Author Guest Post
My Journey to Publication: What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been by LS Hawker
I got my first rejection slip when I was 14.
I wrote a short story that my freshman high school English teacher thought was brilliant. She told me I should try to get it published, so I chose the highest-paying magazine to send it to, and eagerly awaited their inevitable yes.
Oddly enough, Playboy Magazine politely declined to publish my story.
I've always aimed high.
I wrote my first novel that same year, and it was awful. Of course it was—I was 14. Then I took some writer's workshops in college and wrote another one, which was better, but I stuck it in a drawer and told myself, Someday I'm going to try to get this published.
Life went on. I graduated from college, worked in radio and magazine, and then got married. I told my shiny new husband about the manuscript in my drawer and he challenged me to take it out, polish it up, and send it off. So I did. The first place I sent it was the Delacorte Press First YA Novel contest. It finaled, and I made a great contact at Delacorte who gave me names and addresses of editors to send it to. I spent the next two years sending it around to those editors, and got dozens of encouraging handwritten rejections.
But I got discouraged. By this time, I had a toddler, and I didn't have the time or energy to write. So I didn't for six years, during which time I had another baby.
Then 9/11 happened. I sat out on our deck the next day, staring up at the silent, planeless skies weeping, and thought, What if this is it? What if the end is here? What if I never accomplished my heart's deepest desire?
The day after that, I started writing again. I wrote a novel called Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, and everybody loved it. My writers critique group. My friends and family. It won first place in the Pikes Peak Writers Paul Gillette Memorial contest. It finaled in several other contests and made it to the quarter finals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I thought, This is it. It's going to happen now!
It didn't. I pitched it, queried it, changed it, prayed over it. But it wasn't quite right. I have more than 100 rejections on that bad boy. By this time, I'd been in the same critique group for ten years, but the personnel had completely turned over except for me. This new group of writers was determined to get published—they went to seminars and workshops, retreats and conferences, and they dragged me along with them. In 2013, I started a brand-new novel, which was called Deep Forbidden Lake. I pitched it at the 2014 Pikes Peak Writers Conference to Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency.
She loved the concept and asked to see the full manuscript, which I sent to her two months later. Then…crickets. Nothing.
By this time, I was a grizzled veteran of the literary wars, so I wasn't too upset or surprised about it. I knew it takes a long time to get to yes. In the meantime, a well-known and respected small press asked me to make some changes and they'd consider publishing it. I was overjoyed. But like most small presses, they were understaffed and overworked, and it took many months to get back to me. An offer was imminent, they assured me. But when?
On Super Bowl Sunday 2015, I received an email from Michelle Johnson, asking if I'd be willing to take a phone call. I figured there was only one reason she'd want to talk on the phone on a Sunday—Super Bowl Sunday, no less. So I emailed in the affirmative and she called and offered me representation.
This was one of the happiest moments of my life, but there was still work to do. I told her about the small press, and she said, "We need to get it out to the big five before they come through with an offer so we have some bargaining power." She asked me to make some minor changes, and I stayed up all night making them before returning it to her. She submitted it to the big five and a few others by Tuesday.
Well, folks, my brilliant agent sold my manuscript (eventually renamed THE DROWNING GAME) within fifty days, in a three-book deal to HarperCollins.
This ride has been everything I'd dreamed of and more. I didn't expect for my very first published book to become a USA Today bestseller, or for my second book, BODY AND BONE, to be headed in the same direction.
For all the doom and gloom that writers hear about how difficult it is to get published (it is) and how unlikely your book is to sell once it is published (ditto), it is possible that your wildest dreams can be realized. I am living proof of that.
So the question is: is my book better than yours? Maybe. Am I luckier than most people? Probably. But more than talent or luck, persistence has been the key that finally unlocked that illusive door. The more "no"s you collect, the closer you get to "yes."
And it only takes one yes.
About The Author
L.S. Hawker grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.
Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.
She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland.
Body And Bone by L.S. Hawker
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: eBook - May 3, 2016 / Paperback - June 14, 2016
Format: Paperback - 320 pages
Kindle - 1229 KB
Nook - 814 KB
ISBN: 978-0062435217ASIN: B010LU8W2Q
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Psychological Thriller
Buy The Book:
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.
He wants to destroy her reputation.
He wants to destroy her life.
He wants to destroy…her.
Nessa Donati used to be a happily married mother with a successful music blog and satellite radio show. But that was before her husband John relapsed on drugs and went missing. That was before he was presumed dead. And before she was framed for his murder.
When a commenter on Nessa’s blog starts harassing her online, Nessa shrugs it off. Trolls are a part of internet life. But eventually the troll begins threatening her safety and releasing personal details… details only her husband would know.
As Nessa’s life is dismantled piece by piece, her only option is to find John and put a stop to the lies. But when their son becomes a pawn in his twisted game, she must face a disturbing truth: Maybe John isn’t tormenting her, after all. But if he’s not…who is? And how far will this monster go to exact revenge?
My Book Review:
In Body And Bone, author L.S. Hawker weaves a chilling psychological thriller that follows the harrowing tale of cyber-stalking and bullying that turns successful music blogger and satellite radio show host Nessa Donati's life upside down.
Body And Bone is a riveting and intense story that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, addictions, murder, and dark secrets. The author takes the reader on one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride as Nessa races against time to find out the identity of the dangerous cyber-stalker. As the reader follows the unraveling of Nessa's tumultuous life, the multitude of suspenseful plot twists and turns and growing list of suspects will keep them captivated and sitting on the edge of their seats, while making sure that they hold their breath as they turn the pages, and easily keeps them guessing what will happen next until the surprising conclusion.
This gritty dark tale deals with serious realistic issues of addiction, rape, dysfunctional family issues, personal demons and secrets, murder, and cyber crime. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the 1970-1990s musical references that are interspersed throughout the book.
Body And Bone is riveting psychological thriller that you won't be able to put down, and it will leave you wanting more!
RATING: 5 STARS
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Body and Bone by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on June 1st and runs through July 3rd, 2016.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Virtual Book Tour
6/04 - Showcase @ Hott Books
6/06 - Showcase @ Fiction Zeal
6/08 - Review @ The Phantom Paragrapher
6/09 - Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
6/14 - Showcase @ A Bookaholic Swede
6/15 - Guest Post @ Books Direct
6/20 - Interview @ BooksChatter (her own giveaway)
6/22 - Interview @ Deal Sharing Aunt
6/27 - Showcase @ CMash Reads
6/28 - Review @ fundinmental (her own giveaway)
6/29 - Review & Guest Post @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
6/30 - Review @ Wall-to-wall books
7/01 - Review @ Bookishly Me
7/12 - Interview @ Writers and Authors