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Navigate the Challenges of Publishing by Falling in Love with Writing.

typewriter keys that spell story

Writers love to create stories. We also love to see our work out in the world. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

Writing is this beautiful process of discovery. You create worlds and get to know characters who live in your mind for months or even years. It's art and creation from your deepest emotions.

Publishing is a business.

How do authors handle being a creative in the sales-based world of publishing? We don't. Not very well, at least. Every author I know struggles with this.

One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn these past few years is that the best book you could ever write may never snag a contract. Improving your skills and excelling in your craft, while wonderful, doesn't always lead to a big win either. So many factors are out of our control. The business is dictated by what readers want and what publishers think readers want, and our little feelings don't matter.


me, leaning on my desk, staring at the camera

I reached a moment recently that I could no longer outrun. All the bruises I've collected over the years from agent and publisher rejections had broken me down. They had rocked my confidence to its very core. And for an already terribly insecure person, this may as well have been a throat punch. Thanks, anxiety brain.

No one could make this better for me. I stripped away all the fear and hurt and I asked myself, why are you doing this? Because I love storytelling. That's always been the answer. Because I love learning and improving. Because writing offers me a glimpse into a part of myself I can't normally access. Writing heals me, and I'll be damned if I let anyone stand in the way of that.

Writing historical fiction is a nice little distraction. You're immersed in a place and time that feels so wildly different than yours, yet themes and struggles of your life seem to arise in your words. Your characters struggle to find answers you've always questioned. For me, writing digs its hands into the dark ugly parts of trauma and gives the younger me a giant hug.

I have to focus on the one and only thing I have control over in this wild process, which is my work. My goals are no longer about things only gatekeepers can make happen. My goals are about me, and working on my craft.

The barriers to traditional publishing are astounding. A recent article by Elle Griffin detailed the inner workings of the big publishing houses and let me tell you, it's grim. The reasons to doubt our chances are immense.

And yet, I don't doubt my storytelling. I love my stories. I love that I keep learning and growing, and I'm excited to see what happens next. Somewhere in that mess of a moment, I decided to invest in myself.

You see, publishers want a marketable hook, a big platform, a built-in readership. They want a product to sell.

I want to tell a meaningful story.

I recommitted to the love of writing, and it's taken me back to all the things I love: adventure stories of badass women in history. I no longer write for gatekeepers. I write for me.

Every reader who picks up our books gives us a jolt of life. Every review and message and newsletter subscriber is a reminder to keep going.

Keep writing. Keep getting bruised.

Head down. Write more. And someday, that yes will come knocking.


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