Today I heard a story on the radio that caught my attention. It began with a story not unlike my own. A writer discussed how she’d received complementary letters from publishers and editors in response to her manuscript submissions. Although they liked her work respondents didn’t think they’d be able to market it. As this was my experience, I wanted to hear what happened.
Also like me, Karen McQuestion had been a freelance writer, and had written on a regular basis for a local newspaper. Karen loved to write. Her heart’s desire was to write novels. Karen had written several and had even had an agent. Unfortunately, she was unable to sell her books.
A year ago McQuestion began to think she’d never be a success as a novelist. When her freelance work dried up, she realized it was time to take a serious look at her options. During this time Karen learned about a writer who published his novels as e-books. After 7,000 download the author had earned a small royalty and a publishing deal.
Karen didn’t know the basics such as how to design a book cover or determine pricing, but decided publishing on the ‘Net was worth a try. McQuestion reasoned that if her books weren’t successful she’d have lost little, and in the best case she’d make enough money to continue writing. During the next six months she uploaded six books.
The end result?
Karen McQuestion wrote on her blog: “I’ve had (to me) unbelievable success. The first few months I was stunned that anyone was actually buying and reading my books. I’d wanted it for so long that I was afraid of it all going away. Some small part of me thought that my sales would peak and then taper off to nothing. But despite my worries, my sales numbers kept growing, partially because I was adding books and also because more people were buying e-book readers.
“The best part–I got emails and reviews and comments on the message boards from readers who liked my books and were recommending them to others! Without this word of mouth I never would have had the kind of numbers I had. Some of the posters are people I now consider to be Internet friends. My world became wider, and happier too, for that matter.”
Karen’s story doesn’t end there. She’s had one of her novels optioned for film. She also was contacted by an editor who wanted to publish her books.
Karen’s success didn’t come overnight. Her love of writing kept her going. Not every writer is likely to have Karen McQuestion’s success; however, if you love writing, the process is its own reward.
Patience is the hardest part of the writer’s journey. Karen McQuestion offers advice to writers who are yearning for validation of their work through publishing:
“To other writers I say–please, keep the faith. Keep writing and improving (that’s a given, I know) and keep up with the latest news and opportunities, because you never ever know.”
What keeps me going? A commitment to the women who contributed to my book Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories; the positive comments and support I’ve had since I released the book and it’s companion blog Living in the Heartland; and the faith that something good WILL happen.
To read stories of other extraordinary women go to Living in the Heartland.
Read how three women overcame life’s challenges on the way to success: Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories on Amazon.com.
Click Living in the Heartland video preview.