At the beginning of this year I never thought I would be where I am today. It’s interesting how things work out and it seems I am one of those people who has to be careful what they wish for, because I just might get it.
In late April of this year I attended The American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA) conference. My main goal was to network, learn how to build my freelance business, and to learn how to get a literary agent for a biography I have been working on for years. The last breakout session I set in was the most informative for me. It was on how to build a platform, get an agent and get your book published. I had never heard of the term platform before and had no clue what it was. I soon learned and felt discouraged.
A platform is the term used in publishing to define the achievements of the writer and how large of a following the writer has. This does not mean friends on FaceBook or followers on Twitter. It means a writer that has hardwired credentials. What has the writer published? How many books have they sold? And so on. After the breakout session I talked with the agent and author who were on the panel and they clarified that my presentations, the Holocaust article that is published in the Advance Placement Test booklets don’t count. I need a legitimate following who is interested in what I write and what I do. As I mentioned earlier, I was discouraged, but knew I had to get busy and work harder at getting The Wandering Pen grounded and start producing the kind of writing it took to build interest and followers.
During this time I worked full-time in a position that was not fulfilling and I knew it wouldn’t benefit me where my writing career was concerned. I wasn’t happy and eventually I lost the job, which at first was upsetting to my pride, but I soon realized that the door of opportunity just opened for me.
I remembered that a year and a half earlier there was a blurb from Arcadia Publishing in the township newsletter looking for someone to do a pictorial history of the township. I contacted the editor and yes, they were still looking for someone to do the book and I jumped on it. I put together the proposal with the assistance of the editor and sent it to Arcadia. Within a week or so I got the word saying my proposal was approved. Next, the decision on deadlines, I hoped for a January 2014 deadline, but nope, it had to be December 2013, that meant I had four months to gather photos, which the funding to purchase photos came out of my pocket without reimbursement, and arrange the layout for the book. Of course, my first thought was I would get the photos from the historical society and then I learned the cost involved for the photos. I had to come up with a plan B, which I did.
I started making cold calls to people who lived in the area asking them for stories and photos. Feeling relieved that most of the contacts I made were willing to meet with me, share their stories and their photos. I really began to feel that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Some people would call what happened to me coincidences, but I don’t believe in coincidences, I knew there was a higher power looking over me, helping me to fulfill my dream of publishing my first book.
So, here I am, four months later and the layout and the manuscript are now in the hands of the publisher. I understand there will be edits and an eighteen week process till the book is ready, but that’s okay, because by spring I should have my first book selling in Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and local bookstores. I look at this first publication as my stepping stone to finding an agent and getting the biography I’ve wanted to publish for almost twenty years now published.
So, although there was a period of disappointment I felt when I lost my job, in the end it turned out for the best. I was able to take what I learned at the ASJA conference and put it into action. I still have a lot of work to do to make The Wandering Pen successful, but I feel that at least now I’m in a better position to make it work.
I can’t end this post without acknowledging my family and friends who have stuck by me through my difficult moments this year. I also need to thank all the people who helped me with the pictorial history of Silver Spring Township. I am feeling very bless and fortunate and I do know that there is a higher power in control – that power is referred to as Him, Her, Mother Nature, Great Spirit, Mohammed, Buddha, God, and Goddess to name a few, for me it doesn’t matter what title is used, it’s more important to just believe.
Here is a 3 minute, 16 second video I put together using the photos I posted to Instagram. The photos are from the Susquehanna River to Blackwater Falls, wildlife and flowers, sunrises and sunsets, and seasons.
Cheers to you and to 2014.