Friday, November 12, 2010

My Journey to Publication by Jill Williamson

This Fortifying Friday we’re happy to welcome award-winning author Jill Williamson to Seriously Write. She shares her journey to publication and some things that helped her along the way. Enjoy!


My Journey to Publication

I wasn’t trying to get published when I submitted my fantasy novel to Jeff Gerke as part of the manuscript review program at the 2008 Oregon Christian Writers’ Summer Coaching Conference. Marcher Lord Press’ submission guidelines were clear: no young adult novels.

I’d met Jeff at the 2007 Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s conference and used his editorial services on a different novel. When I saw he would be attending OCW, I submitted my manuscript to him hoping to glean wisdom. I was surprised when he wanted to meet with me.

“Why does it have to be YA?” he asked.

Jeff wanted to see the full manuscript. I was pretty excited, but I’d had requests for full manuscripts before.

As soon as I got home, I applied Jeff’s edits, looked over the rest of the book, and sent it off. A few months later I got an email that said: “Do you happen to be by a phone right now so that I can call you?”

And that was the beginning of a new adventure. My medieval fantasy, By Darkness Hid, released from Marcher Lord Press, April 1, 2009. The second book, To Darkness Fled, came out April 1, 2010, and book three, From Darkness Won, will release April 1, 2011.

Many things helped me on the path toward publication.

1) Write, rewrite, and read a lot.

2) Join a critique group to get feedback on your writing and give feedback to others.

3) Be teachable. Never think you know everything. There is always something more to learn.

4) Go to writer’s conferences. This is the best way to contact editors and agents. Don’t stress about selling your book. Learn and meet new people. Build relationships.

5) Take advantage of free manuscript reviews. Most conferences offer a program where you can submit a chapter of your manuscript to an editor or agent. This amazing opportunity should always be taken advantage of, even if there is no interest in your genre. You can always ask for honest feedback on your project.

6) Consider paying for a freelance editorial review. It might not get you published. The book Jeff reviewed for me is still not published. But I learned a lot from the full review of my novel. It’s important to find the right freelance editor for your genre. Ask around to find a good fit.

7) Give. Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” I spent the last six years writing. I also poured my heart and time into encouraging others and supporting this industry. I didn’t do that to get published. I did it because people did so for me. When I consider how my fantasy novel came to be written and published, I see God’s hand. He heard my prayers, saw my tears, and listened to my songs of joy. Praise his name for this opportunity. May he bless you likewise in his perfect timing.



Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. She grew up in Alaska with no electricity, an outhouse, and a lot of mosquitoes. Thankfully it was the land of the midnight sun, and she could stay up and read by the summer daylight that wouldn’t go away. But in the winter, there was nothing better to do than daydream. Both hobbies set her up to be a writer. Her debut novel, By Darkness Hid, won an EPIC Award, a Christy Award, A Carol Award nomination, and was named a Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror novels of 2009 by VOYA magazine. Jill has served alongside her youth pastor husband for the past twelve years and loves working with teenagers, especially to encourage young writers. She gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, and churches.

Learn more by visiting Jill’s website:
http://www.jillwilliamson.com/

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