I hope you enjoy these ‘Path to Publication’ stories as much as I do. It’s so easy to give up at the first rejection but it takes determination and perseverance to get published. This week’s guest, Colette McCormick, also had to cope with ill health on her publishing journey. Welcome, Colette. Can you tell us how you finally achieved your dream of being a published author?
My path to publication started many moons ago when I wrote, ‘The Plaything Princess.’ I was nine years old and when the teacher asked me to read it out to the class I knew that one day, I would want a wider audience.
My first attempt at getting anything actually published came when I was about sixteen when I wrote a picture book type story for young children. It was turned down but I did get a lovely letter from the editor telling me why they had turned it down. At the time I didn’t appreciate that getting a letter with actual feedback rather than a rejection slip was a big deal so it didn’t mean anything to me.
When I was eighteen, I turned my attention to books and my first attempt was about a girl whose boyfriend was a twin. The premise was that the twin had died in the womb and the boyfriend somehow took on the dead twin’s evil personality. A publisher said it showed promise but not enough for them to take it.
That was it until 2001 when I came up with an idea and made a few notes. I wrote the story but it didn’t quite have the legs and came to an end at about 40,000 words. Then, in 2006 I saw that Accent Press was looking for short stories to go into an anthology called ‘Sexy Shorts for the Beach’ which was being sold to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. I happened to work for CR UK at the time so I took that as a sign and put pen to paper. I was so excited when it was accepted and ‘Elaine,’ was my first published piece. It still holds a special place in my heart.
I spent the next few years writing short stories for magazines and books and had some published in Britain and abroad. I even tried travel articles and I can’t tell you how excited I was when I received my first commission. It was an amazing feeling. However, the editor retired just after that and I was never invited back.
Which brings us to the book that finally got me the book deal that I had dreamt of. “Things I Should Have Said and Done,” took a couple of years to write and when it was finished, I sent it off to various publishers and agents. When it was rejected, I was disheartened because in my heart I felt that the book had promise. Then in 2013 I was seriously ill and that made me rethink my life and what I wanted to do with it. I realised that I could live with the fact that I hadn’t got the book deal that I wanted, but only if I had given it my best shot. Up to that point I knew that I hadn’t done that. So, I looked at the book again, objectively this time and rewrote sections of it. Then I sent it to Accent Press and the rest, as they say, is history.
Congratulations on persevering and getting a publishing contract with Accent Press, Colette.
Here are Colette’s books.
And a short blurb for her latest book, Not My Brother’s Keeper.
My brother. Not my responsibility.
Robert and Tom are practically identical – same height, same hair, equally good looking – but Tom never had the same confidence as his older brother, and for that reason, he is in awe of him.
When Robert’s girlfriend, Michelle, tells him that she’s pregnant, Robert disappears leaving Tom to clean up his mess. As Tom spends time with Michelle, reassuring her that she is not alone in this, the both begin to fall in love.
Sixteen years later, without warning, Robert comes home and Tom has to find the courage to stand against the brother he idolized.
Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.
You can contact Colette here:
Check in next week to read Lynne Shelby’s writing journey.
And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’m talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.