So everyone’s journey to publication is different. But as far as things go, my path is probably one of the most traditional. It wasn’t without difficulty (believe me), but I am one of the lucky few who didn’t have to wait ten years to get published.
It did actually start fifteen years ago when I was taking a walk with my best friend and told her an idea I had for a screenplay. I wrote it as a screenplay (badly) and sent it to her and she never said anything about it. So yeah, it was that bad. Then about 3 years ago, I started reading lots of YA (thank you, Rachel Hawkins) and I decided to take my screenplay idea and make it a YA book.
I finished the book in about six months and sent it to non-writing friends who really liked it. So I queried it and got a plethora of rejection letters. (The query was good, but the book was a disaster). I started a blog. I started finding writers online. I found critique partners who were REAL writers and they honestly told me my book sucked. I revised it. I entered the Amazon Breakthru Novel Award contest. I got to the quarter finals. I hired a professional editor (who honestly taught me SO much and ultimately led me to my current job as an editor). I revised the book 57 times. This is an actual number.
Then, I went to a workshop for rape survivors about writing testimony. And through one of the writing exercises, I found the voice for another book (Fault Line). A book I originally drafted in 3 weeks. Then revised, revised, revised. Then got an agent for it (Sarah LaPolla!). She liked the idea of my first book and thought it might be easier to go on submission with that book than with an “issue” book. But my first book still wasn’t quite right. I rewrote it 4 more times and it still wasn’t right. I sent Sarah a note and said, “Let’s go on submission with the rape book.” She was on board. (She’s great that way.) We sold it in a few weeks. It was amazing. Unexpected. Spectacular.
But the first book, the one I desperately wanted to trunk, remains a thorn in my side. Because it’s a good idea. Everyone I tell about it says it’s a good idea. It’s an idea that I shouldn’t trunk. I’ve brought in a collaboration partner on it. Still, it’s not right. I’m not sure if the issue is that I’m not a good enough writer yet (very possible) or if it’s that it will always be a FIRST book.
I’ve written 4 or 5 books since Fault Line. One (Bleed Like Me) recently sold to SimonPulse for 2014 release. The other books are in various states of disarray. I don’t question writing anymore. It’s just something I do. I write a lot of things that are just for me (or just for me and my friends). I realized that I love writing and I don’t always want my eye to be on publication. It wasn’t until I started doing that that I felt like a legitimate writer. When I started giving up vacation time at the pool so I could write I realized THIS is what makes me a writer. My agent, my book sale, the editorial process, seeing my book on GoodReads…none of it made me feel like “yes, I’m an author now”. My turning point moment when I felt like I was a “real” author was getting on a plane (I hate traveling) and having an idea for something I wanted to write that was SO important that I pushed past my usual flyer’s anxiety attack to pull out my computer and type. I gave up Xanax-induced euphoric sleep to write 2000 words of something that may or may not ever live anywhere but my desktop. That’s the journey I’m most proud of. That’s how I know I’ve found my passion.
Find Christa online HERE