Let’s go on a journey!

August 21, 2007 | Karin's Blog | 24 comments

As many of you may know I’m part of The Write Attitude group. As a member I have been relentlessly whipped by Edie to get my journey to publication story written so that it could be posted on the site.

I’d avoided it for several reasons. One: pure laziness. Two: I’m a procrastinator by nature and it just would not look good if, god forbid, I was remotely close to being on time with it.
Three: my story is boring.

But after much nudging and threats, I acquiesced yesterday and wrote my journey.
So without further adieu here it is, and I’m warning you, it’s boring.

Karin’s journey to publication.

It’s not a razzle-dazzle story. It isn’t a turn of luck, or a hardship case. It wasn’t one of those epiphany type moments when I knew what I had to do. Nope, mine was pretty text book.

I can sum it up in one word: perseverance.

I’m a goal orientated person. I set a goal and work hard until I achieve it. No secret formula.

Always a reader and a sometime dabbler in writing, I made the decision I wanted to be New York published almost 7years ago.
As a business woman first and foremost I drew up a plan. A map if you will on how I was getting to New York. I had a lot of work to do.

I spent several years honing my craft, hanging with like-minded people and constantly querying agents. I went to conferences when I didn’t know anyone, and made contacts.
My writing improved, I stopped getting form rejections and I met editors. I forged onward, and sold. It wasn’t until after my first sale I signed with my dream agent. And the rest they say is history.

My advice is and has always been, never, never, ever give up. Not if you want it. If you quit then you have no one to blame but yourself.

See? I told you it was boring. Tried and true usually is. But there it is. No secret formula, just hard work and perseverance.

Here’s the weird part of this story. After I sold and was sipping some very nice Dom in the hot tub with hubby I said, “So, what the hell do I do now?”

He looked at me kind of funny and said, “What do you mean what do you do now?”

“Well, I achieved my goal to sell to New York. What do I do now?” You see, I was so focused on the goal of selling, I hadn’t looked past that. I wasn’t sure at that point if I really wanted to continue writing. It’s a lot of work!

Hubby was thoughtful for a moment then said, “I guess your next goal can be to hit the New York Times bestseller list.”

I nodded. Sounded good to me. We clinked our glasses and I have been working furiously toward that goal since.

Now let me also add, during the pre-publication years there was frustration, anger, despair, hopelessness and more than once I questioned my goal. I am very fortunate. I have a husband who would not allow me to quit, and then there was the example I had to set for my children. On principle alone I could not quit. So by my hard work, and a little help from my family, I realized my dream.

So, for those of you in the pre-published stage of your writing, understand there will be times when you want to quit. When you feel hopeless, and all looks bleak. I’m telling you, if you work through it, you will realize your dream.

So, how goes the road to publication for you? There yet? Almost? Can see it on the horizon?

Write on,



  1. Edie

    Karin, your story is great! It’s worth all the new dents in my pointy toed shoes from the kicks I sent your way.

    And my horizon is so close I feel I can touch it sometimes. Other times it seems far away. But my sails are still high and I’m rowing hard.

  2. Amanda

    I feel I’m actually *on* the path. For a while I felt myself slipping off the edge of the cliff, and not caring that I was. But, some friends told me that is when you just try harder, your goal is reachable, if not quite yet in reach.

  3. B.E. Sanderson

    Thanks, Karin. This is one of those weeks when a little cheerleading will go a long way. My road to publication has been long. Sometimes it’s like walking through the desert with nary a slushie stand in sight. But I’m out here, still on the road. Networking my little fingers to the bone. Reading everything I can get my hands on. And always ALWAYS improving my writing skills. I can’t see the bend in the road where publication will be waiting, but I know it’s out there somewhere, so I just have to keep walking toward it. Getting off the road is not an option.

    Thanks again. I really needed that.

  4. Karin

    Edie, you are very close! Can’t wait to celebrate your first sale!!!

    Amanda, you have made awesome strides in the last year. See it, and be it, baby!

  5. Karin

    any time you need a shot in the arm, Beth, I’m here. Kind of like Edie with those pointy-toed boots.

  6. Deb

    What day of the week is it… and which way is the wind blowing? That’s how my journey feels. Depends on the email or snail mail du jour. When that request for a partial (or full) comes in… I’m walking on clouds. But, ah, the rejection slams into me like a sledge hammer to the gut! Okay, not all of them. Sometimes I just smile at my own cojones when I know I tried to play with the big boys and I’m not really ready yet.

    Like others, I know publication is around the bend. I just don’t which one! 😉 But stories like yours Karin help keep the faith alive! Thanks for being here.

  7. Karin

    Deb, for it’s worth, I sent out work that had no business being seen by any living soul much less an agent!

    I knew though when I wrote Stakeout, which i sold to Kensington, that that story was the one. I knew in my gut my writing had finally after all of those years of practice gotten to a level where I would get seriously considered. I also knew if that story didn’t sell, I now had what it took to be at the next level and the trick was going to be writing something that when an agent or editor read knew they could sell.

  8. LaDonna

    Karin you inspire me, always have. I like your goal intentions. Simple, straight-forward to the bone. I’m happy to say, I’m where I want to be at this moment. I’ll be signing a second contract for my next book soon, and my first one will be out in the Spring. YAY! And, Hilary has a full from your last contest. Yep, it feels good. And it’s hard work, and I was doing it for years to get here. Knew you’d love the perserverance part. LOL. I don’t give up, and I dance to my own drum. God, I love life!

  9. LaDonna

    Forgot to add, your journey rocks! A nice touch for our Write Attitude!

  10. Tracey

    Karin – so far my story is very similar to yours – I have goals that I work towards and hard work and perseverance keeps me going. My next goal is to finish the rewrites my agent wants done and enter it in the Golden Heart.

    If you think of publishing as a big building – I’ve stepped on the first stair then turned around and walked back down the pavement a little way. Stopped, squared my shoulders and turned back again. Climbed to the top of the stairs -raised my hand, hesitated, then swallowed my fear and banged on the door. Now I can see someone on the other side of those big glass doors walking towards me to answer my knock. I’m not quite in that building yet, but people have noticed and I’m getting closer.

    I love the Write Attitude ““ it is very inspirational indeed. Keep up the good work. 😀

  11. Karin

    LaDonna, your exuberance is contagious! And my fingers are crossed Hilary # 1 asks for more of your story.

    I like your analogy, Tracey. Methinks though you are in the building. Good luck with those revisions.

  12. spyscribbler

    That is too inspiring, Karin! Not boring at all!

    I didn’t start out with goals. In fact, it was a lark at first. Then it was fun, and then I needed money (although it was still fun). Lately, I’ve realized two things: 1) If I weren’t paid, I doubt I’d share my writing at all; 2) Without a deadline and the fear of needing money, I haven’t figured out how to write.

    So the NY-published dream is a struggle I haven’t figured out how to fix yet. How do I write something when I have no idea if I’ll be paid? That has no deadline? It takes months for me to lazily write under those conditions, what my pseudonym can whip out in a week!

  13. Karin

    Spy, write a proposal!

  14. spyscribbler

    But I’m essentially a newbie writer, to NY, right? So I think I gotta write the whole book?

  15. Karin

    nah, you have sales, and are a proven author.

  16. spyscribbler

    I don’t know what I’ve proven, if anything, LOL. But heck, I may as well submit something. I honestly never thought of it. I was just thinking book, then agent, then publisher. I can’t work on the book again until my pseudonym writes two more novellas, so why not throw something out there, in the meantime? Kate Duffy did actually stand up at RWA conference and say that she doesn’t care if it’s finished or not (which I still can’t believe I heard correctly, LOL).

  17. tawny

    Did someone say goals? LOL – I adore goals. Karin, our stories are similar, as you know. Set the goal, work at it until it happened, set a new one and keep going. When I set my first ‘writing career’ goal, I gave myself 3 years. I hit the end of that three years, still unsold, and looked around, shrugged and realized I didn’t have a choice. I had to keep going. It took me another year *g* but like you say, it’s all about perserverance. And rewards… can’t forget the rewards.

  18. Elisabeth Naughton

    So, question, Karin. From the time you started writing seriously for publication, how many years (and manuscripts) until you sold?

  19. Karin

    Kate is a goddess! Her word is gold! She does not lie!

    T, yes, we are talkin’ goals. And rewards! I love rewards. I’m wearning a pair now. 😉

  20. Karin

    Okay, Eli, let me think here. I wrote one book in my late twenties, just for the hell of it. It was loooong, all handwritten. At the end of the day I think it was like 200K words! Then nada for well over a decade. Then I wrote another single title. It took a couple of years. It wasn’t a priority and it was very bad.

    Then about 7 years ago I started a sexy little western set historical, and I think that is when the bug bit me. I only wrote about 5 chapters of that, again, hand written. I went back to the romantic suspense I had written before that and rewrote it, this time on my computer. After that, I joined a crit group. It was a leap of faith coz I didn’t know those chicks. Two of them, Sharon Long aka Maya Banks and Amy Knupp, are now dear friends. I wrote a story titled TAMING CASANOVA, and they loved it! Then I wrote TO DIE FOR another RS, and it was ok, but not as good imho as CASANOVA. Let’s see, what did I write next? (Oh and btw, I really started to query with TC and TDF). I co-wrote YOU’VE GOT MURDER with my then CP Edie Ramer. Hmm, I think next I wrote STAKEOUT, which I sold. And that came after almost four years of writing and honing the craft. My writing sucked the big one.
    It was melodramatic, over told, and poorly executed. It took a lot of brutal honesty with myself to suck it up and get to work.

  21. Karin

    Hi, Anna! You said it, hard work and perseverance. They go hand in hand, and while there are some out there who think not everyone has it in them to publish, I disagree. I truly believe, even if you are not born with the talent, you can cultivate it.
    when I look back at the dredge I was writing, and see the same dredge in contest entries I judge, I know there is hope for those who really have to work at the craft. If they so choose.
    I can honestly say, nothing has come easy to me. Lacking natural talent, I have always had to work hard.
    Example. My sister is a natural horsewoman. She’d hop on a horse, any horse, and off she’d ride to the blue ribbon. Me? Argh, work work work.

    I have a friend who can take a clump of weeds and make a beautiful flower arrangement. Me? I need to start with gorgeous flowers to create something remotely close to her lovely creation.

    Same with school work. While my friends were acing tests, I had to study and cram to break a B.
    It’s always been that way.

    But, once I get it, I usually take off. But, damn, it’s hard getting there!

  22. Anna Louise Lucia

    It’s a great story, Karin! And just what some writers seeking a magical formula NEED to hear.

    Hard work and perserverence. Amen!

  23. LaDonna

    Same here, Karin. Thinking of school, which I was not a huge fan of most classes. 😆 So glad those days are over.

  24. Michelle

    Karin, I think your story is all the more inspiring for being plain hard work and perseverance.

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