The Long Road To Publication By Author Laura Drake

Today’s a special day at Women’s Fiction Writers (OK, every day is special!) because our guest is Laura Drake!  Laura shares awesome publishing news below as well as her journey to get there — but what she doesn’t mention is she’s the President of RWA-WF which is the Women’s Fiction Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Laura is smart, funny, dedicated and hard working.  I am pretty sure she doesn’t sleep at all.  How do I know? I’m the RWA-WF Secretary, and we’re emailing all the time in addition to hanging out on the RWA-WF email loops and taking care of all kind of RWA-WF business.  

I’m thrilled that Laure took the time to share herself with all of us here — and I’m hoping (guilt-guilt-guilt) that she’ll join us again when her first book hits the shelves!

Please welcome Laura Drake to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

It Has Been A Long Road – Or – Learning The Hard Way

By Laura Drake

As writers, we’re observers. We’re endlessly fascinated by human behavior. Over the years, I’ve observed that no one gets it all. We’re all a blend of assets, fatal flaws and blind spots. I’m not sure we have control over which of the above we’re ‘gifted’ with.

I’m not smart. No, really. I had to work hard in school to get decent grades. I don’t think well on my feet. I’m a bit of a klutz, physically and socially. If you believe in ‘old souls,’ I’m not one of them. I learn by jumping in and flailing about, making mistakes until the right path presents itself.  I’m not being self-depreciating – I have assets. I just had to find what they were as I went along.

My biggest asset? I’m a plodder. I know, it’s not sexy. But that’s okay, because it works.

My husband and I ride motorcycles. Before I learned to ride my own, I rode behind him for a hundred thousand miles. That’s a lot of time for your mind to wander while observing life from the pillion seat. One day, outside Kernville, California, a dog ran in front of the bike. After a sphincter-tightening scare, he trotted off, but it gave me an idea – kernel of a plot.

Me? Write a book? Who was I to write a book? My brain worried at it, but I refused to be a cliché, sitting in front of a blank computer screen. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Oh, the pressure! Then one day I finally realized – my computer had a ‘delete’ key! I could write anything I’d like – no one would never see my drivel!

So I plodded forward on my ‘biker-chick’ novel, finally finishing it a year and a half later. Then I stumbled onto an online critiquing community, and realized I knew nothing about craft. POV? What the heck was that, and what did it have to do with my book?

Seven or so revisions later, I was ready to submit (oh, the ignorance,) and researched how to get an agent (oh, the hubris!)

Fast forward about ten years. I’d finally put the biker-chick novel under the bed, wrote two more books, joined RWA, took classes, attended conventions, pitched. I was a veteran of the submittal wars. I watched authors around me being published. I felt like the last klutz to be selected for the pick-up softball game.

But I just kept at it. I knew my writing was ever-improving, and my last book? It was special. I just knew it in my heart. Last summer, I snagged discovered a wonderful agent who thought so too. That was the start of the crazy Wild-Mouse ride I’ve been on since.

In December I signed a 3 book deal with Grand Central.  And last week, after more than thirteen years, I my ‘biker-chick’ book sold to second publisher!

Do you despair that you’ll never sell? Do you look at the other writers, wishing you had her voice, or his fast writing style?  Don’t. You have assets, and if you keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, you’re going to get there. If you don’t stop, how could you not?

I’m a plodder. I’m embracing it. Yeah, it’s not sexy.  But you know what? Right now, I don’t care.

Laura Drake is a Midwesterner who never grew out of her tomboy ways or a serious cowboy crush. She writes Women’s Fiction and Romance, and in December, she sold three novels set in the world of professional bull riding to Grand Central. THE SWEET SPOT, in which a couple struggles to reclaim their lives after a tragic loss, will be released in the spring of 2013.

Laura resides in Southern California, though she aspires to retirement in Texas. She’s a corporate CFO during the day, and a wife, grandmother, writer, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

You can learn more about Laura and her books here: http://LauraDrakeBooks.com And you can follow her on Twitter too: @PBRWriter.

32 thoughts on “The Long Road To Publication By Author Laura Drake

  1. Wow, Laura… What an inspirational post. Thirteen years! You are the poster child of endurance and determination. But your message is so important: to keep at it, keep improving — and NOT try to fill someone else’s writing shoes.

    And how impressive are all the hats you wear? CFO, novelist, grandmother… Congrats on all your success and on your contracts! I also have been on the backseat of that motorcycle, though never counted the miles and never mustered the courage to get my own ride. Good for you!

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  2. This is great. Thanks Amy. I needed to here that today when I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the many, many edits. One question, at what stage do you decide it is time to shove that manuscript under the bed and start with a fresh new idea?

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    • Ha! When I couldn’t stand to look at it ONE MORE TIME! When you think about it, your first book just has to be the book of your heart. What else would give you enough guts to try all this if the result wasn’t so important? I finally realized that the subject was bigger than my skills at the time. So I tucked it away and promised it I’d do it justice someday.

      Actually, putting it down was freeing, because I could move on to something lighter, and less close to the bone. Writing became more fun. Give it a try – you can always go back to your first book – it’ll be there waiting.

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  3. Laura, are there new words I can say? Why not, we are writers after all and the command of the word must be foremost. I might say I am more of a late bloomer than a mere plodder. That my left-handed, pigeon-toed self did a series of prat falls before she found out who she was … or what she wanted to be when she grew up.

    Yes, we can begin inside a vacuum. Writing is a solitary, often lonely journey … but once we make the decision to step outside and seek not only confirmation but communion with others in our writerly world, we have taken that first step to knowing not only who we are, but what we are. POV? I had to google it. Conflict, plot points, pacing … what are they talking about? I only want to write a book. You are so spot on … it is when we learn to listen, to take the time to do the hardest part … that we truly begin to know what all of this means.

    I am late coming to this party, but I will always be grateful that someone from across the room spotted a kindred spirit and said … “Hey, get over here. We need to talk.” Thanks 🙂

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  4. Boy-Oh, Laura, you’ve recharged my battery. This month I’ve been feeling that the day job, family obligations and students have totally kidnapped my writing life. I was beginning to fear it was a sign to call it a day on my WIP. Silly me. Your post is pure inspiration. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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    • Wow, love your name, Jacosa – I’m stealing it for my next heroine!
      So glad if my bumbling story has helped you. It’s like Randy Pausch said – walls are there to stop people who don’t want it as badly as you do! Keep moving ahead, and you WILL get there!

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      • Thanks. And I’d love to have you use my name for your next heroine! But be careful of the spelling…Jocosa with an O like in the word Joke. My name is actually the source of the word, Joke, which is crazy because I tend to be very serious. Any-hoo, I’ll keep my eyes on the horizon for that story. Cheers, and best wishes on your journey.

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  5. I continue to shout it: You rock, Laura! I wouldn’t call it “plodding,” but rather discipline and dedication. You’ve worked so very hard for your success and you deserve every lip-smacking bit of it.
    Love,
    Fae Rowen

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  6. I always love to hear about the success of a plodder. I’m a plodder, too, which sometimes makes me think maybe I shouldn’t be in this business, but then I remember the tortoise and the hare and I’m encouraged. Congratulations on all your sales.

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    • Exactly, Sally. Honestly, I’ve seen so many more talented writers not be published, because the get distracted, or can’t put their butts in the chair, or . . . or . . .or . . .
      I’m starting to see Plodding as a strength! Now, if I could just do something about the awkward part… 😉

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  7. Laura, I for one “know” how hard you worked. I’ve never known anyone as determined as you. You inspire, yes, but also let everyone know it won’t happen for them if they sit on their hands and that they have to “really” want it. 🙂

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    • Sharla is too sweet to call me what I am – a nag – just ask Darcy!
      I can’t help it – I want everyone to realize their dream.
      Sharla was a good enough friend to let me steal her name for my very first published heroine!

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  8. “You have assets, and if you keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, you’re going to get there.” Words to live by Laura. Thanks for the inspirational pep talk.

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  9. Love this! Laura, the vision of you in your cheerleader skirt has me grinning!! 🙂 But it’s not too tight – it fits perfectly. You are such an inspiration and a wonderful champion of your friends. Slow and steady wins the race, and you darlin are a winner!

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  10. Laura, you are suck an inspiration and I love to hear your story on how you got published. Never give up. You must have that tattooed on the inside of your eyeballs. 🙂 Congratulations on all of your success!

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  11. Hi Laura–

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Very inspiring at just the right time as I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. My 17 year old is graduating high school so it’s been a super busy time. I knew if I logged on I’d find an inspiring blog post.

    Thanks, also, to you Amy.

    If you have the time, could you describe your experiences as a member of RWA-WF chapter. Is the chapter active online?

    thanks,
    tina

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    • Tina,
      The good news is, he’s graduating!!! Empty nest syndrome only lasts a month or so – think of the writing time you’ll have!

      I volunteered to run on the Board of RWA-WF because I’d gotten so much from my membership – felt I should give back. It’s an online chapter only, so I’ve met almost none of these amazing writers in person, but I feel like I have . . . we talk about craft, the market, WF authors and books, and are there to support each other, through good and bad. It’s a wonderful group. Come join us!

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  12. Everything she said was true. She is a mother, wife, grandmother and best of all a great friend even to those of us that don’t write. She has inspired me to be a better person just by know her. You success is well deserved my friend.

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  13. A plodder instead of a plotter or pantser. I love that. It’s so affirming to me, not that I, a writer, need affirmation. LOL. Thanks for an inspiring post! And congrats on your deal. As for RWA-WF, I’ve wondered about that group for a few years and am intrigued. Maybe I will join some time. I always thought RWA was for romance writers. 🙂

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  14. Thanks, Laura. From another plodder. I’m submitting to agents. “Oh, the ignorance.” And researching how to get an agent. “Oh, the hubris!” Your post gave me the inspiration to make it through another day (month, year, years…). I’m so happy for your success.

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  15. Thanks, Laura. From another plodder. I’m submitting to agents. “Oh, the ignorance.” And researching how to get an agent. “Oh, the hubris!” Your post gave me the inspiration to make it through another day (month, year, years…). I’m so happy for your success.

    Like

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