My first draft was birthed as part of a writing contest. Each Labor Day weekend their is a "3-Day Novel Writing Contest", in 2006, the entry fee was $50. I knew there was a story in me but couldn't find the motivation or heart to write it down. Once I saw this contest advertised, something stirred in me. I decided to pay the money and register instantly. Of course, after the check was in the mail I regretted it but because I spent the money, I was committed.
At the end of three very long days I printed and submitted my entry. Seventy-six pages of emotional vomit to share Heidi's kidnapping from the sister's perspective. I never expected to win but knew I needed to get it out, so in my eyes, I was a success. One day I noticed an envelope from the contest with my name and address handwritten. "Does anyone write anything by hand anymore? Especially from a national writing contest?" The answer, yes.
Although I didn't win the contest, something more valuable was within the envelope. A handwritten note from one of the judges and contest organizers thanked me for entering with encouragement to finish writing my story. My book didn't meet their expectations for what they were looking for that particular year yet the judges all connected with my story and hoped I would finish and seek publication.
Fast forward two more years, 2010, this is when God grabbed my attention and my heart. Until writing this blog, I didn't realize the very month God revealed I was to write this book, was April. Of course I know it was April, because it was at our annual Spring Refresh that I saw the flyer for an upcoming writers' conference. God is so good. April can be a tough month and this is the same month I decided to seriously write and seek publication for my first book.
I attended this conference in July, 2010. I left inspired, motivated, determined, and very overwhelmed. I never realized how intense and involved the process of seeking publication was. There are multiple steps and many of these end with rejection. One thing I am thankful for continues to be the encouragement each rejection or fork in the road provided to me.
I never thought I would send my book to a publisher and they would instantly decide to publish my story but I never expected the steps necessary to even approach a publisher. You need a platform, book proposal, website, blog, a pitch, and of course a well written manuscript. Sadly, the last thing they see is your actual writing. I am thankful my parents raised me to understand that anything worth having is going to require work and perseverance.
Over six years later and my dream is coming to be a reality. I did submit my book to multiple publishers and even a literary agent. I'm blessed to say I received multiple "acceptances" yet the contracts did not honor God or Heidi, in my opinion.
God works in mysterious ways, this is so true. Not only did I decide to self-publish but some of the same editors from the publishing houses have provided editorial and publishing guidance to make Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey the best possible book it can be.
I am thankful to have the opportunity and support network to make my dream become a reality but I couldn't do it on my own.
Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey will be available on April 3, 2013 thanks to:
A God who provides
The encouragement of professional editors and publishers
Prayers of friends and family
Love of friends and family
Hard work and determination instilled by my parents and fueled by God
I pray you enjoy reading my first book when it is released. After Christmas arrangements for a book release party in Oswego will be finalized. A mystery book signing on April 3rd, in addition to the big celebration at The River's End Bookstore in Oswego, New York, will make this the best April 3rd our family has experienced since the fateful day we lost our Heidi.
My heart desires to help others hurting after the loss of a loved one. We all experience loss in our lives. Of course to lose Heidi is my greatest tragedy yet loss is loss. Do you have the heart to do what is necessary to heal and move on? How do you think reading my first book will help you through this process?