My Journey to Publication
My first novel, Eternity Falls, was actually not my first novel. Like many authors, the one that got published was actually my fourth attempt. The ones that came before I know will never be published. Looking back, they just weren’t good enough. But never would I consider them written in vain or time wasted. They were my doodling pad, teaching me the craft of writing and more importantly it was proof to myself that I could write a novel length piece of fiction.
So don’t wait for success with your latest work before you start your next one. Each book is like a milestone of growth and the faster you get on to the next one the quicker you will grow.
I began Eternity Falls after rededicating my life to Christ and I firmly believe this is my sole reason for success. It took over three years just to complete and was transformed several times through the input of editors, critique groups and reviews. Because I didn’t know a lot of writers locally, I used Writing.com which was a great resource to receive instant feedback every time I posted a new chapter. This was both encouraging and helpful in finding out what worked and what didn’t.
After completing the manuscript I spend another two years trying to get it published. I was quite blessed to find my publisher Jeff Gerke and Marcher Lord Press. There are virtually no Christian publishers who would take a story like mine to press, even if they liked it. The market just isn’t built around Christian Speculative fiction. After a couple rejection letters from the general CBA market I stumbled upon http://www.wherethemapends.com/ the Christian Spec-fic website run by Jeff Gerke. I felt as if I had finally found my tribe—a group of people who had the same passions as mine.
I got involved and got to know the community and then Jeff announced his idea to launch Marcher Lord Press. I knew then that this had to be God working. I submitted my work to Jeff and he actually liked it! My manuscript didn’t get published right away, but the response I got encouraged me. So I stopped work on my second book to polish Eternity Falls some more. Eventually it all happened and I landed my first publishing deal.
One point to note is that a big part of getting published is the validation it brings, in fact, in this tight market it could be the only thing it will bring. The publishing world is changing. Few are the times where a traditional publisher will take a chance on an unknown. Only small print on demand based publishers are willing to take risks these days—because they can afford to do so.
My best advice and encouragement is to not write with the goal of getting published. i.e. don’t view writing as a means to an end. If you get published great, but if you don’t, don’t view that as a failure. Just keep writing what God put in your heart and keep honing your craft. Don’t try to write for the market. Keep learning and keep your eyes open for opportunities.
God will send them your way, but only when you and your writing are ready.
Kirk Outerbridge lives with his wife and two sons in Bermuda where is employed by the Government as an engineer. He is winner of the Carol Award for speculative fiction with his debut novel Eternity Falls. His novel, The Tenth Crusader, was just released this month.
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