Many writers anticipate attending conferences throughout the year. These gatherings offer great opportunities to learn more about the craft of writing, meet agents and editors, and make lifetime friends. For some, like author Annette O’Hare, they even swing open the door to publication. Enjoy! ~ Dawn
My Publishing Journey
I returned from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in 2014 with my first publishing contract and an agent. It’s true. It really can happen, but in the words of the late great, Paul Harvey, now for the rest of the story.
When I finished writing my first novel, Northern Light, I began looking for a publishing house. This part of the writing process can be very frustrating when you learn most publishers won’t consider a manuscript unless it’s been requested at a conference or submitted by an agent. There are, however, a few small publishing houses that accept manuscripts directly from the author, like my publisher, Pelican Book Group.
After a painless online submission process, I received a request for the entire novel! Then came the part every author dislikes…waiting. Sometime later I heard back from the editor informing me that my novel didn’t fit with their line, but I didn’t give up. I negotiated with the editor and she agreed to take a second look after I made some suggested changes. I resubmitted and was then told that my novel was going to committee! Then, once again, I waited.
Fast forward to September 2014. I’m attending the ACFW conference in St. Louis and who’s on the editor list, Pelican Book Group. I requested an appointment and told the editor the whole story. She assured me she would talk to “her people” and get an answer.
That night after the awards gala I packed to go home following an uneventful conference. I checked my e-mail for my flight information and noticed e-mail from the head editor at Pelican offering me a contract for Northern Light. I started crying.
I called my buddy, Janice Thompson, who was still talking to friends after the gala. I tried telling her my news, but she couldn’t understand me through the tears! She told me to come to her ASAP. I pulled on jeans and a t-shirt and rushed downstairs. Boy did I look silly around all the ladies and gents dressed in gala attire!
When I finally got the words out, Janice and everyone around cheered with me. Janice told me later how she originally thought I had lost a loved one! Another friend, Kathleen Y’Barbo, was with us at the time. She asked if I had an agent. No, of course not. Kathleen disappeared and returned with literary agent extraordinaire, Julie Gwinn, who I’ve been represented by ever since.
My publishing journey may sound like a Cinderella story, but I don’t have a fairy godmother or a magic wand. The truth is, publishing is a long process where you find out you don’t know much of anything! And if it were not for the grace of God I never would have made it through.
In a nutshell, that’s how it happened. Northern Light was released in February 2016, and Julie is working hard to sell my next historical romance. I’m currently writing a historical novella, to be included in a collection with two of my agency mates.
Civil War has robbed Margaret Logan of all she holds dear, including her beloved New Orleans home and her fiancé. When her family moves to the desolate Bolivar Peninsula to manage a lighthouse that is no longer there, all her hopes for a normal future are dashed. Her world is rocked once again when a wounded Yankee soldier washes ashore needing her help. Despite her contempt for the North, Margaret falls in love with Thomas Murphy. As their love blooms, Margaret’s sister is overcome with neurosis, and her mind slowly slips away. Bitterness, psychosis and depression yield a decision fueled by contempt. Will one fatal choice cause Margaret to lose the man she loves and condemn Thomas to death?
Annette O’Hare is an inspirational author of historical fiction. She lives close to Houston, Texas with husband, Dan, of thirty years. The O’Hares love saltwater fishing on the Gulf Coast and spending time with family. Annette loves the history and heritage of Texas and that love comes through in her writing. She is a long time member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Writers On The Storm. It is Annette’s genuine desire to reveal God’s love to her readers and hopefully give them a laugh or two. Annette and Dan are proud parents of two Texas A&M graduates, an exceedingly imaginative high school freshman and two rambunctious, loveable rescue dogs.
You can learn more and connect with Annette at these online sites: