Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Journey to Publication by Karla Akins

Karla Akins
A couple weeks ago, Karla Akins shared her heartbreak over her son's arrest and encouraged us to weather the storms with her adapted poem, Write Anyway. Today, she's back sharing her journey to publication. Hope you enjoy! ~Dora

I’ve been writing since I held a piece of chalk in each hand.

As a young child I was ambidextrous until I gradually adopted my left hand as the one to hold my pencil. I have a bump on my middle finger where I used to grip the pen far too tight. I don’t think many people see those writing bumps on kids today. They come out of the womb typing.

I wrote reams of poetry in fifth grade. That same year I entered an essay contest and placed second in the county. (The boy who sat behind me won first.) In Junior High I wrote a poem and entered it in a radio show’s “Win a Tie for Your Dad” contest. I woke up one morning and heard my name and my poem. In high school I wrote a three-act musical and my drama teacher took all us corn-fed Kansas kids to NYC to perform it at a theater convention. I was sure I was headed for the big time.

God had other plans.

I met a handsome minister and got married. While my children were small I took the mail order Writing for Children and Teenagers course through the Institute of Children’s Literature and finished it. I wrote for anything that needed copy: organizational newsletters, magazines, church letters and local newspapers. Writing has always been as much a part of me as my crooked little toe. I wrote for bigger magazines and got rejection after rejection. But I’m a stubborn soul and believed that I was called to do this writing thing and refused to quit.

After my children were mostly grown, I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2003. After a year or two of participating in NaNoWriMo, I stumbled across a call for stories by a homeschool curriculum company. That led me to write several narrative biographies to be included in compilations. A few years after those were published, the publisher asked me to write a book about Canada.

Simultaneously I was introduced to some writers online, and learned about ACFW. I was also introduced to my current online critique group where my writing got a thorough working over. I learned more in one year of participating in the critique group than I did in all my years of writing combined. I can’t stress enough how important finding a critique group is!

I didn’t have to search far for an agent. One of our critique group members became an agent at Hartline Literary Agency where she was already working. Linda Glaz became my agent and sold my book to Pelican Book Group’s Harbourlight imprint. My current book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots is due out tomorrow!

If I were going to give advice to new writers today, it is this: don’t quit. No matter how many years stand between you and publication, if you don’t quit, you will be published as long as you remain teachable and apply the things you’re taught.  

So tell me, how did you get started? I’d love to know!!

The Pastor's Wife Wears
Biker Boots
Purchase Link
Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. 

Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. 

Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.

Karla Akins is a pastor's wife who rides her own motorcycle. She is the mother of four boys and one step-daughter, and grandmother of five. She lives in North Manchester with her husband who is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, her twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. Karla and her husband have been in ministry together for 30 years. You can contact Karla for speaking engagements via her website at