Journey to Publishing: Celebrating Barbara

Hey there writers and muse daters!

Today I’m really excited for two things: to celebrate Barbara’s success in her publishing career, and to give you some insider information on what it really looks like once you get that publishing contract.

Barbara and I met at the Writer’s Digest Conference in 2017, and that’s when she decided to start investing in herself as a fiction writer. Barbara had gotten her MFA in 2002, and went directly into teaching and became a freelance writer on the side. 

She had always wanted to become an author, but with life being so busy, 16 years had passed with Barbara putting her fiction writing dreams on the back burner. After meeting me, she decided to invest in herself and joined the Writing Gym, where she turned her MFA thesis into a novel.

We began working together in spring of ‘18, and had the manuscript ready by the following summer/early fall. We began querying, reaching out to agents, and then Covid happened, and the publishing industry slowed down significantly.

Despite setbacks, Barbara kept querying and had a breakthrough when she pitched her novel to PitMad. A week later, she got a tweet from an editor from a publishing house called Literary Wanderlust, indicating interest in her manuscript. Months later, she got a contract.

Barbara began reaching out to other writers to make sure everything was on the up and up, got encouragement, and advice from me and eventually, signed the contract!

 

I asked Barbara, what were some of the questions she had at that point of receiving a contract. She told me there were a lot of terms in the contract that she wished she had a better understanding of, and that basically you have to see what rights the publisher will have over not only your book, but over you as a writer.

Barbara asked to renegotiate the contract, regarding her movie rights, and decided to keep her movie rights! She also asked about royalties, but in the end Barbara knew this wasn’t going to be the book she quit her day job over. She decided to take the plunge and sign, because she wanted to open up new doors for herself by getting published.

For Barbara, there were no red flags, and she went with her gut. She got her contract checked by an attorney, and feels confident moving forward. Her advice is: read the fine print, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if it feels right for you, you should do it. 

Another question I had for Barbara was, what did she learn about publishing a book that maybe she didn’t know beforehand?

Barbara told me that one of the things she did know was that unless you’re getting some 6 figure, 7 figure deal, which happens rarely, that there was going to be a lot of groundwork for her in terms of marketing and getting into bookstores, especially during Covid. 

She also told me that books aren’t waiting in a big warehouse like they used to be. It’s very much print-on-demand. At the same time, publishing is very slow, it’s not something where you hit send and it’s published. As of now she’s in the editing process, and her book won’t be out until the fall. 

Finally, I asked Barbara, what the impact of the Writing Gym was on her, and how it helped her move toward publication.

“[The Writing Gym] made me believe that I could be a novelist, and actually complete a book which I hadn’t done in the past.” The Writing Gym helped Barbara get her writing confidence back, and provide her with a community full of fellow writers.

 

One of our goals in the Writing Gym is to create the author lifestyle, and that means different things for different people. Most people want to publish as much as they can. What about Barbara.

Well, Barbara is planning to come out with book number two, tentatively titled “Good Breeding.” We’re so excited to follow her on her journey as a writer! 

 

It was so amazing to watch Barbara on her journey, seeing her grow as a writer, watching her embrace her fiction and really become a novelist. Her novel is hilarious and I can’t wait for people to read it. 

If this sounds like something you would be interested in as well, I’d love to chat with you. 

Until next time. Happy writing.

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