Cover Reveal! THE LAKE HOUSE By Debut Women’s Fiction Author Marci Nault — And Her Exciting Journey To Publication

Today is a Women’s Fiction Writers first! Debut author Marci Nault (and her editor, publisher, team, etc) are allowing US to see the gorgeous cover for THE LAKE HOUSE for the first time ever. Anywhere.  Before anyone else.  

In addition to that (as if that’s not enough), Marci has shared with us her exciting journey to publication — and like all journeys it had its detours and bumps and few forks in the road — but what matters is that Marci Nault is on her way to that final destination of publication day!

It’s an honor to know Marci (she’s a sweetheart).  Please welcome her to Women’s Fiction Writers.  And just click on that cover image to see it the way it was meant to be seen.  BIG!!!

Amy xo

Cover Reveal! THE LAKE HOUSE By Debut Women’s Fiction Author Marci Nault — And Her Exciting Journey To Publication

I have a confession to make – I have the cover of my debut novel The Lake House as my phone’s wallpaper and at times I stare at it, even touch the screen, to make certain it’s real.

The first time I saw the cover I was in a restaurant in New York City having lunch with my editor during Book Expo America. She handed me two possibilities for the front cover. They say that when you meet the love of your life, at first glance you know that it’s right. That’s how I felt about my cover.

My journey to publish was a long one. People tell me everyday that they want to write a book. Many have explained their idea for a novel and that they plan to write it within six months certain it will become a bestseller within the year. I smile and nod, knowing people don’t want the truth. I certainly didn’t when I began to write.

It took me seven years to go from concept to publishing contract, and there are so many moments I wouldn’t exchange, but it was a tough road.

The Lake House began with a dream. In the dream I had bought a lake house, but when I moved in I realized that everyone was over the age of seventy and they wanted me out because I was young. When I woke I knew I had to write the story, but I didn’t know how.

I began dictating my ideas into a tape recorder and then transcribing notes, but nothing felt right. I spent hours in front of the television afraid to begin. I can’t really explain the fear that comes before I write, but I liken it to knowing I’m going to open a door with no idea what’s on the other side, but I know it will consume me.

My character Victoria decided to enter my life at four in the morning. I had woken because of a noise outside. As I tried to go back to sleep my mind whirred with the chatter that turns into insomnia. Suddenly, my brain switched paths and I saw Victoria standing in a room with three candles – one for each woman in her life who had died. For weeks, Victoria only showed herself in the early mornings. I would wake before sunrise, filled with ideas and I would begin to work, sometimes falling back to sleep at my desk around eleven in the morning.

Eight months later the first draft was complete, and I thought I was ready to send it to agents. A friend read it and said, “I don’t think it’s ready.” My hopes dashed, I paid for a critique and waited months for a response. When I received the critique notes I didn’t know what to do with them. I couldn’t find my way through the story. I watched more television, ate ice cream, and moped about my inability to write. Then one night after a full day of television, I forced myself to sit in front of my computer. At that moment, I became a novelist.

I began to think about how I structured each sentence, adding layers of description, emotion, and action. I read books on writing and tossed out most of the first draft as I grew as a writer.

A year later I was signed with my agent Yfat Reiss Gendell of  Foundry Literary and Media. I thought I’d have a publishing contract within months, but then reality struck again. There were changes I needed to make to the novel. Enthusiastically I dove into the revisions. By the time I finished the rewrite the economy had collapsed, the publishing world had been turned upside down, and the editors weren’t interested.

I waited another year, each morning wondering if I should start a new novel, or if I should simply give up my dream of becoming a published author. Then came the word from my agent that they were ready to submit again. I asked if we could do another revision just to be certain the book was perfect. I knew that I had grown as a person and a writer over that year and I wanted to make the book better. My agent gave it to fresh readers who came back with critiques. I rewrote.

Three months later, my book sold at auction to Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Writing is an art that takes revisions and patience. The first draft is just a sketch, the second colors in the lines, the third bring out the details that you forgot to see because you were busy writing the big picture, and the fourth is the flow to make the story seamless and easy for the reader to follow. With each revision I learned and I became a better writer. I liken the editorial process to a coach and an athlete. No one ever told me what to write, but through other’s perspectives I could see clearer.

So when I finally saw the cover and it was the exact picture of the place I had seen for so many years as I wrote the book, I knew that I’d finally gotten the story right.

These days, with the invention of on-demand printing and e-books, people are rushing ahead, solely focused on becoming published authors forgetting that a book really is about the story and good books come from patience and persistence.

Marci Nault  is the founder of 101 Dreams Come True, a website that encourages visitors to follow their improbable dreams. She is an adult competitive figure skater and a salsa dancer. She lives in California, but still claims Boston as her home. The Lake House  is a heartwarming story of two women who discover love, healing, and friendship in a charming New England lakeside community. Published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, The Lake House is Marci’s debut novel due out May 7, 2013.

You can pre-order The Lake House at IndieBoundAmazon, Powell’s, Books-A-Million, and iTunes.


Women’s Fiction Author Kelly Simmons Talks about her Journey to Publication

One day I watched the Backspace Conference Video from the Women’s Fiction Panel in May 2011.  I didn’t attend the conference, but knew that Kelly Simmons, Jael McHenry and Keith Cronin were sitting on this panel.  I had to see it!  (You can see it too if you’re a Backspace member!) I already knew Jael and Keith — and when I *met* Kelly Simmons I immediately tried to snag her for the blog.  Kelly has a straightforward and encouraging manner that is sure to hit home with writers who’ve been “at it” a while as well as those who are just getting started.

Please welcome Kelly to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Women’s Fiction Author Kelly Simmons Talks about her  Journey to Publication

At a speaking engagement not long ago, I gave a humorous-but-harrowing talk about my 15 year struggle to get published.  That is not a typo.  I didn’t say five.  Or ten.  (And okay, not twenty. That would have required me starting in approximately eighth grade.)

This has to have set some sort of world record for self inflicted punishment, like the dude who laid on a bed of nails for 100 days (piece of cake) or the woman who swam across the Pacific Ocean (please, how long could that have possibly taken?)  Most writers are absolutely aghast when they hear this high number; who wants to hear this discouraging tale?

Who wants to hear about That Horrible First Year, when my famous high-powered-agent-who-also-repped-Pat Conroy paged me at work and told me he’d sold my first novel, then paged me a week later to tell me the house had rescinded their offer?   Who has ever heard of such an awful thing happening?  Who could ever forgive that publisher?

Who wants to hear about Horrible Year Seven, when my second famous-high-powered-agent-who-also-repped-Michael-Chabon asked me to write concepts and chapters to her specifications so she could approve the whole book along the way, only to reject the final manuscript she had approved every single freaking chapter of?  Who does this happen to?  Well, um, not Michael Chabon, that’s for damned sure.

Finally, at this event, someone raised their hand and asked the question everyone now asks:  If self pubbing an eBook had been an option, would you have gone that route?

And the answer is:  I don’t know. I missed them by the skin of my teeth, being published in 2008.  But in my case, I’m glad it happened the way it did.  Because I have benefited so much by failing, by listening, by studying, by re-writing.  By being read by people who offered criticism with their praise, and edited by people who both infuriated me and forced me to be better.   People I would not have encountered had I self-published.

Fifteen years ago, I had many talents as a writer.  I know this in my heart. But I also know that  today, I have many, many more.

When I teach, students often ask if they “should” self pub or not.  And this what I tell them.  If you are looking for closure, self publish.  If you are looking for recognition, or achievement, don’t.

At some point you may need one more than the other, and you’ll know what to do.

Good luck to all you intrepid writers.   And you know what I’m going to say next.

Keep. At.  It.

Kelly Simmons is the author of two Simon & Schuster novels:  STANDING STILL, and THE BIRD HOUSE.   Visit her website at or follow her on twitter: @kellysimmons.