Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Warrior Wednesday: Tales from the Unpubbed - Joanna St. James
The new year is here, and with it comes new dreams, expectations and the chance to build our arsenal of tools for the ultimate fight: getting published.
No, I'm not asking you to go all G.I. Jane, but it's a basic story we can learn from. Don't give up, and don't let anyone tell you you can't.
I'm starting a new segment on Wednesdays to honor my fellow battle-scarred warriors and to share a few tales from the frontlines. Tales from the Unpubbed is about the unpublished author's experiences and hopefully will encourage other warriors to keep up the good fight.
So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce my first guest - Ms. Joanna St. James...
You know one thing I have learned in my little while here on earth is that every individual is stressed out just up to their maximum limit. One other thing I have learned since I started blogging, is that it is always good to be able to share your experiences with people who understand you. So when Melinda told me about this series I jumped at it mainly because, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to let other writers know that there are loads of us in the same boat as you.
Amongst other books I read the complete works of Shakespeare when I was eight years old (I did not understand the olde english but I read it anyway) so you see my love for books started before I can remember. It also did not help that I had a dad who inspired me to reach for the stars - he encouraged me to write when I was a kid but I said I would whenever I became ready after all 'how hard can writing be?' - I now like to refer to this as my ego induced haze.
This haze/era lasted till I became an adult and had a baby two years ago, I felt empowered by the birth of my son and my shiny new and hard earned masters degree so I picked up a notepad and a pen and started to write.
I did no homework, all I knew was that I was going to write for harlequin and they would love me, and then it all started to go wrong; my story could only go as far as 5k words (I eventually reached 7.5k), I looked at the harlequin website and the only line I could submit my word count to was Spice Briefs so I sent my plotless and sweet story to Spice Briefs and even had the nerve to get huffy when they told me they would get back to me between 2-4 months - I got rejected six weeks later.
Of Course I was not well equipped to handle a rejection so I went into hiding for another 2 years, I did not write but at least I did my research, read articles and anything I could get my hands on till June 2010. In May my family moved to Corsica and I decided I was going to follow my dreams, I quit my job and decided to stay home with my kidlet and write. In two months I completed two first drafts and then on August 2nd I heard the HMB medical line was offering a fast track to newbie writers like me, so I jumped on that train and now have a requested partial in that office with my fingers crossed.
My rejection count to date is 2 rejection letters (I hope it stays that way because my writer's skin is still kinda tender) During the day I spend time with my toddler and you bloggers, then I write in the dead of the night when everyone has gone to bed usually from 12-3 or 4am, I wake up at 9am or earlier sometimes and start the day over again.
I know my life as a writer might sound tame compared to some of you but believe you me, that is about all I can handle. Does anything about my life resonate with yours? and of course I love hearing advice on ways to get pubbed.
Thanks for having me Melinda.
Thank you for being here Joanna!! To follow Joanna on her path to publication, click here.
Stay tuned next Wednesday for yet another special guest and more war stories.