Stony the Road I Trod 5

For the next two weeks I will be blogging about my self-publishing journey.  Over the past year or so, different people have asked me about the publishing process overall and self-publishing specifically.  The first part of the journey will be titled “Stony the Road I Trod” as it relates to my life as I tried to make heads or tails of publishing a book.

rocky_road.jpg While Freshman Focus was with the prospective agent in 2004, I began writing the sequel.  I had no idea where to begin or how to begin so I just wrote.  It felt good to be back with the four characters as I do see them as four parts of my personality.  Of course, Destiny is more of my “If I was rich and evil” alter ego though.  I only wrote like two chapters and then put it to the side for over a year.

Later on in 2004, I received a letter that my manuscript was passed on by the agent.  And I admit it was a blow to me because she had it for so long that I became optimistic that I had found an agent.  It didn’t crush me or anything, but it did sting my pride and my dreams.

I later found that an associate of mine was starting his own publishing company.  When I first finished writing Freshman Focus, he was kind enough to pass along my query letter to his agent.  So in August 04, I queried this author turned publisher.  He asked me to send the entire book to him and like two or three days later, I got a no.  I remember it was a Sunday because I was headed to church.  Reading his e-mail kind of pissed me off though and I remember sitting in church thinking the nerve of him.   Then I got to talking to a mutual friend who settled my anger. 

After that I got to thinking about Angela Nissell who wrote The Broke Diaries which initially started out as her posts online about being a broke college student.  The book is hilarious!  From that website, she was able to publish The Broke Diaries because her writing caught the eye of an agent or editor.  I forget.  Now Angela is a writer for the TV show Scrubs.

So anyway, I signed up for my own website in 2004.  In hindsight, I should have just created a blog but I didn’t know much about blogs back then.  I wasn’t in the know about Live Journal and MySpace wasn’t around then.  I created the website and posted an excerpt of Freshman Focus on there.  I might not have caught the eye of prospective agents – or maybe I did and they hated it, lol – but I gained some more readers outside of my mother and a few close friends.  So that was cool.

A few weeks later, I joined an online writing group for women where I met several women who were authors, primarily self-published.  On the list, we received sentence starters, words of the day, writing tips and people and places that were looking for submissions.  I participated with the sentence starters and learned tips from the women on the list.

From this list, I learned that Chicken Soup for the African American Woman Soul anthology was looking for non-fiction submissions as well as Gumbo for the Soul, another anthology dedicated to promoting literacy.  I wrote an essay for Gumbo for the Soul that was accepted for publication.  Whoooooo hooooooooo!  I don’t suck after all.

Then I entered Ebony‘s short story contest and wrote a story based on a prompt from my writing group about an abstract cutting edge.  I really liked it, but then I should.  I didn’t win the contest but I still have the story.  Actually I forgot all about it until I started writing this paragraph.

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