Monday, September 23, 2013

Taking the Plunge

Earlier this year, I started writing Snowflakes & Beeswax. It was the first time I had ever written for the sole purpose of having something that could be submitted to an anthology. When I first started out, I was jumpy. Just because I wrote something that conformed to the submission guidelines there was no guarantee it would be accepted, Than what. Those same guidelines meant the story wouldn’t be suitable for much. The word count alone made things tricky. It was going to either be too long or too short for most competitions.

Even though the story was going to be short, I wasn’t silly. It was going to be a huge time commitment. Time I could spend hanging out with my horses, working on a longer, more marketable project, or doing paid copywriting assignments.

Before I started writing, I sat down and had a long chat with myself about what would happen if I wrote the story and it didn’t get accepted.

I figured I had three choices.
  • I could tuck the manuscript in the bottom of my desk drawer and forget about it
  • I could extend what was essentially a 20,000 word story into a novel. Up the steam level (the submission guidelines were specific about it being a kisses only story) and add some sub-plot.
  • I could self-publish

Option 1 still has some appeal, but at some point I’m going to have to take a chance on my writing. Besides, I had already dedicated quite a bit of time to the story, time that could have been spent copywriting and earning an income. If I tucked the story into the bottom of my desk all that time would be wasted. Besides, I liked the characters I had created, they deserved better than an eternity stuffed into the bottom of a desk drawer.

Through the 1st and 2nd drafts, I thought I would take option 2. It made the most sense to me. But, the more I got to know my characters, the less I liked that idea. Somehow padding and extending their story just didn’t feel right. The more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of extending the story. Besides, this was a Christmas story, even if I was able to create a kick butt manuscript, how many openings would be available. Most of the Christmas stories I’ve seen published have been written by authors who have several published novels under their belt.

The third choice is the scariest, but it’s also the one I’m going to take. Even though I don’t expect Snowflakes & Beeswax to set the world on fire, I really don’t have any expectations at all. I think I’ve written a cute little story and I love both my MC’s.

I’m going into the experience with the attitude that this will be a learning experience more than a money making venture. It’s a good opportunity to get a stronger idea of what it takes to get a book off my harddrive and into a place where others can read it. Plus, it’s going to be a great opportunity to work on honing my marketing skills, which could use a lot of work.

If everything goes according to plan, Snowflakes & Beeswax should be available on November 1st.


  1. Congrats on taking the plunge! Hitting the publish button like that is twice as scary as doing so for a blog post. Your story is out there alone with only its own merits, good or bad, to defend itself with. On the other hand, it is very liberating to lean back from your keyboard and say, "I finally did it."

    1. Thanks, Ryan :) I might be a nervous wreck about the process, but at least I'm committed, good or bad.

  2. Glad to hear that, Jess! I like the story too so far & agree that it deserves better than being stuffed in a drawer. It doesn't strike me as a typical, boring romance: these people are real, they feel the same sorts of things I do, and react pretty similar to me so I feel connected. :-)

    Hope you'll let us know a bit about your publishing experience. Those of us who haven't published anything yet tend to be interested when somebody does it the first time!

    1. Thanks, Marcia. I hope you're right. I like the story too! I'll try to keep you updated on the entire process. My schedule should be slowing down a bit, giving me a bit more time to spend blogging. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Bravo, Jess! Big steps... I'm rootin' for ya!

  4. Very scary but exciting too. I love your well thought out plans.

  5. what a well thought out plan. good luck. very excited and happy for you :)