Friday, April 26, 2013

Don’t Give Up by Darrel Nelson


Darrel Nelson
The road to publication can be long and challenging, but we’re often told that if we’re tenacious and work hard, we can reach the desired destination. Author Darrel Nelson is here today to share his personal journey, which is a true testimony of perseverance. Draw encouragement from his story and hang in there!  ~ Dawn


Don’t Give Up

My journey to publication spans thirty years, and yes, it’s been a long road. This may not seem like a positive introduction, but as the title suggests, my message is one of encouragement. Everyone faces challenges in writing and promoting their work, and sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that as writers we have much in common and can learn from one another. On that note, here’s my story.

After teaching high school for five years, I resigned in 1979 so I could write a novel. I pulled out all my savings and jumped in with both feet. Two years later I completed the manuscript and sent out letters of inquiry. No luck. Letters of rejection began piling up so fast that I stopped saving them because I ran out of storage room.

I returned to teaching and remained in the classroom for the next thirty-two years. During that time, I wrote ten more novels and sent out many more letters of inquiry. Rejection became a way of life as I tried one genre after another, always hoping that the next book would be my breakthrough.

In 2002, I hit upon an idea for a storyline based loosely on my family history. It took six years to develop it into a novel because of time constraints. When it was finished, I sent out more letters of inquiry. Again, no luck. So I rewrote the novel completely and sent out further queries. This time I was accepted, and I signed with Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. She shopped the manuscript around for a year without any progress. So I rewrote the novel again, changing the theme from Christmas to an anniversary. A year later, Joyce was successful in placing The Anniversary Waltz. It was a ten-year journey from start to finish!

Then I discovered that the journey was only beginning. I had to promote the book, and I found this to be as much work, if not more, than writing it. I’m talking book signings, visiting book clubs, writing articles, doing blog interviews, starting a webpage, entering parades, and keeping in contact on Facebook and Twitter. And while these promotional efforts were going on, I was writing my second novel, The Return of Cassandra Todd, the story of a young woman, on the run from her abusive husband, and the young man she meets who risks his life to help her. It too has a long and varied history, but I’ll save that for another article.

So now the words of encouragement: Don’t give up. It took me thirty years to find a publisher. And if I can do it, you can do it too. And hopefully in a lot less time. But if not, remember that we often need the journey to give us experiences that prepare us to craft the story we were not ready to write earlier.




 
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About Darrel Nelson . . .

I am a schoolteacher by profession and taught school for thirty-seven years. I retired in June 2012 so that I could write full time. Raymond, Alberta, is my hometown, and I attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school, majoring in English. I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers).

But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world. The Anniversary Waltz was published in May 2012. It is the story of Adam and Elizabeth Carlson's courtship, set in northern Montana at the end of World War II. The Return of Cassandra Todd was released in February 2013. It is set in modern day Denver, and is the story of Cassandra's desperate flight from her abusive husband, and the timely assistance she receives from Turner. I am currently working on my third novel, Following Rain, which deals with the saving power of truth and love.

For more information, feel free to check out my website at http://www.darrelnelson.com.



13 comments:

  1. God's timing definitely isn't the same as ours, is it? You are one patient man, Darrel Nelson. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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  2. Such an encouraging post. I'm so glad you persevered. And I love Joyce Hart! Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

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  3. It's amazing how God speaks to us through others. Thanks, Darrel!

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  4. Dora, I agree that God's timing is not ours. Thanks for your kind compliment.

    Angie, I love Joyce too because she signed me and persevered with me for two years before finding a publisher.

    Sandra, I am happy to share my story in hopes it will buoy up others because so many wonderful people along the way have buoyed me up.

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  5. Great post Mr Nelson! I'm glad I was able to be in your classroom, and proud to be able to read your amazing books now. You are the sole reason why I collect "Soup" books for my kids. I can still hear your different voices as you read to us in Grade 4. I looked forward to those days. Congrats on all your success...keep the books coming.

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    1. Sorry I didn't respond sooner, Mindi. I took your advice and got working re: "keeping the books coming." Sometimes I get so focused on pushing ahead that I forget to check back on my posts. I'm glad you have fond memories of Grade 4. I also have fond memories of you being in my classroom. Hard to believe so much time has past since then. At least we can keep connected through my books. Thanks for your support and encouragement.

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    2. Sorry I didn't respond sooner, Mindi. I took your advice and got working re: "keeping the books coming." Sometimes I get so focused on pushing ahead that I forget to check back on my posts. I'm glad you have fond memories of Grade 4. I also have fond memories of you being in my classroom. Hard to believe so much time has past since then. At least we can keep connected through my books. Thanks for your support and encouragement.

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  6. so nice to hear of your success, Darrel. I thought I recognized your picture and of course your name. Way to go in a very competitive and difficult field. Raymondites everywhere are proud of you.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne. It was nice to hear from you. I appreciate your kind words. You've gone much further afield than I have, but it's nice to know that I can "get out there" with my books. Hope it brought back a little piece of home for you.

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  7. Congratulations, Darrel.
    I think some of us take the writing journey filled with many stop lights and rush hour traffic. Others take the Autobahn. I seemed to have found the one with many stop lights.
    But, as you have described, it is those who continue fueling the tank and pushing the gas pedal who will one day arrive at the publication destination. :)

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    1. You know what else I found? After publication, you start down a brand new road: promoting your book. And to be honest, I have found it to be more challenging than writing the book in the first place! The competition is immense and you are just one of hundreds of new books published each month. You're a grain of sand on a very big beach!

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  8. Darrel, what great inspiration! Thanks for sharing and for your encouragement--just what I (always) need.

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    1. Thanks, Elaine. I hope my comments were helpful. Imagine my surprise, though, when I discovered that writing the book is only half the challenge. Promoting it is the other half, and it is actually an even bigger challenge than writing the book. But it's also the fun part because you get to talk and visit with others and realize you're not writing in a vacuum after all.

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