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The Publishing Train

We’ve all experienced how slow the publishing industry moves sometimes. It seems like it chugs along. It takes forever to hear back from literary agents. It takes forever to hear back from publishers. It takes forever to get your contract, your edits, and your book cover. And it really feels like forever until you hold your book in your hands for the first time and hear that someone out there is reading it! And even if it isn’t actually taking that long for all of this to happen, it sure does feel like it, doesn’t it?

Publishing feels like a slow moving train, that’s for sure!

But suddenly, when all the stars align, or fate steps in or whatever, the train picks up speed, you hang on for dear life, and hope you don’t fly out one of the car doors!

Maybe you sign with a literary agent and suddenly your mind is swirling at the possibilities! You work frantically with your new agent to polish up your manuscript and make it submission ready.

Or you get word of an offer and then your mind really swirls. You sign the contract  and though the train may slow for a bit, it inevitably picks up speed again as you head into the editing cave where you experience deadlines and decisions.

And then there’s that point where ARCs are out and bloggers and reviewers and booksellers and librarians are reading and it feels like the train has stopped. There’s not much you can do about the fact that people are reading except, keep writing, keep working, and keep making connections.

There are so many speed ups and slow downs to publishing that it would take forever to list them all here. But I really believe that the best way to handle it all is to be flexible and know that the train is moving—even if it doesn’t feel like it. It will speed up for you when you least expect it, at a time that it’s meant to.

Some might say my train didn’t start moving until I signed with a literary agent. But now that I look back, I know that isn’t true. My train started moving when I opened up a clean notebook and jotted down ideas for my first book, Megan in Middle School over ten years ago and it kept moving with every step forward I took. Like when I wrote actual words in that notebook and somehow turned them into story. Like when I enrolled in my first local SCBWI writers conference and it’s local chapter RACWI. Like when I joined my first critique group, and then my second. When I started this blog. When I wrote a second manuscript and made it better than the first. When I queried and queried some more. When I wrote my third manuscript and made it better than my second. When I met my future critique partners.  When I listed to feedback and knew my writing was getting better but it wasn’t quite there yet. Like when I spent hours upon hours revising anywhere and everywhere as much as I could.

My train sure felt slow then. It felt like getting a book published would never happen for me, yet I still believed that if I worked hard enough I would figure out how to write a better story. And so now looking back I know that during all of those times when my train felt stalled, it wasn’t stalled at all. All the necessary things were happening. It was moving—even if the speed was not as fast as I would have liked.

If this feels like you, let me be the one to tell you. Keep going. Do whatever it takes to move forward. And if it feels like you’re stalled on your own journey to publication, you probably aren’t. You may need to take a step off the train for a week or so to get some fresh air, but you definitely need to get back on. That’s  the only way your train will ever pick up speed.

Some days now I feel like my train is at maximum speed. There are so many things I need to be doing to help Spin the Golden Light Bulb have a successful go at it. There are blog tours to participate in and  bookstores and libraries to visit—just to help spread the word about its very existence! Social media is a big deal now, of course, and that in itself is a crazy train too. I’ll be spreading the word about author visits soon and seriously the list goes on and on. But I’m not saying these things to discourage you. It’s a wild and crazy ride for sure… but when I step of the train just for a few minutes to read messages from people who have read my book, I can’t help but get choked up a little—and to smile bigger than I should probably because this is what I’ve dreamed of for so long.

Spin the Golden Light Bulb- Dream Big
How cute is this notebook that practically matches my book’s main quote?

And just when I think I’m managing all that being published entails, I’m riding this speeding train just fine, I remember that Spin the Golden Light Bulb is not the only book I have making its way into the world this year! My publishing train is accelerating at warped speed now and whether I’m ready or not (because really, who ever is?!) big stuff is happening and it’s not stopping any time soon! It’s hard not to feel grateful, even when I feel overwhelmed.

So on that note, I hope you’ll stop back again this week. I have fun stuff to share with all of you!!

Thanks for stopping in today. You guys are the best. I’d love to hear where you are when it comes to your own publishing train. Comment below. It always helps to know other writers are riding along with you too! And don’t forget to click on the link to follow my blog. That way you’ll be notified when I post again. 🙂

Cheers!

Jackie ❤

 

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