Every author I know finds his/her way into the publishing business in a different manor. My journey began with just about every mistake in the book. Believe it or not, I’m a Home Ec teacher, back when they had such things, with a major in Chemistry not English. I hated English and my college English teachers deplored my misuse of the language. I never earned more than a ‘C’ in any of my English classes. My dream was to be a test cook for one of the big companies like Betty Crocker, but I didn’t want to move far from my home. I was never offered a job so I settled on teaching.
How on earth did I end up writing historical romance novels? I love history and a story with a happy ending. It started when I was very young. One afternoon, my paternal grandfather gathered all of his grandchildren into his study and began the story of his life. My father was just as good at telling stories, about our English relatives, about the Irish descendants and how they came to this country. My mother got into the act, talking about her Welsh family and the glass blowing industry that brought them to the US. So, you see, I was immersed in history from an early age. Even then, my favorite pastime was reading, the kind of books with a happy ending. So the dye was cast. History with a happy ending.
But teaching, marriage and children all came first. I didn’t start to write novels until my children were teenagers. They was too much to do and of course, I wasn’t about to sacrifice my reading time.
Once my youngest was in high school, I thought why not, and I started a historical romance about a town in South Carolina which had just been named sister city to a town close to my birthplace.
I wrote a 600 page manuscript which I immediately sent off to the ‘President’ of a major publishing company and the only mistake I didn’t make was sending the book to a company that published romances. The book was rejected and returned, at their expense because I didn’t know I was supposed to send money to return the book. However, the rejection was beautiful, if such a thing is possible. The president was encouraging and told me to keep writing even though they couldn’t use the book.
The next two years were filled with anguish. I bought how to books, enrolled in a writing class, took a mail order class, and learned the business. I investigated companies, organizations, visited book stores, and spent time rewriting that manuscript, all the while submitting my novel proposal and being rejected over and over again.
I don’t think a selling author will ever forget the day they find out their baby finally has a home. I know I never will. I was offered a three book contract with the first sale. Talk about elation. It was fabulous. But my learning wasn’t finished. After four books, I found I couldn’t sell a thing. It seems I still had a great deal more to learn. Finally, after seven long years, things began to click and I started selling my work.
I’m still learning. That’s the glorious thing about writing. You are never too old to learn more. So, yes, I still read how-to’s, visit book stores, investigate places online, learn as much as I can about the digital market and publishers who are garnering success in the world of the ‘net’. I write because I have to write, writing fictional stories about characters who lived at a different time but always with a happy ending. But I sell what I write because I’ve taken the time to learn — to write, the industry, the market and the kind of readers who like my kind of books.
Writing is a job, and like any other job, if you want to be good, you have to learn how to do it well, and that means all of it, just not splashing words onto a computer screen. After all the old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ still applies.
* * * * *
Award winning author, Allison Knight claims she’s married to the world’s greatest husband because he’s her greatest supporter and works with her on all her projects. The mother of four children, she retired from teaching to move south to warmer climes. She has written and published nineteen romances for both paperback and digital publishers. Her third medieval romance from her ‘song’ series and a short story are available from Champagne Books, Inc.
Because she can never quite step out of teaching mode, she blogs often sharing the knowledge she gained writing and publishing in the romance genre. She also loves to talk about the growing digital market.
You can find her at: