“What’s a writer like you doing in a place like this?” The white rabbit asked.
“Somebody told me this is the road that leads to publication.”
“Really? How long have you been on it?”
“Couple of lifetimes.”
“Oh dear. Any luck yet?” Said the rabbit, his eyes gleaming with curiosity.
“Not so far. And once I find the son-of-a-bitch that talked me into to this, I’m gonna…”
“Whoops! Gotta go. I see my agent is calling me. Looks like we’ve got an offer. It’s been nice talking to you.”
And with that the Rabbit of Publication disappeared down the rabbit hole.
That about sums it up, doesn’t it? A writer lost in the magical world of thinking, “If I only do this, say that, write this, follow this road, I’ll be published.” And now the traveler having been on this road for a couple of lifetimes is weary, cynical and angry. But reading between the lines, we also see the traveler is still on the road. They didn’t say they were getting off it.
Such has been my path to fictional publication. It seems to elude me, tease me. It builds up my hopes only to smack them down again.
Three years ago I attended my first writer’s conference. Colorado Gold they called it.
I stepped onto the golden road as a newbie. My newbie nametag was so shiny and bright it could be seen blazing in the hallways. Filled with the encouragement of my mentor and friend, I knew I was in my right place. This was the place where books, stories, novels and legends were created. I was simply happy to be there.
Everyone was so nice to me. People came out of the woodwork to greet me, show me around, answer my questions. I was home. And I was armed with an idea, and several thousand words on the page of which I was going to pitch to agent. Not only was it my first conference, it was my first pitch too. I just knew I was going to be wildly successful. Sound familiar? Ah the bliss of naiveté!
The pitch was successful. To a point. The word count was too short. Tighten it up, extend it and get back to me. Sure. No problem. I can do that!
Three years later I’m still searching for that elusive “Yes, we would love to publish your novel.” I’ve cried, torn up my office, thrown things and tried to convince myself this is dumbest, stupidest quest we’ve ever set our feet upon.
But something else has happened too. I’ve continued to attend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. My world of friends and knowledge has expanded exponentially. I’ve continued to have success as a non-fiction writer. And I’ve learned tools and skills to help me keep going.
For those things alone the journey has been worth it. I’m in for the long haul, as long as I can stop chasing white rabbits.
Najah Lightfoot is a contributing author for Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing. Her non-fiction articles appear in their Magical Almanac, Witches’ Companion and Spell-A-Day series.
When she is not busy crafting articles for Llewellyn, she is busy polishing her fictional stories and manuscripts, hoping they will someday find their forever home. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and lives in Denver, Colorado.