send manuscripts and queries via email, but even then, I was still getting rejections.
But my goal in life was to have a book published, so I kept going. After twenty years, I managed to get an agent, but she wanted me to change way too many things in my book. She even wanted me to change my hero to a woman, which would have upset the entire universe I had planned for my characters and their relationships. The hardest decision I ever made was when I said no, thanks, and we parted ways.
However, I found a publisher who did not require and agent, and after two years of going through their long editing process, I was a published author! I had just turned fifty-five and had retired from my job as an elementary school librarian and have since published thirteen mystery novels and five fantasy novels. Writers are very lucky to be living in this time because of all the different options available: traditional publishing, self-publishing, ebooks—and who knows what other routes will be open in the near future? So my message to all writers out there is don’t ever give up. If I can make it in 37 years, you can, too. Only I hope it doesn’t take you that long!