by KJ Howe
The publishing industry is a challenging one during the best of times. In this economy, finding a home for our books might parallel climbing Mt. Everest--a true test of nerves, an endurance event including the risk of life and limb, and a feat to truly admire. Today I'd like to welcome someone who has recently reached the summit! A warm welcome to Gabi Stevens who will tell her tale on the rocky path to publication:
Three weeks ago, my new agent sold my new paranormal series, Time of Transition, to Tor. The first book, THE WISH LIST, is due on bookshelves May 2010. I'd had publishing success in the past, but my career stalled when an editor left my publishing house. Despite having an agent, despite contest wins, good reviews, and a burning desire to succeed, my writing career was going nowhere. And then, as an added insult, I had to get a day job to pay tuitions for twins (yes, I know I was lucky before). When the first two years passed without any nibbles, I thought it was a fluke, but as the drought continued, it became harder and harder to keep going, to keep writing, not to quit. I started doubting my abilities, believing that I didn't have what it takes, that I'd never have another book published. I tried switching genres, switching critique groups, and going through many, many months of utter despair. So why didn't I quit? Here are...
The Top Ten Reasons I am Still in the Game:
10. I already owned the equipment — Computer...check; research books…check; paper...check. Are you kidding? I buy my paper by the case at my favorite office superstore.
9. The lovely fellow writers I have gotten to know over the years — They are a support group. They wouldn’t let me quit. They "get" me.
8. I couldn't turn off the voices in my head — If you're a writer, you know what I mean. Too many characters were demanding life, and every time I considered leaving them behind, they'd protest.
7. Nothing feels as good as typing "The End" — It’s a sense of accomplishment when you've finished a novel. And now I have three completed novels and three proposals that I can regale my agent with.
6. Time means nothing — Time exists, but the way we measure it is arbitrary. Why do we have a twenty-four hour day with sixty minute hours made up of sixty second minutes (I know, I know, the Babylonians)? I read a book once where the calendar was kept with a deck of cards. (Think about it: fifty-two weeks in a year, fifty-two cards in a deck; four suits times thirteen cards equals fifty two, and you have jokers for leap years.) And age is just a number. In my head I will forever be twenty. Only wiser than when I was actually twenty.
5. The importance of teaching my children that having a dream and pursuing it is (almost) as important as succeeding.
4. It's just cool to say you're a writer — the Muggle world...I mean the non-writing world...doesn’t "get" it anyway, but they're impressed.
3. I needed an excuse to keep my book buying habits — I read a lot. Too much. No, really. When I run out of books, I read my husband's robotics journals. I don't understand them, but I read them. I have no TBR pile. Actually I do right now, but it's only three books. Check back in a week.
2. I enjoy it — Yes, writing is hard, yes, it can be frustrating, but I like to play with language and words. I like looking up grammar rules and definitions. Diagramming sentences should be required for all students. It's fun.
And the number one reason I haven’t quit…
Yup. My prime motivator was not being able to face my family and friends. I couldn't tell them I failed. I try not to care about what others think about me, but this was different. I couldn't quit because I felt I made a liar of myself and disappointed those who believed in me. I wanted to be able to hold my head up, and I couldn’t have done that if I had quit. (Hey, this is about my reasons for not quitting.)
Wiser men than I have written about persistence, so I leave you with these words from Isaac Asimov: If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success—but only if you persist.
Thanks for sharing your story, Gabi. Your perseverence is inspiring and I can't wait to read your novels! If you're a writer, what are you willing to sacrifice to make your dreams come true? If you're a reader, do you like hearing "CALL" stories about your favorite authors? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Gabi Stevens was born in California to Hungarian parents. They never understood how she could make up stories and entertain herself for hours at a time. She must not have understood that she was a storyteller either because she waited until her twins turned one and she feared her brain was turning into mush to write her first book.
An award winning author, Gabi now lives and writes in New Mexico where she lives with her robotics engineer husband, three daughters, and a neurotic dog. She loves to play games, has a wicked addiction to reading, and avoids housework and cooking whenever she can. She is the author of a new paranormal series, The Time of Transition, from Tor. The first book, The Wish List, appears in stores May 2010. You can follow her blog at http://www.gabistevens.blogspot.com/.
A special congrats to Bandita Donna MacMeans who is going to be up on stage tonight at the RT conference in Orlando accepting a special award. We're cheering you on, Donna! KJ