Cry? Rant? Mope? Slump into depression? Get even?
I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did. … I forged a new path and followed it to places I only dreamed were real.
Having written a local history book for Arcadia Publishing earlier in 2012, I welcomed 2013 with a new contract with Arcadia to write another book. The project kept me occupied for five months, doing the work I loved—conducting research, meeting with sources, scanning old photos, scouring reel after reel of old newspaper microfilm, playing history detective, and writing.
After I finished that book in mid-May of 2013, I was pumped to jump into my next project. That’s when I dug out the cozy mystery novel I finished in 2011, dusted it off, and ran it through a major rewrite—something I’d been meaning to do for three years. When the rewrite was done, I read through it again, proofing and tweaking. After I polished it for the third and final time in February 2014, I was ready for the next step: find a publisher.
For months, I had been filing away names of possible companies, and from those, I picked PageSpring Publishing of Columbus, Ohio, for my first query. It was a small company with an imprint named Cup of Tea Books, dedicated to women’s fiction. I had first learned about it in the January 17, 2014, edition of author C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers newsletter, and it looked like the perfect home for my mystery. Following the submission instructions on the PageSpring website, I emailed a standard query letter, a synopsis, and the story’s first 30 pages on March 4. Just three days later, PageSpring editor Rebecca Seum wrote me back asking for the entire manuscript! I responded immediately, and on April 4, I kid you not, she sent me a contract. A contract!
Wow! I had scored a home run my first time at bat!
The past six months have been an adventure that provided me an education about book publishing I wouldn’t have attained any other way. Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies is due out October 15. I’m busier than ever with promotion efforts—writing blogs, tweeting, posting on Facebook, monitoring my website stats, developing marketing materials, and planning the launch party. Not only that … I have another book in progress about historic, Central Indiana true crimes and am well into the sequel to Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies.
For years, I whined that I wanted nothing more than to write full time … if only I could survive without that weekly paycheck. But life without a steady income was a luxury I couldn’t afford, so I whined and dreamed about someday.
I don’t know why it took me so long to notice the obvious. But as I stepped into the final approach of the third anniversary of my RIF’ing, the obvious hit me like a lightning bolt of reality. It struck and I suddenly saw it: My someday has arrived.
I am living my dream. … I am a full-time writer!
*RIF is corporate lingo for Reduction in Force, defined as a terminated employee, who’s been doing a fine job but whose work is no longer valued by the corporation. For the terminated employee, RIF is an acronym for Revel in Freedom!
Success is the sweetest revenge, particularly when it comes in the wake of an unexpected setback, such as an unfair job loss. If you have experienced a bump in your road and used it to catapult you into living your dream, I invite you to share it in the comments section below.
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Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you will come back often. — Janis