Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday: Guest Blog Day - by Nell DuVall

Given the opportunity to write on anything related to writing is daunting. However, considering this last year, one word comes to my mind: Persistence. I've been writing fiction for twenty-two years with indifferent success on the publishing front. Yet others have had similar experiences. Sue Grafton didn't sell until she wrote her sixth novel. J.K. Rowling suffered from many rejections. However, both women persisted.

What follows is my own saga. I started with short stories and found I enjoyed writing, but, despite sporadic efforts, I never managed to sell any. However, I won first place for a children's story that paid more than most magazines.

Turning to novels, I began with a sweet romance of around forty-thousand words. Then I progressed to several long novels over 120,000 words. Still no sales, but with a demanding, full-time job, my submission efforts were sporadic. I received a few letters beyond the generic rejections, but no acceptances.

Meanwhile, I wrote and sold several successful nonfiction books while also starting a small print-on-demand press to provide a place for local writers and artists to publish.

Determined to sell my novels, I approached a respected small publisher and sold one novel for a modest advance. It also made it into large print.

When that publisher discontinued the line, and, with my past lack of success with major publishers, I decided to try ebooks. I found a couple of ebook publishers looking for stories that fit some of mine and submitted two stories to two different publishers. Both accepted the stories. So, I sent off another four and three were accepted and published in a single author analogy. Best of all, both publishers liked my writing.

I've since written and submitted other stories, all accepted. So, I submitted novels to both publishers and they both accepted them. These were over 100,000 words and will appear in May 2012. In addition, another novel is scheduled for August.

Reviews have appeared of the three analogies and all gave favorable mention to my stories. As to money, that is yet to be seen, although I received an advance on one of the novels.

Writing is a craft and takes time and effort to learn. We have to expect rejection and still persist. Unrealistic expectations defeat a lot of writers. However, those who persevere and grow can succeed.

Some may ask why I choose to use an epublisher instead of the do-it-yourself approach. I'd sort of done that with my small POD efforts and wanted an established base and copyediting for my novels. I'd rather write than spend my time formatting and moving the product into the publication stream, something I share with Amanda Hocking who recently switched from successful self-publishing to a traditional publisher.

I and others on the Internet Writing Workshop are proof that persistence pays off for hard-working writers who want to be published. You can do it.

Nell writes romance, mystery, and speculative fiction. You can find her at Her works include Train to Yesterday Lrg Prt,Thorndike Press 978-1-4104-0878-5, Rg Prt(Five Star (Cengage)) 978-1-59414-663-3, "Corpulent Chiropteran" in Curious Hearts, Melange ISBN 978-1-61235-207-7, "Saving Christmas" in Warm Christmas Wishes, Melange, Dec 2011, When Lilacs Bloom, etopia, May 2012, Beyond the Rim of Light, Alex Stone, Melange, May 2012, Selvage, Melange, Aug 2012.


virginia winters said...

Congratulations on your soon-to-be published novels. I too chose the small e-book publisher route for my first two novels. The publisher subsequently did POD editions of both.
Best of luck with the new publications. Virginia

Sherry Gloag said...

Great to hear you are getting your justly deserved rewards for allyour writing efforts. I love your writing style, and wish you every success with your upcoming and curerent releases.

Bob Sanchez said...

Excellent post, Nell. Years ago, I read what Danielle Steel had to say on the subject. She had written something like 13 novels before she sold her first one. To paraphrase, she said she knew she wasn't that great a writer, but that no one worked harder than she did. I have never read her work, and lots of people put her down. But you've got to give her a lot of credit. She is a true commercial success.

Good blog, Rick. Thanks for hosting our IWW friend Nell.

Jenny Twist said...

Great success story, Nell. You're an inspiration to us all

Nora Weston said...

Wonderful post! It will certainly encourage writers everywhere to keep at it. Congrats on your success. :)