Friday, March 21, 2008
Guest Blogger Susan Macatee
Today our guest blogger is Susan Macatee. I met Susan during a contest. I read and loved her enchanting story, Erin’s Rebel. I was so disappointed when she didn’t final but Susan just dusted herself off and moved on to the next phase of her writing career. When I found out she’d been picked up by The Wild Rose Press, I was thrilled and asked her to please share with us her journey from contests to publication. So put your fingers to the keyboard and welcome Susan Macatee!
Believe In Your Story
First off, Anitra, I'd like to thank you for inviting me to talk about my book sale on your lovely blog.
I signed the contract for my full-length Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel, on February 7th with The Wild Rose Press. And this just after I'd sold them a short vampire story, Eternity Waits, also set during the American Civil War, in December.
I first started submitting Erin's Rebel five years ago. I wrote the story after completing my young adult historical, Under the Guns. I'd written UTG in a writer's workshop under the guidance of two published authors. Erin's Rebel was the first book I'd written entirely on my own. I didn't join RWA until after I'd completed the manuscript.
At the time I began submitting ER, I was also entering the opening chapters and synopsis in RWA's many chapter contests. Although I had a couple of initial wins, the judge's comments I was getting made me realize I had a lot of work to do to make this story marketable. I dove into RWA and other on-line workshops and learned all I could. I decided ER needed a major revision if I was ever going to sell it.
I started at plot level. I'd written the story by the seat of my pants and, since I'd taken workshops on plotting, I went back and re-plotted the story, then discarded half the manuscript, because it no longer fit the new plot. I moved chapters around and wrote a whole lot of new material. After this major revision, I tried a few more contests, but couldn't win or final to save my life. I always seemed to get one judge who loved it and one who hated everything about it. In one contest, I had a judge give me a perfect score, while another one treated me like an amateur and seemed to hate everything about the story. After that I stopped entering it in contests, although I still have that perfect score sheet.
I also consider myself lucky to have found a great critique group. They're all members of my group blog, Slip Into Something Victorian. They helped me through all the negative judges' comments and the 'thanks but no thanks' rejections I was getting from publishers. My latest rejection was just last fall after I'd gotten a request for the full. This happened after I'd added material to make the publisher's minimum word count. When I decided to submit to The Wild Rose Press, I realized it was now too long, so I had to cut 20 pages before querying.
But now after a five year wait, everyone will be able to read Erin and Will's story and I am thrilled.
Thanks again, Anitra, for letting me share my story of perseverance. And for all of you out there, if you love your story, never give up on it. Do whatever you have to do to make it the best story ever and you, too, will find that editor who loves it as much as you.
For more on me and my books visit my website: www.susanmacatee.com