This week author Misha Herwin is sharing her ‘path to publication’ story with us. Thank you for joining us, Misha. Can you tell us how you became a published author?
My path to publication has been a long and bumpy one. I started when I was fifteen with a book about a magic owl. On the advice of my German teacher, I sent it to a publisher-who specialised in Westerns. Needless to say this was not a success. Undaunted, I persevered and over the next few decades I gradually learned what, and what not, to do.
My first lesson was to target the right publishers, so I sent my next book, which featured a strong female lead, to The Women’s Press. The book promptly disappeared into a black hole to re-surface a couple of years later with an apology for having mislaid the ms, a rejection letter and a detailed review of what was wrong with the main character. At the time, this plunged me into a pit of misery; it was only later that I realised that this type of rejection letter is a step forward. If publishers comment on your work, it’s because they consider you can write and if your book is not right for their imprint, it’s worth submitting somewhere else.
And so it went on. Rejection after rejection followed the same pattern. “Liked the way you write, but it’s not for us.”
Getting used to being turned down was hard, but I kept going and eventually I had my first professional success with a play called “The Last Disco.” I was teaching drama and since there were very few plays where kids didn’t have to play the parts of adults, I wrote my own and sent it to Carel Press. The play was performed in schools and when I was invited to see a production, I had my first experience of being treated as an author, added to which my first royalty payment was enough to pay for a beautiful pair of Italian green leather boots.
By now, I was getting stories published in anthologies and decided that the next step was to find an agent. Like a lot of writers I thought this was a fail-safe route and that once I had an agent the big deal would follow. Unfortunately that wasn’t true for me. We almost made it with one of the big children’s publishers, but not quite. At which point I gave up on the traditional path and decided to go it alone.
And so to Penkhull Press: an Indie Press which is run as a writers’ collective, where “Excellence is the only genre” and which in its short life has already had one of its writers win the Arnold Bennett Prize. Penkhull Press has published my novels and also “City of Secrets” and “Bridge of Lies” the first two of my Middle Grade books in the “Adventures of Letty Parker” series.
It’s been a long haul to get this far. Some of it’s been fun. Some not. But in the end I have learned so much and met such great people and finally my stories are out there in the world.
Thank you for sharing this with us, Misha. I hope your story inspires other writers to ‘never give up’.
Here are some of Misha’s books:
Amazon Buy Links:
“City of Secrets” and “Bridge of Lies” can be found on all other distributors.
Misha Herwin is a writer of books for adults and children. Her books cover a variety of genres from contemporary women’s fiction, “Picking up the Pieces”, to family saga, “Shadows on the Grass”, and middle grade fantasy adventure, “City of Secrets” and “Bridge of Lies” the first two in the Adventures of Letty Parker Series.
She also writes short stories which have been published in anthologies in the US and the UK and plays, for schools and Theatre in Education.
Misha runs workshops in schools, museums and libraries and is one of the founders of 6×6 a quarterly event in Hanley Library where writers come to strut their stuff.
In her free time she reads, attempts to keep her garden in order and bakes. Her speciality is muffins, though her scones are pretty good too.