Sometimes the publication experience starts with a writer’s skills. For Allison Brennan, romantic suspense author, writing and completing her first novel did not guarantee her success as a writer.
“The first story I wrote had everything, including the kitchen sink…two stalkers, mistaken identity, a rapist, a killer, a cop hero, a security consultant heroine, a former fiancé embezzling money, a violent ex-girlfriend and more. Needless to say, it didn’t sell. But I learned a lot about writing and my own style, and when I started the second book I could already see the improvement” (Brennan).
It wasn’t until Brennan wrote her fifth novel, The Prey, that she finally published her first novel. “It was tighter, better, and more polished than anything I’d written before” (Brennan). In order to get to the state of publication, it took Brennan years of dedication and mastering her craft in order to sign with an agent she felt was “well-established” and could market her book the way she wanted. This is a difficult concept for many writers, especially unpublished ones. Some authors struggle with the idea of being rejected, or simply finding any editor or agent to publish their books, instead of finding the right ones. This often stems from the perception that their work isn’t good enough, and that they should take any offer they can get.
Seeking publication should be about just getting published. It should be about jumpstarting a successful career as an author. If fear of inadequacy or inexperience is holding a writer back, then honing his or her skills, or entering contests, can increase the understanding and experience of the writer’s capabilities. For some authors, like Brennan, the important thing is to always look for improvement and to never give up. “I had five requests for fulls and two partials. I signed with my agent the same day I had another request for a full and a rejection” (Brennan).