Recently, I casually mentioned a book I wrote almost three years ago to my publisher. I was really just wondering if a book I had self-published would ever be able to be traditionally published, and I was just using this book as an example. To my great surprise, she showed extreme interest in the concept and asked me for more information. When I sent her a brief synopsis, she emailed me back within minutes and told me to stop whatever I was doing and work on this book “immediately.” I was pleasantly surprised at this turn of events. This was about the fifth book I ever wrote, but one of my very favorites and I thought it would never see the light of day. I’d heard a lot of people from authors, to agents, to publishers tell me that once you self-publish a book, it’s as good as gone. You can never have it published again. So to learn that there’s hope for this book (and maybe even my three other self-published titles), made me want to dance around the living room. I didn’t. But I wanted to.
The novel in question is called “Confessions of an Old Lady.” In a nutshell, it’s about a young DEA agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a notorious motorcycle gang in her home state of Kentucky. Her marks is the charismatic, good-looking Vice President of the gang. Long story short, she falls in love with her mark and has to decide, in the end, between her career and her new-found, forbidden love. It has a more romantic bend than anything else I’ve ever written, but it really is one of my best pieces of work.
At my publisher’s request, I’m submitting it tomorrow. So I had only this past weekend to go over it with a fine-toothed comb and edit it. Keep in mind, I wrote this book almost three years ago and I’ve learned A LOT in that time. I found some mistakes, of course, but it was in better shape than I thought it would be. In fact, I’ve had so much fun going over it for the first time in a long time.
The plan now is to publish the Flesh & Blood Trilogy (Book 1 due to be released 7/2/16) and then change gears and write two more books to follow “Confessions” and get them published next. So now, instead of just three books, it looks like I might have a minimum of six books published in the next couple of years. It’s so exciting.
It also gives me hope for the rest of the twelve books I’ve written. A couple are complete duds that will never see the light of day, but the rest, I think have potential. They may need heavy editing, or a total do-over, but now it doesn’t feel like I wasted the past few years on books for nothing.
The moral of this story, folks, is that it’s never too late for anything you write. Even if you’re passed over for publication initially, you can always go back and dust those old babies of yours off and add them to your bookshelf. So never, ever get rid of anything you write. Even the barely-started stories. I have about five barely-started stories where I wrote a chapter or two and then either got distracted, blocked, or gave up because I didn’t think I could finish it or get it published. Now I know better.
I even have three or four historical fictions that I have written. Obviously, this is way out of my current wheelhouse, but I believe in those books, too. My hope is that one day I can make a name for myself and then maybe I can co-author these books with someone who DOES write historical fiction and release them together. Point is, I’m not giving up on any of my books. Not that easily, anyway, and not without a fight.
So keep those first drafts. Even the ones currently feel there’s no hope for. Because you never know. One day, you may be able to dust them off and release them into the universe for others to enjoy as much as you do.