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Five Things I Learned on my Way to Publication

by Rose Allen McCauley

I have been a member of ACFW for nine years now, since I joined in Sept. 2002, right before the first national conference. Several times at conferences, I’ve heard the statistic that it takes an author an average of seven years from beginning to write to attaining a contract.

My contract was awarded at last year’s conference in September, 2010, and I began writing in 2000, so it took me ten years. Guess I’m a slow-learner at learning to write. Unlike writing, most learning has come easy to me all my life. My aunt taught me to read before I ever went to school. I breezed through most of my school years with top grades and awards and scholarships, and graduated from college with two degrees.

Then I started down the road to publication and found myself floundering to stay on the road, sometimes wondering if I were still on the right path or would ever reach the end. So, I want to share some things I wish I had done differently or sooner in hopes of encouraging other new authors to stay the course. And maybe take less time getting there than it took me!

5. Join ACFW and other organizations in your area of writing. I truly don’t believe I would be pubbed today if I hadn’t joined ACFW. Not only for what the classes both online and at conference have taught me, but for the friendships and encouragement it has brought.

4. Become a life-long learner of the craft of writing. Writing is a very subjective craft. The writing style you read or studied years ago is not what is acceptable now. Always keep reading/studying books and blogs about writing and taking classes.

3. Always keep learning about the writing market. It also changes all the time. Study the market and keep up on trends.

2. Keep reading, reading, reading. I have always loved to read, but when juggling reading time with writing time, especially if you have a deadline, the reading often suffers. The past three years I have kept a record of the books and authors I have read, and keeping that list encourages me to read more, to try to read a greater number of books this year than last year. And remember to read CBA and ABA and various genres.

1. Write, write, write! Nothing teaches you how to write more than writing itself. I don’t think “practice makes perfect”, but I do think it makes you more proficient at whatever you are doing. All the knowledge in the world doesn’t do you any good if you don’t sit at that keyboard and put what you’ve learned into practice by writing.

Bio: Rose Allen McCauley’s first novella from Barbour Publishing, Christmas Belles of Georgia, just released this month. She knows she still has a lot to learn about writing, but knows she is in the best organization in the world to do so–ACFW.

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One Response to Five Things I Learned on my Way to Publication

  1. Ane Mulligan says:

    Add into this mix God’s timing, too, Rose. I’ve been going to committee and pub board for a few years now, but God keeps saying, “Not yet,” and something happens to stop it. So I’m on the long end of that time average, too. :o)