Pages

Monday, January 3, 2022

Persistence is Key – by Janet Raye Stevens


Happy New Year YAOTL’ers and welcome to 2022! This month’s theme is, fittingly, out with the old and in with the new. New year, new projects, and a new word to guide my writing journey—persistence. Well, not really a new word, since persistence has been the story of my writing journey since day one.

I’ve been at this writing thing a long, long time. I sent out my first query letter in 2006, back when queries went via snail mail and traditional publishing was the only way to go. I queried a major publisher with my first novel, a YA about a Scooby gang that takes on an immortal, soul-sucking demon. A surprisingly fast few weeks later, a thin self-addressed envelope landed in my mailbox. What I expected to be a rejection was an enthusiastic note from the editor, asking to read the full manuscript. Well, that was easy, I thought. Next stop, New York Times best-seller.

Haha…no. I sent the manuscript, got a rejection months later, and my writing career has been a study in persistence ever since.

After realizing my immortal, soul-sucking demon story suffered from terminal first-book-itis, I tucked it under my bed and moved on. Undaunted, I wrote and revised a bunch of novels and short stories, started twice as many more, and queried, queried, queried. In short, I persisted.

The ups and downs since then have been many, both personal and professional. I’ve packed up and moved four times (including one jaunt halfway across the country), seen my kids graduate high school and college and move onto their adult lives, and I said farewell to some precious pets and beloved family members. I let my hair go gray. In between, I wrote.

I had some success in the form of several short stories published. I got The Call from an agent, who called back two days later to say they’d changed their mind. Got The Call again several years later that moved my career forward, but ultimately didn’t work out. I got The Call from an agent for a third time and this time it stuck, but still no traditional publishing deal.

At the beginning of 2021, I made the huge decision to go all-in with self-publishing. All-in means I didn't just dip my toe into the indie publishing pool, I chose to jump off the highest diving board I could find and publish three books in the space of three months. And since that wasn't challenging enough, I released three books in *three* different genres: a sweet contemporary Christmas romance, a World War II-set Terminator meets Somewhere in Time time travel adventure, and a historical suspense with a paranormal twist, also set in WWII. 

 
[l-r: COLE FOR CHRISTMAS, BERYL BLUE, TIME COP, A MOMENT AFTER DARK]

It's been an often hectic, sometimes scary, sometimes frustrating, frequently exhilarating journey, and always, always satisfying. My persistence paid off. I achieved my goals. But there’s still challenging work to do. My journey continues in 2022 as I plan to publish three more books. 

Nevertheless, I’ll persist.


Janet Raye Stevens writes smart, suspenseful, and stealthily romantic time travel, mystery, paranormal, and historical fiction for all ages. 

Connect with Janet and discover her books at: https://janetrayestevens.com/   

4 comments: