If you get anything from my journey to publication, I hope it’s simply that persistence pays off.

You may be surprised to hear mine isn’t an overnight success story! 

Seriously though, to many of my friends who didn’t know about my writing (I’ve always kept it really quiet) it does seem as though I had only to finish my manuscript and pick which publisher I liked the look of most. So here’s what actually happened: 

After I finished my manuscript, which took just under a year, I attended a nearby author event where award winning author, Cynthia Rogerson, critiqued the first few chapters of my novel. The end result of this experience was a major rewrite, which took around 4 months. After that, I started sending my reworked manuscript out to agencies, ambitiously starting with the bigger ones. I did get a few personalised rejections and encouraging comments. But no agents.

After about a year, I decided to do something differently. I started to write short stories in the hope of getting some publishing credits to add to my submissions. I also started building an online author platform, starting with Instagram. Both of these ventures worked out better than I had ever hoped for. A year later I had over 1,000 Instagram followers and six published short stories to my name. 

The other thing that happened around this time was that the Instagram writing community introduced me to an avenue to publication I had previously been unaware of – small press publishers. Eventually, Rainy Day Reads Publishing popped up on my feed and I decided to try submitting my novel to them. The very next morning, there was a request in my inbox for the full manuscript. I got very excited. The next 10 days or so until I heard their decision were I think the longest of my life!  However, I eventually got the ‘yes’. My hubby bought me a bottle of champagne to celebrate and I’ve been hard at work ever since! 

If you get anything from my journey to publication, I hope it’s simply that persistence pays off. 

Excerpt from Victoria’s Victorian Victory
Ma guessed something was wrong as soon as Sam and Vicky walked into the yard.
“What’s happened to the cart, Vicky?”
“I drove it into a ditch. I’m really sorry Ma.”
“Is it broken?”
“The front wheel. Drew and Tommy are fetching the wheelwright.”
“Sounds expensive.” She spoke lightly but Sam seemed to think he should go.
“I’ll be gettin’ back to work then.”
“See you later, Sam.” They both watched him walk away. Regretfully, on Vicky’s side. Not on Ma’s. His presence was holding her back.
“Vicky, how could you be so careless? You know we have no spare money just now.”
“I’m sorry.”
“‘Sorry’ isn’t going to mend the cart or pay the rent! I’m assuming we now have a choice between the two?”
Vicky nodded.
“Perfect. A farm with no cart, or a cart with no farm? It’s my fault. I should never have let you try and run things. What was I thinking?”
Her voice broke up and she hurried inside. Vicky went and sat inside the stable with Dolly.
Vicky’s Diary 
Dear Diary,
Ma made it sound like we have a choice, but we don’t really. If we don’t have the cart mended then we will lose Mr Haddow’s business and a sizeable chunk of our income. We simply can’t let that happen. But how can we pay the rent in the meantime? It’s due on Thursday. I feel so, so bad. But being sorry doesn’t help. I need to sort this. But how?

About Abigail Shepherd

Abigail Shepherd is the 29-year-old author of teen historical fiction novel Victoria’s Victorian Victory. Her other work has most recently been published by The Flash Fiction Press, and Mystery Weekly, and she has a regency romance series, Ask Me No Secrets, on channillo.com. She’s hoping her upcoming novel will encourage teenage girls to think about their futures, set goals for themselves, and insist on being treated with the respect they deserve. Her hobbies include fishing, napping, and drinking exceptionally good wine. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @abiwriting and blogs at bewritingblog.wordpress.com

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