My third book was published by Harold Shaw Publishers which immediately got purchased by Random House. I pitched them at a conference and sold that manuscript all by myself. That book caught the attention of an agent who sold a series of four books a few years later.
I wish I could tell you that I became rich and famous, but I’d be lying. When Gary and I got married in Atlanta my editor said that Random House would be paying for our first meal. I have to admit to feeling like a best-selling author when we walked into the intimate and expensive antebellum mansion and the maître de said in a hushed ton reserved for expensive restaurants and funeral homes, “Follow me. Random House will be paying for your meal this evening.
It was a lovely meal, but the book never paid out its advance because I learned that many, or even most publishers, really count on the author to do the lion’s share of the marketing.
My mother was less impressed when I sent her a copy of my book. She wanted to know when I was going to write an actual book. There was a cover, a bunch of pages, words written in an organized fashion, and my name was on said cover. Why wasn’t that a book?
She insisted that a real book was in an airport window or at least on the shelf. I have to admit to being a bit miffed at her answer, but that is the perception from many people about being a writer.
I’ve written eleven books out and they are all non-fiction. My first book was self-published and did extremely well. The books from recognized publishers were not nearly as successful. But here’s the deal. I’ve made more money selling articles, devotionals, and web content than I’ll probably ever make selling books.
My mother had eight children so she never had time to read a book. But she’d lock herself in the bathroom with her beloved Reader’s Digest, Guideposts, and Woman’s World. She loved the humor, the information, the interviews, the everything. She read them cover to cover and sometimes she’d read the again. The day I brought home the issue of Guideposts with my story inside was the day I became a writer in her eyes.
The West Coast Christian Writers Conference is happening in October and I want to urge people to sign up now. There are workshops for those who want to learn about the craft of writing, specific ones for non-fiction such as writing devotionals how to pitch your work to mainstream magazines. You’ll learn about queries and cover letters and how to make your writing shoot to the top of the to be published piles on the editor’s desk.
Speaking of editors, you’ll meet some and make great connections. You’ll be able to pitch stories and get feedback. And remember that whole pesky marketing topic most authors hate? You’ll have workshops about marketing that might make you not quite as scared.
My mom has since passed away leaving her love of Reader’s Digest and Guideposts to me. I’ll admit to not being a fan of Woman’s World, but 1.6 million subscribers read it from cover to cover each week.
Earlier this year I did a blog tour for my current book. The woman who organized it fell in love with my own personal rescue dog story. She asked if she could pitch it Woman’s World. Of course I said yes. We sent. Off email after email with questions and answers and she finally shaped it into seven hundred words. Today my rescue dog and I are going to do a photo shoot. One reason is for the back cover photo for the second book in the series, but the real reason is because once upon a time a writer went to a conference to learn about how to pitch to national magazines.
My story will be featured at the end of August in Woman’s World Magazine! Let’s go back to numbers. My story will create awareness about me, my book, my website, my rescue dog social media site, and the topic of rescue dogs to over 1.6 million readers.
I can’t promise you that you’ll have a story featured in a major magazine, but if your goal is to reach people with your writing, then the non-fiction workshops and connections will help.