Four Tips on Landing and Working with a Traditional Publisher

By Jennifer Hallmark

I stared at the typed manuscript on my desk. It represented over a year of work. Traditional publishing or Indie publishing? Or vanity press? Though I was a newbie, I needed to make a decision. I knew very little about the publishing business. No, scratch that. I knew nothing at all.

I’d been writing my first novel and loving every minute of it. It sang, it soared, it was perfect. (Yes, I can hear you laughing from here)

A person from a vanity press approached me and offered to publish my wonderful 100,000 word work in progress which had no genre, no edits, and no formatting whatsoever. I’d been praying ever since I started writing for God to show me what to do. I was clueless and not ignorant of that fact.

So, when this opportunity presented itself, I went back to prayer. The only words that seemed to resonate inside of me were “Follow the traditional road.” I was a bit sad at the time. I mean, look at what the world was missing by me not putting my novel out there.

*Shaking head.*

What did I know about traditional publishing? Nada. I began to study all the types of publishing, taking online courses, reading writing craft books, and attending writing workshops, groups, and conferences. It didn’t take me long to figure out what a mistake I’d almost made. I kept following the traditional road the best I could and here I am, thirteen years later, about to release my debut, traditionally published novel.

Click to tweet: Four tips on landing and working with a traditional publisher. #publishing #amwriting @Inspiredprompt

If the traditional road is one you’d like to follow, don’t despair. It shouldn’t take you as long as it did me. Let me share four tips that will make a difference in your journey:

  1. Know the publisher. When I first started, I just sent my novels to publisher’s names I liked and gave little thought to what they wanted. I did get some helpful criticism back from several publishers but nothing else. When I finished my novel, Jessie’s Hope, I diligently studied the publisher I had set my sights on, Firefly Southern Fiction. I studied their guidelines until I could say them in my sleep. And I read several books by Firefly.
  2. Get your manuscript edited. Whether you hire a freelance editor, join a critique group, or find a critique partner, get another set of eyes on your work. I ran Jessie’s Hope through a critique group first, then had an editor friend give it a once over. I wanted it to be as polished as I could make it.
  3. Meet said editor or publisher. One way you can meet them is online. You can visit their site, read all their blog posts, and comment until they recognize you. I found out that the Firefly editor, Eva Marie Everson, was going to be at a conference near me and I made plans to go. I made an appointment to meet with her and also took all of her classes. I needed to learn what she was looking for in a more personal way.
  4. Submit your work. Finally, at the conference, I showed her a bit of my work and also explained the trouble I was experiencing in learning deep POV. She ripped my first pages to shreds as she taught me first-hand about deep POV both in our meeting and during class. She asked for a longer submission to be sent to her email and two months later told me the story intrigued her. But I had to first take a chance and submit or I would have never known it had potential.

After the good news, I started snoopy dancing. But then she had one of her beta readers read the full manuscript and tell me all the problems it had. I worked hard over the next two years and resubmitted it in 2017. She accepted the manuscript and on June 17, my dream of being a traditionally published author will come true.

Eleven and a half years after I made the decision to follow this road. I’m sure glad I didn’t know in the beginning how long it would take or I’d have probably given up.

Now which road should you take? Indie publishing has come a long way since I started writing. I believe God understood my lack of patience and desire to see my work in print and the fact that I would regret publishing too soon. He pointed to the traditional road and for me, it was the right one.

I suggest you prayerfully look into both ways of getting your work into print. (I purposely left out the third way. Don’t use a vanity press.) Do some research into both methods. Use my four tips with a publishing house that you feel a connection to and see what happens. You never know until you take that step.

In leiu of a writing prompt:

Question time. Ask me a question in the comments and I’ll try to answer it or find an answer for you.

3 Questions Wednesday with Sue Davis Potts

Happy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Sue Davis Potts. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Sue: I am a former preschool teacher and I love to write for children, so I love picture book authors. When I was teaching, I enjoyed Mercer Mayer’s “Little Critter” books. He captures the way children think and sound.

Now my favorite picture book author is my friend, Michelle Medlock Adams. She puts her heart into each book and in many of her books she shares Jesus in a language that kids can understand. She is also great with rhyme which makes reading her books so much fun.

I agree, Michelle is a great author.  Next question…

 If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Sue: I am working on a couple of devotional books right now. One of them focuses on devotions for people that deal with fibromyalgia. I have fibromyalgia and the struggle is real. I would love to write something to encourage others that share some of the same struggles.

That is a much needed devotional. Last question:

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Sue: I have a fascination with Ruth in the Bible. I would love to sit down and interview her. I would ask her to tell me about her journey from Moab to Judah. I would also ask her to tell me her and Boaz’s love story and of course, I would have to ask what it was really like living with her mother-in-law.

Sounds like a fascinating day. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Sue Davis Potts talks about writing and a giveaway. #childrensbooks #amwriting

Sue will give away a print copy of her book, 101 Life Lessons from Uno. (US entries only)  Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing…


101 Life Lessons from Uno

Life is full of teachable moments. Meeting Uno was that kind of moment. Uno’s accident had left him with a disability. He was challenged but he was still present, still making his way in the world. He still had value and many lessons to teach those who would learn. Whether disabled or not, we all face struggles. It’s how we handle those struggles that matters. Uno healed and moved on. If a one- legged duck overcame so can you. Be encouraged by Uno’s one leg, one life, and many lessons.


 Sue Davis Potts is a freelance writer from Huntingdon, Tennessee. She is mother to her beautiful, college age daughter, Jessa.

She enjoys writing for both children and adults. She has been published in several anthologies and magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., and Ideals.

Her blog, Potts Pages, can be found on her website, http://www.suedavispotts.com. Her book, 101 Life Lessons From Uno (The One-Legged Duck), is available on Amazon.

3 Questions Wednesday with Katie Clark

Katie Clark Author PhotoHappy Wednesday! It’s my pleasure to welcome the author of Whispering Tower, Katie Clark, to the Inspired Prompt. Good morning, Katie.

Now Katie, here’s your first question:

Who is your favorite author? 

Katie:  My favorite author is probably Lisa T. Bergren. I look forward to her books, and I always love them. They’re a great blend of romance, action, and adventure!

These are my favorite type of books to take to the beach with me:) Next question,

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Katie:  I would love to be a travel writer—as in, travel around the world and get paid to write about my journeys. Wouldn’t that be a cool job?!

globe-trotter-1828079_1280

Yes it would!!  #dreamjob  and on to question #3…..

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Katie:  Thinking about my new book, Whispering Tower, I wouldn’t mind hanging out with my main characters Skye and Philip—particularly while they’re stuck in the past. Of course, I’d only want to hang out with them there if I had the assurance I’d get to come back to the present!

That does sound like a fun day!   Thank you, Katie, for taking time to answer our three questions.

Click to Tweet: Multi-published author, Katie Clark is our 3 Questions Wednesday guest via @InspiredPrompt.

Katie is graciously offering a giveaway of a PDF of her newest book, Whispering Tower Make sure to leave a comment to be entered to win…


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Whispering Tower

Stuck in London for one of her mom’s work trips, Skye Humphries can’t help holding a grudge when she ends up roped into a summer tour group with Philip-who-crushed-her-heart. But when Skye and Philip find themselves barreling through time after unsuspectingly opening the veil between the past and present, they’re thrust into a world where Skye’s very life is in danger. If she’d known her choices were between summering with Philip or being sacrificed to the god of the skies, Skye might have changed her attitude. Now she must figure out what’s most important to her—getting even for the past or having a future.


 

Katie Clark Author PhotoKATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her romantic fantasy novel, The Rejected Princess, a supernatural survival series including Shadowed Eden and Whispering Tower, AVAILABLE NOW, and her dystopian Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, as well as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Jarm Del Boccio

image2Happy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Jarm Del Boccio. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Jarm:  That is such a difficult question, because I have present and past authors I adore! Since I love classical literature, though, I’d have to say Charlotte Brontë, because her novel, Jane Eyre is my absolute favorite.

I love Jane’s strength in the face of tragedy and persecution, and her vow to do what is right in God’s sight, even though it means leaving behind who she loves most on this earth. In the end, her devotion is rewarded.

I agree, She is a great strong feminine character.  Next question…

 If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Jarm: Hmmmmm. I’ve always admired (and love to read) novels set in WW2. There are so many heroes, especially in the resistance. The mystery and espionage woven in never ceases to awe me. How do authors plan a story with twists and turns, without giving away the ending? To think someone could write such a circuitous plot makes me a bit jealous. So, in answer to your question, I’d love to write a spy novel set in the 1940’s.

Inspired Prompts

Go for it! Last question:

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Jarm:  Wow! What a conundrum. In my yet unpublished MG historical fiction, Fair Investigations! the sibling pair, Henry and Alice spend their week soaking up mysteries and adventure at the 1893 World Colombian Exposition. Since I’ve always wanted to travel back in time to visit that awesome fair, I’d like to accompany Alice. She is actually much like me, and enjoys life in general, as long as there are new things to explore!

Sounds like it would be an adventurous day. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Jarm Del Boccio talks about writing and a giveaway. #Writer #amwriting #JarmDelBoccio

Jarm is giving away an e-book, in either e-pub or mobi format, whichever the winner would  prefer!.  Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing!


The Heart Changer

How to start writing, published, new writer, tips for writers, author, how to get published, how to write a book, inspiration, writer's block,

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.


How to start writing, published, new writer, tips for writers, author, how to get published, how to write a book, inspiration, writer's block,

Jarm (’J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way, as she slowly checks off destinations on her bucket list. Her latest wish is to be caught up in a flash mob singing a song from a favorite musical!

A former teacher and librarian, Jarm’s passion is to breathe new life into the pages of history. She believes with inspiration from the past, children can be the heroes of their own stories. You can find more about Jarm on her author’s website/blog at https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

As a member of SCBWI, American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers, Jarm desires to polish her manuscripts until they shine.

Content with the journey God has placed her on, Jarm lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. The Heart Changer is her debut novel.

If you’d like to to receive her informative and inspirational newsletters relating to her author’s journey, sign up here: http://bit.ly/jarmsnews

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The Heart Changer can be purchased at major online stores including Amazon: Amazon

3 Questions Wednesday with Allen Steadham

Allen-Steadham-author-2018Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

This week’s guest is developmental editor and fantasy author, Allen Steadham.  Welcome to the Inspired Prompt blog!

First question—Who is your favorite author?

Allen:  David Mack (Star Trek author)

He does write great fantasy books.  Now, second question

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Allen:  I think I would enjoy researching and writing about one of my ancestors (on my mother’s side), Benjamin Franklin.Benjamin Franklin, 1767, Writer, Natural Scientists

How interesting… 🙂 That brings us to question number three—

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Allen:  I think it would be interesting to spend time with Steve and Sue Hamilton from Mindfire (the main protagonist’s father and step-mother who raised her). They’re both Christians who used to be superheroes. I think just spending a day hanging out and hearing about both their adventures as superheroes and their testimonies would be fascinating.

Sounds like a very adventurous day!  Thank you so much for stopping by!

Click to Tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday’s guest is Christian fiction author, Allen Steadham.  Learn more about him and his book, Mindfire, and leave a comment for a chance to win a ebook via @InspiredPrompt.  #amreading

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a ebook version of Mindfire.


 Mindfire

Mindfire hi-res cover_sm

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

Leia Hamilton can move things and set them on fire with her mind.

Leia’s father and step-mother tried to hide their past: a time when they were part of a team of superheroes. But despite being disbanded for over twenty years following a series of tragedies, their problems were passed to their children and Leia finds that her future collides with their past.

In the diverse world of human and superhuman, heroes and villains, friends and enemies, some of Leia’s choices have terrible consequences. For Leia, this leads to a personal crossroads and a search for redemption.

Not your normal superhero novel, Mindfire isn’t about secret identities, costumes, or evil plots endangering the world. Instead, self-discovery and adaptation is at the forefront as the reader follows the lives of the characters who are unafraid to show love and explore spirituality.

Can redemption and renewed grace weather the flames of absolute power and superhuman strength?

 


Allen-Steadham-author-2018Allen Steadham

Allen Steadham created comic books and webcomics before he started writing novels. He has been married to his wife, Angel, since 1995 and they have two sons and a daughter. When not writing stories or drawing comics, Allen and his wife are singers, songwriters and musicians. They have been in a Christian band together since 1997. They live in Central Texas.

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