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Writing for joy, not for publication

Writing for joy, not for publication

This is a guest post by Ladies Who Critique member, Lisa Amowitz. Her book BREAKING GLASS was just sold to Spencer Hill Press and will be released in the near future. Remember folks, you saw her here first! 😉


Take it away Lisa…


This past Wednesday, the sale of my YA noir ghost story BREAKING GLASS to Spencer Hill Press was announced on Publisher’s Marketplace. Yesterday I signed and mailed the contract to my agent, Victoria Marini.


BREAKING GLASS is the story of Jeremy Glass, a troubled high school track star. When his crush disappears Jeremy becomes convinced she’s been murdered by his best friend, only to be haunted by her ghost.


Until about eight years ago, my main interest and mode of self-expression was art, yet I always wrote. After college I filled spiral notepads with my scribblings until years later when I decided to write a childrens’ book so I’d have something to illustrate.  Too bad I didn’t understand the market I was writing for. Eventually, I bumbled into an online writing group that helped me craft a manuscript, which got me my first agent request.


After four years of relentless effort, an agent finally signed me for my third book. But after eight tumultuous months parted ways by mutual agreement.

It felt like my ship had come in, then left without me.


But I kept writing. In early 2010, with my fourth book, nearly finished, I entered a Writer’s Digest contest and tied for runner up.  I then began to query, and proceeded to operate in a manner that flies in the face of every bit of wisdom I have ever heard. I sent out 90 queries all at once and got requests from about 30% of them. And the emails requesting phone calls started coming in. No offers, just requests to revise.


But I knew this meant I was getting closer.


At the end of July came the email from Victoria offering representation. I was skeptical. I was revising for other agents. She was new and really young. But I couldn’t help thinking how good she made me feel about my writing. In the end, I signed with her. In my heart, I knew I’d made the right choice. She got me. She got my writing.


But my fourth book did not sell. So I wrote BREAKING GLASS. The minute I typed the words THE END, I knew it was better than anything else I had written before.
But even that wasn’t enough. So, I wrote my sixth book.


Finally, after eight years of toil, we got the offer from Spencer Hill Press who unabashedly loved BREAKING GLASS.


When I first started writing, I was in some kind of a mad rush to be published as if I was being timed. I was certain that I had written the most genius book of all time and simply had to tell the world about it.  Sure, right. It stunk!


I think we all have stories inside us. The problem is —how you weave your tale is critical. Learning the craft of writing takes time, discipline and lots of guidance from others with more experience.


Learn your craft. READ. Go to conferences. Take writing classes. Write EVERY DAY. Find others you trust and develop the thick hide of an old rhinoceros. AND NEVER GIVE UP. Rejection is not the end; it’s a reminder that you still have a way to go on your journey.


One more thing! I am holding a contest on my blog — I am giving away a free blog banner custom design and a partial read from Victoria Marini.  For details visit me at:

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4 thoughts on “Writing for joy, not for publication

  1. Wow. An aspiring story.

    My editor tells me that the publishing industry is always slow. (I am currently considering self publishing.)

    Whenever I am feeling discouraged I think about the street musicians I have encountered. Because if that isn’t a brave commitment to joy I don’t know what is.

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