My Writing Path
As a lot of writers, I’ve been in love with the written word since I was a child. As many people know I wrote my first book when I was eight years old. It was a re-write of Beauty and the Beast. Of course, it’s lost in the past, but it wasn’t the only book I’ve written that never saw the light of day. There were several as well as the beginnings of many more.
My first published writings were short subjects and short stories, mainly for Sunday School take home papers and small magazines. I did have a recipe published in Southern Living and a hint found its way into Family Circle. I wrote and sold around seven hundred of these. The rejections I got amounted to over a thousand. Most paid me from .00 to 10.00, though there were four or five that paid 50.00 to 100.00. I lost money because in all these ‘manuscripts’ I had to enclosed self-addressed- stamped-envelopes and/or return postage. (It was before the PC was a household necessity.)
Eventually I put together a book of games and puzzles based on the Bible called, Fun with the Bible and it was published by the Lutheran Synod. They also published two children’s activity books: Who am I, Old Testament and Who am I, New Testament. This happened in the 80’s.
After this, I hit an almost 20 year dry spell. It seemed nothing I wrote would sell. I received rejection after rejection, but I didn’t let this stop me. I wrote a couple of books and one actually caught the eye of a NY agent, who eventually rejected it. I was crushed, but I kept writing. No publisher would even look at it. After a good cry, I kept writing.
In 2000 I sold my first full-length fiction manuscript. Jilted by Death was published in 2003. The publisher then went out of business. I couldn’t attract a publisher for the next two books, Echoes of Mercy and Duo of Opposites, so I self-published them in 2006. I owned the rights on Jilted and Echoes so in 2007 I sent them to Harlequin’s Worldwide Mysteries. I didn’t hear anything for 18 months, then out of the blue they sent me a contract for both. One was published in 2010 the other in 2011.
In 2008 I found a small publisher and they accepted the manuscript, Stetson Mold. It came out in 2009. The second book they published was Duo of Opposites since I owned the rights to it. They went on to publish The Calendar Clan, June & Wallace, The Ferrington Men: Gabe, The Ferrington Men: Josh and Emerywood Park. They also published two western romances: Opal’s Faith and Valissa’s Home.
Another small firm published Your Place or Mine, Lady Slippers for my Lady, Wildflowers for the Senator and A Rose for my Forever Love.
My state murder series was first published by an e-book publisher: A South Carolina Murder, A Georgia Murder and A North Carolina Murder. I left this publisher.
For a new publisher. I began writing western romance under the name, Agnes Alexander. My publisher requested I only write under this name because it sold better than my birth name. I now answer to that name as often as I do my real name. My first book with them, Fiona’s Journey came out in 2012. They have also published in the western romance genre Rena’s Cowboy, Quinn’s Promise, Edwina’s Husband, Camilla’s Daughters, Amelia’s Marriage and Grace’s Dream. In the romance field they’ve published, The Island and Bought Bride. They re-named and re-published the mystries, Murder in North Carolina, Murder in South Carolina and Murder in Georgia.
I then found a publisher who only publishes western romance. They have published 2 books: Drina’s Choice and Hannah’s Wishes. I’m currently working on the 3rd and last in the series. At this time they have under contract, Belinda’s Yankee, a stand-alone that will be out in early 2016. In an anthology called, A Cowboy’s Celebration, they published my short-story: Second Chance at Love. In a boxed-set of books called, Love’s First Touch they re-published Drina’s Choice.
What did I learn from all this that might be of benefit to the new writer?: (1) I didn’t let anything publishers or editors say discourage me. (2) No matter how my sales dropped, I kept writing. (3) I never refused to change or re-write when the editors requested it if it didn’t change the focus of the story. (4) I changed my genre when I felt I needed or wanted to. I started out writing non-fiction. I moved to Cozy Mystery, then Romantic Suspense, then Romance then Western Romance. Though I write a mystery or a present day romance occasionally, I’ve found I truly love writing the western romances and plan to continue – at least until I finish the alphabet with a woman’s name. (5) I still make very little money from my books, but I love writing them and know I will continue to write as long as the Good Lord lets me.
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