Did you think that once you got that first book published, you’d be set? That publishers would be clamoring for your attention? Whoa! It’s not that easy—even for someone who has been published many times over. Each book must still stand on its own. But the encouraging side to this is that just because you may be walking through the valley now or in the future, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. Read on as guest author Ann H. Gabhart shares her own ups and downs in publishing. ~ Dawn
One Writer’s Ups and Downs of Publishing
by Ann H. Gabhart
At the tender age of ten, I picked up a pen and started writing a mystery with a character based on me—naturally. Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say she was based on what I wanted me to be like and not what I was really like—a very shy, farm girl. But my heroine was with it. Jo could solve mysteries like the Hardy Boys. And she was really cute too.
So it all began. In the years since I’ve had my mountaintop moments as a writer and my times of walking through discouragement valley. As a young writer, I was like a person walking along a beach picking up shells with the hope that each new wave of creativity would wash up the perfect story that might get published. I wrote one piece after another. A few actually got printed in magazines and Sunday school papers. Then I wrote a novel and my writing goals shifted. No more short pieces for me. I wanted to write books.
My first book didn’t find a publisher. My second book didn’t find a publisher. My third book did. Talk about a mountaintop moment! My printed words inside a compelling cover were going to appear on store shelves everywhere. That was way back in 1978, and I embraced the thought of writing success. Warner Books did publish my next novel. Then I tumbled off that mountaintop down into discouragement valley. I wrote two more historicals that were “not quite right,” according to the editors. I wrote more books. Got more rejections. My agent told me editors said my historicals were “too clean,” so I decided to reinvent myself and look for a new audience for my “too clean” stories.
That decision took me up some more mountain trails while eleven of my coming-of-age stories for young readers were published. I liked writing for young people, but then the wheels came off my writing vehicle. My new stories began collecting rejects again. This time the trudge through discouragement valley went on for years. I told myself I should stop writing, get a job with a weekly paycheck instead of merely the hope of someday pay.
But I couldn’t quit. I had to keep writing. So since I wasn’t cornering any markets, I wrote the book I wanted to write instead of one I hoped an editor might like. The Scent of Lilacs with characters who sprang from my heart found a loving editor on its first trip out. Once more, I was up on one of those writing peaks.
Early on in my writing career I read something about treating rejections and acceptances the same. They might both knock a writer off course, because to be successful a writer has to keep plugging whether on the dark valley road or the sparkling mountain peak road. Up or down, a writer has to keep writing. That’s what writers do.
Ann H. Gabhart has published over twenty novels for adults and children including her bestselling Shaker novels. Ann lives on a farm in Central Kentucky with her husband, Darrell who sings bass in a Southern Gospel quartet. They have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann’s latest releases are The Blessed, her fourth Shaker novel, and Angel Sister, a novel inspired by the stories her mother told her about growing up during the years of the Great Depression.
You can keep up with Ann on her website, www.annhgabhart.com; her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com; Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-H-Gabhart/132862247566, or follow Ann on Twitter, user name annhgabhart.