Journey Into the Unknown
by Carol Carroll
Although I’ve been writing for many years, I’ve only recently become serious about having my work published. Oh, a long time ago I had the dream of being a published author. This was before I had a computer. I wrote my first novel by hand and had a friend type it up for me. She had the dubious job of deciphering all my changes by following the arrows to where the paragraphs should go, getting past all the scratched out words and sentences and making out the sloppy handwriting of a writer obsessed! Somehow she turned it into a fine double-spaced manuscript.
I went to the library to find the names of publishers, put together my submission information and sent off a couple dozen queries. Yes! I was on my way. I would soon have my story on bookshelves everywhere. I can see you all shaking your heads at my naivety.
After receiving a passel of impersonal rejection letters, I gave up on the idea. I had some books printed at a local print shop with the idea of giving them to family and friends. I wanted to share my masterpiece with the people I cared about. The printer couldn’t bind the books to be paperbacks. I had to settle for the binding they used on cookbooks.
When I picked up my order, I was overjoyed. When I opened the box and pulled out my very own book, I was in awe to realize I had written every word in that whole novel. I couldn’t wait to open the pages.
That’s where my enthusiasm waned. I was shocked at the number of mistakes I found in a book I thought I had thoroughly proofread and corrected. Things popped out at me that I didn’t see in the manuscript. Imagine that. I gave up the idea of getting the book published.
Years later, I purchased my first computer. After spending a goodly amount of time figuring out how to use it, I was overwhelmed with what that little machine could do. I set out to write a sequel to the first book I had written. Feeling proud of the end results, I searched out information on getting a book published.
What a surprise to find out how many submissions were being sent out to agents and publishers every day, how small the chance for an unknown author to get a start really was. And then, if she did get discovered, she had to do the majority of promoting and marketing her own book. What? I loved to write, but I was not interested in selling what I wrote. Wasn’t that a publisher’s realm? I ditched the whole idea of finding a publisher.
I still enjoyed writing my short stories. I found and joined a couple of writing groups over the internet. Sharing my work, critiquing to help other writers, and learning from them as well, was a wonderful opportunity for me. And I made some good friends along the way.