Welcome to Nancy Joie Wilkie who has written a guest post about how she became a first time author. Nancy’s recently released book ‘Seven Sides of Self’ is a collection of short stories delving into the realms of science fiction and the metaphysical. Here’s the book info…
The stories in Seven Sides of Self explore the various sides of one’s personality: the storyteller, the skeptic, the survivor, the saint (or the sinner), the scholar, the seeker, and the savior. Through the lives of central characters such as Zarce Sun De’oggo, Sister Othrosa Vella, Jarka Moosha, and Old Mims—Nancy Joie Wilkie explores themes of battling strong emotions, the lengths we might go to for self-preservation and self sacrifice, the inability to accept things different, and taking responsibility for what we create in pieces that inhabit the worlds of both sci-fi and fantasy. Original and thought provoking, these are stories that will stimulate the intellect and engage the imagination.
Now over to Nancy…
Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. I’m not sure I will ever know. But my first work of fiction — a collection of seven short stories (Seven Sides of Self) was just published by She Writes Press. The stories are finally out in the world for all to see — after 25 years of rejections. So, how did it happen? The story goes something like this.
Two-and-a-half years ago, I was down the street visiting with one of my neighbors. She is a 40-something-year-old mother of three — always running her kids to or from swim team practice or soccer practice or some other kid-oriented activity. We were standing in her kitchen talking when I noticed a book on the counter — and the book had her name on it. She was a published author!
“How in the world did you get a book published?” I asked in amazement. “I’ve been trying to get something published for years!”
She looked at me with a big pride-filled smile on her face and replied, “Have you ever heard of the Maryland Writers’ Association?’
I responded that I hadn’t.
She continued, “When you get home, go onto their website and check it out. It doesn’t cost much for an annual membership — and they have monthly meetings with some really great speakers. You just never know who you might meet there or what connections you might make.”
I went home, found their website, and joined immediately. I have attended almost every meeting since then — and have even gone to a few meetings at a different chapter in an adjoining county.
Six months later, there was a panel of five or six different female authors. Each one spoke about how they got their first book published. There were stories ranging from connecting with agents who got the author’s book in front of someone at one of the big five publishing houses to authors who opted for self-publishing. But the one author who told about her experience with a hybrid publisher caught my attention. For those not familiar with hybrid publishers — it has all of the bells and whistles of the big publishing companies. The only catch? The author bears all of the financial responsibility. While this approach is not for one with limited financial resources, it does allow for the author to retain all rights to their work and avoid the stigma of being self-published.
My next step — I contacted a friend from high school who is a professional editor and had her help me do some grammatical cleaning up. I then picked two hybrid publishers that accepted short story collections and science-fiction. I sent one of my stories to one publisher and a second story to a second publisher. Two weeks later I heard back from the first publisher. They were not interested. Bummer — yet another rejection. After another week of waiting — late at night — just as I was finishing up some work in my studio, I checked my email one last time for the day.
There was a note from the second publisher congratulating me! They had accepted my work — and had given it a Track One rating — meaning they weren’t requiring any further development or copyediting. Needless to say — I found it very hard to go to sleep that night!
And what of that book?
The seven short stories in Seven Sides of Self are meant to illustrate various sides of one’s personality — the storyteller, the skeptic, the survivor, the saint (or the sinner), the scholar, the seeker, the savior — and to capture the conflicts that these personalities face as part of the human condition. Through the lives of the central characters, themes of battling strong emotions, the lengths we might go to for self preservation and self sacrifice, the inability to accept things different, and taking responsibility for what we create are explored. Many of the stories might be considered science fiction — some might be labeled what I call “spiritual fiction.”
And there you have it — dream come true! Thank you, Muses!
Thanks for your post Nancy, and congratulations. Having a book published is wonderful, whichever way you choose to do it. Speaking as someone who reads many books, from traditionally and self published authors, I don’t feel there’s a stigma attached to self publication and, as I understand it, the author also retains all rights to their work.