I’m often asked how I made the transition from unpublished writer to professional author.
Frankly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. I wrote short stories as a young boy in elementary school, and started my first novel while in high school. But that effort fizzled, and as I entered college to study business administration, my desire to become a professional writer gave way to more “practical” considerations.
A few years later, I decided to make a renewed effort to reach my dream. Since I couldn’t afford to quit my full-time job, I began writing during my lunch break, on the bus to work, and in every spare minute I could find. Within a year, I had completed my first novel and mailed it to several publishers. My hopes were high, but all I got for my efforts were rejection slips.
Then something happened that changed my life. By a stroke of good luck, I became acquainted with another writer who lived nearby. Margaret was a published novelist, and when she asked to read my manuscript, I gladly obliged . . . and waited nervously for her response.
She came to my house the following week to return my manuscript, along with a large sealed envelope. “I took the liberty of critiquing your novel,” she said. Then, before I could ask questions, she added, “The critique is in the envelope. Read it first, then we’ll talk.”
After Margaret left, I eagerly opened the envelope and found one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received: a fifteen-page critique that analyzed every element of my novel. Margaret showed me how to bring my characters to life in dramatic scenes, and how to maintain heightened conflict and tension in order to hold the reader’s interest. She pointed out specific scenes that should be fleshed out with better description. She suggested plot changes to pick up the pace of the story, and told me how the subplots could be better woven into the main story line. With her critique, Margaret used my own manuscript to teach me more about the craft of writing than I had learned from a dozen books.
I rewrote my novel, and in a few months I had a New York agent and contract offers from two publishers. Timejumper was published by Leisure Books of New York, and The Tartarus Incident followed a year later. My career as a published author was off and running.
Even though I’ve had several novels published since then by major New York firms, I
still remember the thrill of signing that first publishing contract. Would I have found success without Margaret’s detailed critique? Maybe. It’s possible that after a few more years of trial and error, I would have hit on the right combination to produce a salable novel. It’s also possible I would have given up long before that happened.
Now that I’m a successful author, I’ve found that I also enjoy working with newer writers. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped someone make the transition from unpublished writer to professional author. I do this with critiques that have solid, practical advice, and by working as hard on revisions and rewrites for clients as I work on my own manuscripts.
If you’ve written a novel or nonfiction book, nothing would please me more than helping you become a published author.
Let me help you make the transition from unpublished writer to professional author. Call me at (505) 796-6895 or Click here to send me a message.