Friday, November 18, 2011

How I Captured the Illusive Ship of Publishing by MaryLu Tyndall

As you travel on your writing journey, do you search for answers that will help you reach your dream destination? It could be getting your first contract, a multi-book contract, or maybe some type of intangible reward. Many authors, agents, and editors offer helpful tips to being a successful writer in the market. But, there are other things important to our success that shouldn’t be ignored. Enjoy as author MaryLu Tyndall shares her personal journey to publication. ~ Dawn

How I Captured the Illusive Ship of Publishing
by MaryLu Tyndall

I’m currently writing my 11th novel.  Wow! Did I say 11? That fact is still as shocking to me as the first time I got “that call” from my agent, telling me that I received a contract on my first book. Every contract I’ve received after that has been just as exciting. God has been good to me. But, now that I’ve been in the business awhile, I often get asked, how did I get published? What is my advice for writers trying to capture that illusive ship of publishing?  

If you’re a writer who’s been at it for quite some time, you’ve probably heard a multitude of answers such as: study the craft, join an online writers group, get in a critique group, attend conferences, enter contests, take classes, create a platform, blog, website...etc.  So I won’t bore you with all of that again. All those things are good and valuable and are definitely things that can help you as an aspiring writer. Having said that, however, I should tell you I did very few of those things before I got my first contract. 

In fact, I hadn’t written in years when I heard God tell me to write a novel about a Christian pirate. Yes, I know…I thought I was hearing things too!  At the time, I worked full time and had a husband and six kids to care for, but I obeyed. I wrote on weekends, evenings and on my lunch breaks, never really believing anything would come of it. After all, I didn’t know a thing about writing. I had no formal training, no creative writing classes, wasn’t on any loops, didn’t belong to a critique group, and had never attended a conference. I did, however, gather all the writing books around me I could and studied the craft. 

And guess what? Within three months of completing my first full length manuscript, I got an agent and within two months after he sent it out, I received a contract, not just for the one story, but for two more books as well.  It was a miracle! And I give God all the glory. Boy, am I glad I obeyed Him! So, how did I do it? Especially when I wrote that story with no specific plot in mind, no preconceived set of rules, no website, blog, platform, and no expectations of it ever being published, let alone have it get nominated for a Christy! 

I’ve often found the best answers are the simplest. The ones that cut through all the rules and requirements and hit at the heart of the matter.  So, here are the most important things I did when writing that break through novel:

  1. God was in control. From the very beginning, my pirate series was initiated by Him and as I wrote it, I wrote it for Him. Make sure that’s true in your case.
  2.  I wrote my passion. I LOVED these pirate stories! I couldn’t wait to steal a few minutes away from my day to write. If I knew I would never get published, I would have still written them. Can you say the same? If not, maybe you need to pray and ask God what you should be writing and then write that story burning on your heart. 

This is how I wrote The Redemption.  If it worked for me, perhaps it will work for you too!

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her swashbuckling historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ.

To find out more about MaryLu and her books, please visit:


  1. I think you have hit upon the key to writing successful inspirational fiction, MaryLu, and that is to be divinely inspired. And if God gives you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4), then to write about those things you love and are passionate about, makes it a truly "divine partnership." Something that carries with it the kind of satisfaction worldly things can't even come close to. Not to mention how many readers end up being ignited by that same inspiration along the way. What a deal. I'm so glad you were brave enough to trust Him with your words!

  2. Thank you, Lilly! I love what you said about a "divine partnership". I never looked at it that way, but how humbling and awesome that is!
    After 11 books, I still have to fight to get back to the basics of Who I am writing for and why. :-)


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