Last summer, during an “ask us anything” panel at the Cascade Writers workshop, an audience member asked the writers to discuss the “usual path to publication.” When the bemusement at this impossible question had subsided, we told her that there are as many answers to that as there are published authors. We continued sharing stories all weekend, and by the end of the workshop, this project was born.
In the pages to come, I have collected the unusual, amusing, inspirational, bizarre, even dreadful tales of how writers actually got published—and then what happened. There are missed connections, dead agents and editors, serendipity, technology woes, ignored advice, and deeply altered expectations; but most of all, there is persistence. If one thread unites all the essays in this book, it is that of authors who did not give up.
Though a second thread builds on the first: breaking in is only the start of the adventure. As the publishing landscape continues to change, seemingly faster all the time, established writers are facing canceled series, merging or vanishing houses, agents quitting the business, editors jumping ship, and the bold (and terrifying, and exciting) new world of self-publishing.
Where do we go from here? I’m sure I don’t know, in any detail; but I will say with confidence that the authors who stay in the game are the ones who remain as persistent as they had to be to get there in the first place.
I hope you find these collected stories as enjoyable, entertaining, and inspirational as I do!