I have a very informative and eye-opening guest post by author Karen Randau about her publishing journey.
The Hard Part About Getting Published
By Karen Randau
The most difficult thing about getting Deadly Deceit published through Short on Time Books was the part leading up to writing it.
I’ve been writing ever since an elementary school teacher showed me how to print my name and a few short sentences. I processed life events by writing about them. If my older sister hurt my feelings, I wrote about it. When my first boyfriend kissed another girl, I wrote about it. When my mom divorced my dad, well … you get the picture.
I’m a writer.
English was my favorite subject in school. I got a degree in journalism, and it only took one newspaper assignment to realize that journalistic writing wasn’t my cup of tea. I got a job in marketing communications and found my life’s purpose through an international relief and development organization that helps the world’s most vulnerable people to overcome extreme poverty. Better yet, they let me write about it!
I know all about sentence structure, and I always answer the questions of who, what, where, why, and how. I avoid passive sentences like the plague, use power words in my sales copy, and try to understand what motivates my reader.
Novel writing draws on those skills, but writing a mystery novel is different.
When you write a mystery novel, you have to think about structure, plot, character development, character arc, and that most troubling of novel writing techniques called point of view. You have to have conflict (and oh how I hate conflict!), major plot twists, clues that don’t give away the story, and red herrings that don’t lie to your reader. And all of those things have to be placed at just the right spot.
My first attempt at writing a novel was a disaster. I, of course, thought it was a masterpiece and submitted it to a publisher after spending a whole two months writing it – a lifetime compared to what I was used to.
After I read the book on point of view that the publisher recommended, I chose a main character, and rewrote the manuscript. Then I sent it to a professional editor, who sent me her class notes on mystery structure. So I rewrote the manuscript again. I sent it to a different editor, who showed me how to avoid bogging down the action. So I rewrote the manuscript again. I went to novel writing seminars and conventions, pitched my manuscript, listened to constructive feedback from absolutely everyone who read the manuscript, changed my characters, and rewrote the manuscript again.
By the time I had rewritten the manuscript five times, it was destroyed.
I started over on a new story that incorporated everything I had learned with my practice novel. It took three years to learn how to write a novel, followed by six months to write to a publishable manuscript. I only asked subject experts to read the Deadly Deceit manuscript. I already knew I had learned how to write.
When my subject experts offered advice, I considered it but made wise decisions about what to change and what not to change. When I was happy with it, I sent it to a small publisher of books like mine, who accepted it.
To me, the hardest part about getting a novel published was the discipline it takes to learn how to do it right, research publishers that might be interested in my kind of story, and find the courage to put myself out there by submitting it for publication. Conquering those challenges required determination, commitment, and the stamina to keep trying.
by Karen Randau
A cocoon of naiveté shatters on Rita Warren’s thirtieth wedding anniversary, when a terrorist murders her ex-Marine husband Jared and thirteen other movie goers. Ensnarled in a cover-up that puts her in an assassin’s crosshairs, Rita must unravel a web of lies and connections that date back to Jared’s service in the Iraq war – before a mysterious kidnapper returns Rita’s daughter Zoe one body part at a time. This fast-paced story is one you won’t want to put down from beginning to end.
Through a stunned haze, I saw him look down at me and disappear. He returned with Zoe over his shoulder and rushed down the hill toward a black pickup parked on a narrow side road.
At last, I gulped in air and jumped to my feet. I remembered my gun, and pulled it from my purse. While running toward him, I forced a bullet into the chamber and fired. Missed. I continued running until he turned Zoe toward me, and I lowered my gun. He dropped her into the bed of the truck, slipped a gun from under his shirt and pointed it at me.
“Take the antiquities certificates to the same park bench. No tricks this time. You have until noon tomorrow.”
“I’ll do whatever you want, but please don’t take my daughter. She needs a doctor. Take me instead if you think you need a hostage.”
Gunfire cracked behind me, and the man grabbed his left arm. Blood oozed from between his fingers. “If I see any cops, I’ll kill her. Then come after you.” He slid behind the steering wheel, and I turned to see Cliff at the top of the hill, his gun by his side.
I ran toward the dust stirred up by the truck as it sped away and shouted into the wind. “This is about my necklace?”
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