Today J.N. Tomczak stopped by to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s J.N….
I wish to first thank Christi for having me as a guest on her blog and the opportunity to share my path to publication.
As it so happens, my journey had a bit of a “late to the party” kind of start. But hey, better late than never, I always say, because I never in a million galaxies would have thought I’d pursue a career in writing. My initial idea for EDENHART’S RIVALRY, the first installment in my High Fantasy/Adventure series, KINGDOM OF THE FAERIES, didn’t come until after I discovered my love for reading. From the point I could learn to read up to seventh grade, I was reading in the wrong genre the WHOLE time! I literally picked the easiest and most boring books in the school’s library, just so I could pass a stupid AR test. I was a seventh grader, reading on a fourth grader’s reading level. Compute that for a moment. You can assume my comprehension skills were TERRIBLE—and they were!
But all of that changed the moment I picked up what would literally become my favorite book and what sparked my imagination. I own the book, naturally, and it’s called THE LONG PATROL by Brian Jacques, one of many in the beloved REDWALL series. For such a thick book, I read it in a day, and I was left breathless. It astounded me that words on a page could make me feel so many emotions. It made me laugh, it made me angry, it made me fearful and anxious, and it also made me cry. And that’s when I wanted to write something that could connect with readers the same way this book connected with me. And so four weeks later and three filled notebooks, my path to publication began.
Being only thirteen at the time, I was still immature and ignorant as to HOW to publish a novel. And remember I said my reading comprehension skills were terrible? Well, that included grammar. The first draft was cringe-worthy and riddled with noob mistakes. But that’s OK on a first draft. They’re always crap, and if they’re not, well, aren’t you just a special, little snowflake I envy so much. So I dedicated a few years learning about publication and how to query an agent. I sent out only a handful. The best rejection letter I received asked if I had any other projects to send them for consideration, since the one I sent wasn’t what they were looking for at the time. Of course, I didn’t have any other finished manuscripts, so I had to move on.
So I spent all my time learning more about my craft instead of acquiring scholarships by the time I was in my senior year of High School. My family didn’t have big expectations for me. Whatever I wanted to do, they were there to back me up, and they knew this was my passion. I kept notebooks filled with all my acquired knowledge, and I used that to polish up EDENHART’S RIVALRY, until I finally deemed it publishable.
And that’s when a fellow church goer and author friend of mine told me about her publishing company called Clean Reads and that they were currently seeking submissions from all genres. I had this good vibe, and I decided to go for it. It took a few months, but I was so relieved and thankful when the founder of Clean Reads and its chief editor, Stephanie, contracted me. Besides my wedding day, it was one of the happiest moments in my life.
Overall, if you truly want to be a writer, you must first be a reader. Learn from the best. Study the craft enough, and I promise you, it WILL pay off. It took me almost eleven years, but it was so worth it. But you have to be patient and dedicated. And this is with anything. Not just writing. If you truly want to be good at something, you have to take it seriously. Is it possible to write a book in a day? Absolutely! But writing the story is the easy part. What follows next really tests your strengths and weaknesses. Remember: quality takes time and effort. Publishing a book takes guts!
Currently, I’m waiting for the green light on EDENHART’S RIVALRY’S sequel. But while I’m waiting, I’m working on an entirely new project at the moment—a reimagining of Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, and I aim to have the first draft completed by the end of next month. Wish me luck!
A dark power is rising, and a kingdom is in dire need of a leader when the King of the Faeries falls in battle. Or so, that’s what they’re led to believe, but his only heir and daughter, Aurora, suspects murder.
But when she and her loyal friend Percy, the Captain of the Elite Guard, discover an ancient prophecy foretold by the enigmatic Faerie Sorcerers, Aurora finds herself an unwilling pawn in a dark plot that will threaten everything she holds dear.
Her courage and magic will be her greatest weapons if she hopes to succeed where all others have failed. But will she? Aurora must ask herself this very question: just how far is she willing to go to save her kingdom, and at what costs?