By Erin Petti
Everyone’s publishing journey is unique so it’s difficult to talk about a “typical” experience or a right way to do things. Here are a couple of milestones on my road to having my work on bookstore shelves. It’s still very new to me, this published author thing – and kind of fun to look back to see how it happened and how long it took!
NaNoWriMo 2011: I get up the guts to start writing a book. I’m determined to get to the end of one draft. I succeed! It’s rough – super rough. Also, too short. But I did it. December has me revising.
Spring 2012: I enter The Writer’s Voice competition on Twitter and am selected to be on Team Krista! Krista Van Dolzer is an amazing mentor and helps me understand where my query is lacking and how to shape it up. The contest garners my manuscript lots of agent attention! Yay! But no offers – boo.
Still Spring 2012: I get pregnant with my first kiddo! And sick. Super sick. There are a couple of fulls out with agents, but the story isn’t fully fleshed out and no offers come in. I’m too tired and sick to write or revise. I start to think I won’t pursue publication any further. It just seems like it should have happened for me already and it hasn’t.
Spring 2013: My baby is a baby! In the world! But I haven’t gone back to writing. Out of nowhere, a writer friend from Team Krista gets in touch and offers to read my whole MS. She gives some really great feedback. Nuts and bolts stuff, story stuff, stuff I need to hear. When I read her notes I’m inspired to go back and give Thelma Bee a good overhaul.
Summer 2013: There’s this #MSWL thing on Twitter – agents tweeting out things they’d love to see in a book. Laura Zats of the incomparable Red Sofa Literary is a brand new agent and she tweets something that resonates completely with me. I get the feeling she might love my book. I get nervous. I send her my query. She asks for the full.
Fall 2013: Oh dear god, she wants a phone call. I hide in a corner of my day-job office and shakily wait for the phone to ring when we’ve scheduled our chat. She is laid back, funny, and really, really loves my book. There are two other agent conversations but Laura feels like the right champion for Thelma Bee and her ghost hunting crew.
Christmas Eve 2013: I SIGN WITH LAURA! Glory, glory! It was a good Christmas. Laura and I revise for a while before going out on submission.
Fall 2014: Mighty Media Press trots into my life like a beautiful unicorn. They have some revision notes. I revise again (seeing a pattern here?) and they eventually offer to publish my book, The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee.
2015-2016: Edits, publicity, and writing, OH MY!
September 6, 2016: I’m standing in front of a gathering of my family and friends at Porter Square Books. Everyone is there for my launch party. There is much pie. There is some happy crying. Porter Square Books sells out of copies. My book baby is in the world. And hey, I’m pregnant again. And sick. But this time I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and there’s no way I’m ever going to stop writing.
Erin Petti lives by the ocean in Massachusetts and loves to read about magic, dinosaurs, folklore, and ghosts. She has a Masters in Education and a background in improvisational comedy. Erin lives with her husband, excellent toddler, and cat (who she suspects likes her better than she’s letting on). Her debut novel, The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee, was published by Mighty Media Press in September 2016.