My Bumpy Road to Publication Part I

The journey began many years ago. Though I've always loved writing my first efforts to see a novel published began with a YA mystery I wrote featuring a family that I knew. I sent it off, it was rejected, and I gave it to the family. Then I wrote a romance of sorts, sent it off, it was rejected and I threw it away. (Yes, I am very sorry for my actions.)

Frankly, I knew very little about writing at the time. I hadn't read much about the rules of writing or submitting a manuscript, I only knew about the books that I loved to read.

This was long before computers and the Internet, and I don't think I knew about Writer's Digest or writer's conferences--couldn't have afforded to go to one in any case.

My sister researched and wrote up our family's genealogy. On my mother's side, the girl of a set of twins disappeared at the age of 16. No one knew what happened to her. I decided to write a book and tell what happened. With my trusty typewriter and after much research into the places this family lived and the times they lived there, I wrote a 500 page historical family saga based on this family called Trail to Glory. I did not pick the title. I sent the manuscript numerous places. This was back when you sent the manuscript in a box with return postage on it and put that in another box to mail.

This time, though the rejections piled up, I ignored them and kept sending the book out. Finally in 1982 or thereabouts, it was accepted by Dorchester for publication. I was thrilled because I had written a second historical family saga based on the other side of the family and thought the editor who loved the first book would certainly love this one. She might have except she left the company and the editor who took her place rejected Two Ways West.

So, I returned to the chore of looking for publishers who might be interested. I finally found one. The book was published, looked great, but the publisher turned out to be a crook. Instead of passing on royalties, he took the money to Vegas and gambled it away. Yes, he spent some time in jail. I found a publisher I paid to have the book re-published in later years because it sells well in our area because it includes local history.

Meanwhile I'd been writing other books, of course. My first mystery, The Astral Gift was picked up by a Canadian company. My book launch was held in a large bookstore in Bakersfield who ordered 50 copies, nearly all 50 sold. That company turned out to be shady too, those 50 copies were all they printed, they closed shop and disappeared. In later years I found another e-publishing company to publish that book as an e-book and in trade paperback. Getting royalties out of that company was nearly impossible, so I pulled the book. I still have copies for sale--and it's available on Kindle.

I also wrote several police procedurals, my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. I had an agent representing them to no avail. Finally, I found an e-publisher who wanted to publish them. However, this was before e-readers and they never found a readership. The company I mentioned before who did the Astral Gift, also published a romance, Lingering Spirit as an e-book and took on two of the Rocky Bluff novels. Again, the royalty problem. Those books are now on Kindle too, thanks to Oak Tree Press.

I found another e-publisher who also did print books for the next two books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Unfortunately, she didn't stay in business. Those books are now on Kindle too. I no longer have any print copies of Smell of Death, and I only have a few copies left of Fringe Benefits, but I still have copies of the first two in the series, Final Respects and Bad Tidings.

Tomorrow I'll post about the publication of my Christian horror novels and my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. None of this is really in order as I wrote books, had lots of rejections, but kept on writing, no matter what.

Marilyn

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