Today fellow Astraea Press author, Linda Covella, is sharing her Path to Publication story!
Without further ado, here’s Linda…
I’ve always loved to write, but never thought of it as a career until later in life. I started out in college as an art major, and then decided I needed to actually make some money. After receiving different degrees, I came back to my original desire to do something creative with my life. I started doing freelance writing on the side on all sorts of topics, and after publishing a few articles in children’s magazines, I realized I’d found my niche, how I really wanted to unleash my creativity: writing for kids and teens.
I was bitten big time by the publishing bug as I started crafting picture books and novels. I had a dream to publish one of my children’s books, and I started pursuing it full force.
I took online writing classes, some specifically for children’s writing.
I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
And I (finally) joined a critique group. It took me a while to take that step. I was The Lone Writer, afraid to let others read my work, afraid of criticism. I met a woman in one of my online children’s writing classes who tried to convince me to form a critique group with her. I eventually realized I couldn’t achieve my dream on my own, and together we created the rules for the group and chose four other children’s writers.
This was probably one of the best things I’ve done for my writing. Together, we’ve learned the ropes of writing, submitting, and how the whole publishing process works. We’ve been together now for over 10 years, supporting each other not only with our writing, but through personal triumphs and tragedies.
For years, I wrote, received rejections, cried, revised. Wrote some more, received more rejections, wept, and revised. I could go on, but you get the idea. (The crying jags stopped after the, oh, 50th rejection.)
But I didn’t give up, and one day, “the call” came. One of my novels was going to be published. I bought Negotiating a Book Contract by Mark L. Levine (an excellent book, by the way). I negotiated by myself and got most of my requests written into the contract. The publisher and I started discussing covers, etc.
Then, bam, it was all snatched away from me when the publisher went out of business.
It was shocking, devastating, and I sank into a hole of depression. But I climbed back out. I didn’t give up. I started submitting to agents and publishers—again.
Now my dream has really and truly come true. Not only once, but twice. Two of my novels were published one week apart this July 2014: Yakimali’s Gift published by Astraea Press and The Castle Blues Quake published by Beau Coup Publishing.
It can be a tough path to publication. You need a thick skin. You need to face the rejections and learn from them. You need support from other writers and professionals in the field. I learned all this on my own road to publication.
I wish all the best to other authors, and to aspiring writers, my little piece of advice is:
Don’t Go It Alone and Don’t Ever Ever Give Up!
How is your own path to publication going?
In 1775 Mexico, New Spain, 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, of Spanish and Pima Indian ancestry, can’t seem to fit into the limited female roles of her culture. Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands. But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater price than she could ever have imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.
On the four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s seductive brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo—half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her.
But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.
http://lindacovella.com/ See the trailer, read an excerpt and historical information
Linda Covella’s varied job experience and education (associate degrees in art, business and mechanical drafting & design, a BS degree in Manufacturing Management) have led her down many paths and enriched her life experiences. But one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.
A writer for over 30 years, her first official publication was a restaurant review column in a local newspaper, and as a freelance writer, she continued to publish numerous articles in a variety of publications. But when she published articles for children’s magazines (“Games and Toys in Ancient Rome” and “Traveling the Tokaido in 17th Century Japan,” in Learning Through History magazine, and “Barry’s Very Grown Up Day” in Zootles magazine), she realized she’d found her niche: writing for children. She wants to share with kids and teens her love of books: the worlds they open, the things they teach, the feelings they express.
Yakimali’s Gift, a historical novel for young adults published by Astraea Press, and middle grade paranormal The Castle Blues Quake published by Beau Coup Publishing are her first novels.
She’s a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).