Lessons in Becoming a Published Author
I'm delighted to welcome back author Hannah Carmona Dias to my blog today. She's written me the best, most honest article outlining exactly what she's learned so far during her journey to publication. Take it away, Hannah!
My Experience and What I’ve Learned
When I finally hung up the phone with my publisher it felt like the most surreal moment of my life. Was that really an offer of publication? Was I really about to be an author? I was hiding in my car while the hubby kept the kids entertained upstairs. So no one was there to witness my initial squeal (okay scream) of joy when I realized the answer was YES! What a journey it had been leading up to this moment…
LESSON 1- Shelving the Book Before I Completely Lost My Love For It:
I had been querying this specific picture book for a year. Initially I entered it into a competition which I did not win, and after that I queried to a long list of agents (and I mean looooooong!)—all responding with a resounding NO! Frustration was taking over, so I set the book aside and finally decided to move on.
LESSON 2- Twitter Is Awesome!
Then one day while I was on the toilet scrolling through Twitter (classy I know) I saw a pitch contest where writers had the opportunity to pitch their book directly to agents and publishers. I had entered these before with no luck, but knew many success stories that came from Twitter pitch contests so on a whim I entered.
Four hours later it happened… A request! And not just one, but three. I was over the moon!
LESSON 3- When Lesson 1 Works:
It seemed that the combination of setting the book aside and the hype from the Twitter pitch contest was the exact motivation that I needed, to query again. That week, full of passion for what I had written, I sent dozens of queries out for a manuscript that had been shelved almost two months.
LESSON 4- Calling Out Shady People:
I finally received my first contact with what seemed to be a reputable publishing company, however there were some shady things in their contract. I knew that if I brought it up I may jeopardize my chances with this publisher. However, I went with my gut and asked… They called the next day saying they were no longer interested. In the moment I was devastated, however now I look back and know that it was the right call. If you are an un-agented writer always lean towards caution. Don’t let the excitement of seeing your book in print overcome your gut.
LESSON 5- Finding the Right Fit:
I then got an offer from a fabulous micro press. We had actually just begun the publication process when I received another offer. Wait—I know what you’re thinking— “But Hannah! How rude! Why were you still querying in the first place?” This wonderful micro press took on my book with the disclaimer that if I were to receive an offer from a larger press I should jump on it. They in fact encouraged me to submit to other publishers before locking myself into a contract with them. When I told the press my news of an offer they were ecstatic and nothing but supportive. I had found the perfect fit for my book!
LESSON 6- What Happens After the Book Deal
I’m lucky to have found my book baby a home with the small yet might company, Eifrig Publishing. They share my vision for the book, are in constant communication, and provide an encouraging support system of authors. I’m now in a new phase I didn’t know existed. One where I am suddenly not just a writer, but a “business” person. When I thought of being a traditionally published author I underestimated the ongoing hustle that you must still have for yourself and your book.
LESSON 7: Sometimes Cliche Advice Is Right
Not everyone’s journey is the same and there are many paths to publication. There I said it, but it’s true!!!!!!!!! (Did all my exclamation marks convince you?) So I leave you with this: be kind to yourself and stock up on coffee and chocolate. You got this!
Hannah Carmona Dias is a Writer who currently resides in Tennessee. Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me is her debut book which tackles a topic she herself has struggled with. In addition to writing Hannah is also a wife, mother, founder of Collective Art School of Tennessee, YouTuber, and actress. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and two cats, dog, and iguana. She also enjoys binge-watching shows on Netflix, posting way too many GIFs on Twitter, and avoiding housework.
Dark skin, curly hair, freckles, and full lips. Smart, strong, funny, and friendly. Lilly knows that she does not look like her friends, and others have noticed. Through playful, lyrical lines, Lilly speaks up for every child who has been asked "What are you?" in this celebration of self-love and acceptance.
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