Shari Schwarz . . . My Path to Publishing, Query Critique Giveaway as an Agent Intern

Shari Schwarz . . . My Path to Publishing, Query Critique Giveaway as an Agent Intern

path to publishing

We can’t tell you who it is, but . . .

Shari is an agent intern for one of the best agents in the industry! Read her story to gain valuable insights on the publishing process. Shari will give a query critique to one lucky winner selected randomly from the comments on this post!

About Shari Schwarz, Author, Editor, and Intern . . .

Shari Schwarz

Shari Schwarz lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE (Cedar Fort Publishing, April 12, 2016) is her debut which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play football, basketball, cup-stacking, or wrestling. She frequently dreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches or plotting out her next children’s book.

Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon

My Path to Publication . . .

imagesIn my fifth grade diary I have a list of goals written in the back. One is to write a book. And if you know anything about me, you know I love to dream…and I love to work toward my goals.

I started writing my book, THE LEDGE (now renamed to TREASURE AT LURE LAKE), December 10, 2013 after a quick facebook chat with a good friend of mine, Jenda Nye, who is also a writer. She encouraged me to start writing and, bonus! we could be writing partners!

The idea for my story was totally inspired by my boys and Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET. But I had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I wrote ‘The End’ on my first draft in February 2014, or what would happen when I plugged into the amazing writing community on Twitter in March 2014.

At that time, my parents were the first ones to give me valuable feedback and editing suggestions on my first draft, and I will always be so grateful for their support and guidance. Then, I sent out my first queries to literary agents in March 2014. Literally a year too early, but that’s what the learning process is all about…making lots of mistakes and learning from them. I’m thankful for each mistake along the way because they all have been a part of the path I’m on to becoming a better writer and story teller.

I entered TREASURE AT LURE LAKE in various online contests like #NestPitch, #JustPitchIt, #PitMad, #PitchSlam, #PitchMas, Operation Awesome, #AgentMatch, #SecretShop, Sub it Club pitch party (and those are just the ones I received requests from agents on) and queried widely over the next six months. R&REarly on in the query process I received two “R&R” (revise and resubmit) requests–one from an editor and one from an agent. While neither of them panned out in the end, they offered sound and generous advice that helped me shape the early drafts of TREASURE AT LURE LAKE.

RMSCBWIIn the fall of 2014, after getting feedback from at least 30 critique partners, getting numerous rejections from agents and just a couple of bites (requests for fulls), I went to the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference with my friend, Emily Moore, who I also met on Twitter but then got to know in real life! I learned so much at the conference, and Emily really helped me brainstorm ideas for some major changes in the story that got me excited again after enduring so many rejections of my work. It’s not easy putting your heart and soul into something and having a hundred people tell you ‘no, not quite right.’

One side of wisdom might say it’s time to throw in the towel, but this is a hard business to break into, so I kept plugging away. I had so many people encourage me to press on, not give up and try again!

In December 2014, after a couple of close calls with agents, I nearly gave up on TREASURE AT LURE LAKE. I had also finished writing the first draft of a new book and started on another. Discouraged and heartbroken, I went for a long hike where I stomped and cried and yelled at God. Why is this so hard? So frustrating? I hated getting my hopes up over and over again each time an agent seemed interested only to be let down and disappointed when they said no.

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So, I decided to let go and self-publish. By that time, I knew there were problems with my book, but I just couldn’t give up on Jack and Bryce (the boys in the story). I felt free and excited and a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of self-publication!

But then, in January 2015, an amazing online friend and critique partner, Sarah Floyd, told me not to give up and took a once over of the first few chapters of my manuscript. With her feedback, I was inspired to revise again and send out a small batch of queries. Full manuscript requests started to come in. I sent out more queries. More fulls were requested. Lots of waiting ensued!
So, back to the revision board…again and again. In March, one of my original critique partners, Sally Hughes Doherty, read through TREASURE AT LURE LAKE and gave me a thorough evaluation of my book which shed bright light on some problem areas I still had. With her brilliant advice, I revised again. A couple of contests and a few more full requests later, I felt like I was on the right track.

By this time, I wasn’t as prone to discouragement; my skin had grown thick. Plus, I had started reading manuscripts for a literary agent and could now see firsthand the numerous ways in which a manuscript just doesn’t cut it even if it is good writing or an amazing story. The idea of self-publishing became more and more of a possibility to me, and I started to research it.

TREASURE AT LURE LAKE Shari SchwarzThen one day, I saw an #MSWL call for submissions by an editor, Ashley Gephart, at Cedar Fort Publishing and decided to send TREASURE AT LURE LAKE to her on May 11th, 2015. By the end of May, I was completely shocked to receive an email saying they had accepted my story for publication! I literally could not believe it at first. I think I read that email ten times before it sunk in that it was real–not spam or a joke or someone who was going to change their mind a few days later.

After researching Cedar Fort, asking a million questions, talking to one of their authors and going through the contract, I’m thoroughly blessed and honored to say that I signed with Cedar Fort’s general release fiction. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is set for release on April 12, 2016.

 

A Note From Heather . . .

Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story! We can’t wait to read TREASURE AT LURE LAKE!

Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a query critique from Shari!

Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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134 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing that story! It’s hard to keep persevering amid rejections. Your story gives me renewed hope. And renewed inspiration to revise and revise.

    Post a Reply
    • Rochelle, I’m so glad to know that my story can give others hope. It’s oftentimes a long hard journey but when we all come together to lift each other up, it works and it’s wonderful! Best wishes to you on your writing. You can do it!!!

      xo Shari

      Post a Reply
    • OrWhat an inspirational story! Just reiterates how tough this industry is.
      I have written 3 children’s stories that I’m so passionate about. Like yours they are based on my own child. I love writing rhyming stories yet am a bit stuck as I’m not an illustrator and have reached a bit of a standstill. I’d love an experts opinion to give me the confidence to either push more to get a publisher or self-publish. Your story has certainly made me realise that I need to be prepared for rejection yet if I believe in my stories I must not give up! Thank you.

      Comment

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks for sharing, Lucy. Keep plugging away, researching and investing in a good critique community that specializes in children’s stories. There’s no way I could have gotten published without the help of a LOT of people!

        Best of luck to you!
        Shari

        Post a Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing your journey to publication, Shari! Your story is such a great reminder to keep working/revising/editing and not give up. Not sure if you’re answering questions here, but if so…Do you think giving comp titles in a query is essential? I’ve tried drafting query letters both ways and just wondered what you thought. Thanks again!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jenn,

      Thanks for the question…I don’t think giving comp titles is essential…especially if you don’t have really strong ones. Check to see if the agent you’re querying prefers them. Sometimes they will make a note of it.

      Hope that helps! Happy writing!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  3. Preservance and patience are hard lessons to live. Congratulations on your book!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your kind words. I think you’re able to persevere when you truly believe in something. I tried to give up on my story a couple of times but I just couldn’t let it go. I’ve since written a few other books (drafts) and one of them I’ve shelved with no qualms.

      Happy writing to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  4. Shari:
    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. It shows how perseverance and hard work really do pay off. It can be frustrating to keep going, after getting so many rejections. You put your heart and soul, countless hours of writing, editing and revising into your book, and it’s difficult when somebody tells you it’s just not what their looking for. As you mentioned, good critique partners are invaluable, so that’s what I’m focusing on right now, working with my CP’s to improve all of our novels. Thanks for your story and the inspiration to keep writing.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, Susan. I wish you and your cps all the best luck! It’s wonderful that you view it as working with them to improve all of your novels. I’m sure, with that kind of synergy, you will all succeed!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  5. Thank you for this encouraging story! It isn’t simply writing a hundred drafts. It’s also improving your craft with each one, like a musician practicing each day. You sum that up here with your journey. It’s lets the rest of us know what is possible.

    Post a Reply
    • You’re welcome, Debbie. I’m glad my journey gives hope to others. I learned a LOT about writing through all of those drafts, from all of my critique partners, from conferences, reading articles and books on the craft of writing, entering contests etc… It is a lot of work but it is most definitely possible! And so worth it!

      I wish you much writing success!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  6. Hi Shari. Congratulations on publications. I’m so happy you stuck with it and are sharing your lessons on perseverance. Thanks for sharing.

    Post a Reply
  7. Impressed with your commitment to persevere and accept criticism…which clearly led to an exciting end. Thanks for sharing your story. Easy to draw inspiration from you!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Andrew. I’m glad that my struggles are able to help others. Makes it even more worth it. We’re all in this together, and sharing our experiences is what oftentimes helped be get through the process.

      All the best to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  8. I LOVE Hatchet. Oh man, memories just came flooding back.
    This is a great reminder to believe in yourself and your work. Congratulations to you and I can’t wait to read your book!

    Beka

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Beka! Hatchet is definitely an inspiration to me as a writer. 🙂 I wish you the best in your writing!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  9. What an amazing journey and very insightful on the writing process. Most people don’t realize there’s more to the writing process than just writing the book – that’s the easy part! I’ve been querying for a couple months now and I’m still waiting on those replies, but I’m dedicated now. Hit me with your best shot! I know my query letter needs work, just need fresh eyes to tell me where to go from here.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Megan,

      So glad to hear you are digging in to the process! Good luck with your queries that are out there! I always tell people, too, that writing the story is the easy part.

      Happy writing!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  10. It means a lot to hear similar trials and tribulations from fellow authors. I’m in awe of your fight for the boys, Shari. I feel the same way. This was a great read. Thanks so much for sharing it. XOXO

    Post a Reply
    • So happy this resonates with you, Jo. We are all in this together. I love being able to help lift each other up…

      My very best to you on your writing!
      xo Shari

      Post a Reply
  11. What a wonderfully inspiring story! Thanks for sharing…there may be light at the end of the process!

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    • Thanks for the kind words, Meryl. There is light! It’s just hard to keep our eyes open and focusing on it all the time when there are dark, discouraging moments. I hope your writing is going well!

      Best to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  12. What a beautiful testimony! I think this is what every aspiring writer should hear that it is all about, revise, learn, revise, scream at God, and revise again. No one understands how difficult it is to write a publishable book than writers like you and I feel like I’m reading about myself, but I’m still at the Screaming at God part haha. I’m excited to follow the same path and reach that amazing moment where it finally pays off. Thank you for sharing and for the critique giveaway!

    Post a Reply
    • Ahh! I totally get it, Alyssa! You can do it. Keep plugging away and you’ll get there. Thank you for your comment, and you’re very welcome. I’m happy to share, especially when I know that my journey can help others see that there is a way through.

      My best to you!
      xo Shari

      Post a Reply
  13. Thank you for giving us a window into the “guts” of this journey. Kudos to you for continuing forward through the (seemingly) endless R&R. It can happen, and it’s so inspiring to hear from someone it has happened to. Good luck moving forward!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Julie! Now I’ll have to do it all over again! Hopefully, all that I learned last time will stick. 🙂

      Best to you on your journey!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  14. Patience and rewriting, that’s what it takes. And skill. And luck. Congratulations on your success.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Debra! It’s quite the mixture, isn’t it, to get to the end point!

      Best to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  15. Congrats on the release of the book.

    Post a Reply
  16. Thanks for sharing & congrats on the book!

    Post a Reply
  17. Thank you Ms. Schwarz for sharing your encouraging story. What I found most interesting is you appeared to keep three distinct options on the table throughout…querying agents, submitting to publishers and gearing up to self-publish. I’m doing much the same thing. Advice from other forums suggested to pick one path and focus solely on that. Apparently there were authors being signed by agents only to discover that publishers to whom the agent desired to submit has already reviewed the manuscript.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      I was definitely open to going directly through a publisher, but I only queried pubs (just 5 of the 101 queries I sent) that requested my manuscript through contests I was in…aside from the one that I got my contract through, ironically. I knew that I wanted this book out in the world and was open-minded as to the best route towards that goal. I don’t think, for the reason you stated, that it’s wise to send widely to publishers and agents at the same time. I’d focus on one (agents first) and then when that avenue was dried up, refocus on the other.

      Best of luck to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  18. I love hearing stories of perseverance. So often, getting to that published stage is all about not giving up. 🙂 Way to go!

    Post a Reply
    • Yep. You’re right, Riley. No author who gave up was published. 🙂

      Thanks!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  19. I find it amazing that you made so many friends who were willing to read your work and give you helpful critiques. I am finding it hard to develop the same network. My parents are gone; my husband and sons too busy; most of my friends don’t read fantasy. How did you make so many generous friends?

    Post a Reply
    • Great question, Sarah! I would recommend not using family and friends as critique partners/beta readers…it’s hard for them to be unbiased. I networked a LOT with the writing community on Twitter. I entered writing contests, like Brenda’s, and many of the other entrants were also looking for critique partners. I also used a site called Critique Circle where the critiquers are anonymous…but I got to know some more personally. The vast majority of my critique partners have been online. That works well for me. But finding a local critique group can be a great solution, too. I know of “MeetUp” groups in our community that you can just join in on if there’s room. Also, SubItClub has a great fb page and separate page for asking for critique partners. These are all avenues I have used. But good critique partners are truly worth their weight in gold!

      Good luck!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  20. Hi Shari! Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s so helpful to know not to give up, to keep revising and learning and working at it, even if it’s the umpeenth go around. Will hang in there, for sure!

    Post a Reply
  21. Thank you for sharing your story. I started the query process three months ago after working on my debut novel for 14 months. So far, no real bites. So stories like yours inspire me to hang in there and keep editing and keep querying.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Christine,

      Congratulations on writing your story! I hope you get some good feedback at least. Either way, hopefully you’ve found some good critique partners or beta readers. They can really shed light on what works well and/or any problem areas. I hope you hear some good news soon!

      Best,
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  22. I’m a bit blown away by your story, particularly the degree to which you edited your work over and over. I thought my process had been exhaustive (and even successful!) but maybe my empty querying cup means I need another review, another round or seven of edits. I want to walk in the woods and stomp and cry at the moment. But I’ll get my groove back and keep pushing on.

    Post a Reply
    • Good for you, Keri. Keep on going. You’ll totally get there! The stomp and the walk with be good, but the end result will be even better! Thanks for sharing.

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  23. Thank you for sharing your path to publishing. This process is brutal, but giving up isn’t an option.

    Post a Reply
  24. I also found your dedication to your characters inspiring. I feel the same way about mine. But for telling the world their story I wouldn’t be writing at all. So while I can appreciate the numerous suggestions “your first novel is destined for the drawer” I simply can’t–and won’t–accept it. That’s the main reason I keep open the same options you did.

    Post a Reply
    • Yep, I get this, Mark. The heart behind my story was one that wasn’t going anywhere. You’ll get there. Hope you have found some good critique partners in the process!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  25. Thank you for sharing your story! It was very inspirational to read. For me, I’m in that rut of self doubt and questioning if this dream is reachable sometimes. Stories like this keep me going. Congrats on the book!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Kari. I know it can be sooo disheartening at times. Keep you head up, remember why you started writing and you’ll get there!

      xo Shari

      Post a Reply
  26. I loved HATCHET too, and am thrilled that it offered inspiration to your story! Congratulations! April 12 is coming up quick!

    This is definite inspiration for those of us still in the trenches, and it shows the benefits of editing your own work. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your comment. I love the quote that says, “There is no writing. Only rewriting.” It’s a lot of work, but you’ll get there! Good luck in the trenches. I’ll be joining you soon with my next book! 🙂

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  27. Good critiques are crucial! Especially from someone who hasn’t seen the ms and has a great deal of writing expertise. That may be my direction if my current querying, with more responses than before, still isn’t successful.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Janet,

      That’s great to hear that your current version is more successful than the last! You’re definitely doing something right! Best of luck to you!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  28. Just what I needed to hear today! It’s good to know you can always edit and make your story better, even when you think you’ve already worked it to death. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Erin,

      I’m so glad this was helpful for you today. It’s a hard road, but yes, you can make ANYthing happen in your story. Sometimes we just need to step back a bit, or get some fresh eyes, to help us see what that ANYthing could be! Best of luck to you!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  29. Great story about persistence! Thanks for sharing.

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  30. Thank you, and best wishes!

    Post a Reply
  31. This is inspirational. I have tried over and over again to please agents and critique partners and can’t seem to get it right. Some say they like the beginning, but change the age group. Others say they don’t like the beginning – too dark and heavy. It really makes me want to throw in the towel. Thank you so much for a “hopeful” story.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Lu,

      I struggled with “pleasing” everyone when I started out on my first drafts. But I often received conflicting critiques as well. In the end, I’ve learned to be open to hearing every critique but only going with what really settles well with me. Sometimes I don’t know if something will really feel right in the story until a week or even a month goes by. It’s such a subjective process, but in the end you will be the one who lives with your final story, so make sure it is true to the heart of the story you want to tell.

      I hope that helps a bit. Best of luck to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  32. Thanks for this Shari. I feel as deeply committed to the two novels I’ve written about the same MC. I have started to question my sanity, wondering if not giving up after so many “close calls” but ultimately, rejections was just stubbornness and not persistence. Your journey reassures me that it’s not time yet, to give up. Thanks for your story.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Suzanne,

      Your commitment will pay off in the end. Having close calls is a good sign. Keep at it and you will get there!

      Thanks for sharing and best of luck to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  33. This is a good reminder and nudge to keep on revising and submitting. I’ve had a lot of similar experiences, close calls, hopes up, and then “not quite.” I even did decide to self publish one of my books. I admire your perseverance.

    Post a Reply
    • It sounds like you’re close, Sylvia! Those close calls are a good sign, although heartbreaking. I hope that self-publishing was a good experience for you. It really can be the best route for some people…or some books. Good luck to you on your future publications!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  34. Firstly, congratulations! It’s inspiring for an emerging author to hear stories like that. I read a quote once ‘professional writers keep going’. Your article gives me courage as I’m terrified my book is terrible. I have a fantastic writing group who help keep me going. As you say, it’s the people who encourage you and give you feedback that we need to thank over and over again. I’m so inspired by your article I just booked to attend the Writers Digest Conference in NYC – to pitch my novel! I live in Australia so this is a big deal finically and psychologically. I’m working on a second draft at the moment (so many plot holes!), but I’ll get there. I have to. Aug 12 is looming. No doubt I’ll be screaming into a forest just like you one day and if this happens I’ll think of your story and feel just a little bit stronger to keep submitting. Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • Oh my gosh, Marie! That’s awesome that you’re taking such a big leap! You can do it. I admire your faith…add that to perseverance and improving your craft and you’ll be sure to succeed! I wish you safe travels and happy writing!

      xo Shari

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks! If I get some good feedback (or, dare I say, an agent) – I’ll certainly let you know 🙂

        Post a Reply
  35. Huge congrats, Shari!

    Those close calls are so frustrating, and over time it’s hard to remain confident and optimistic. You are so talented, and I knew you were very, very close. I’m glad my critique helped you stay on your path to publication!

    Post a Reply
    • Dear Sarah,

      God sent you to me….like you’re my writing angel. 🙂 Thank you for your support.

      xo Shari

      Post a Reply
  36. CommentThanks, Shari. I am not writing a novel. I’m writing a PB manuscript. I’m amazed at how many critiques something usually needs to go through before it gets to that almost ready to submit stage. If I know anything, I know one day I’ll have a published PB. I’m dedicated. Like you said, it takes more than dedication. It takes thick skin and perseverance. Thank you for your sharing your personal journey.

    Post a Reply
    • You’re welcome, Sharon. I like your dedication and belief in yourself and your journey. I’m writing PBs too, so I feel your revision pain/excitement (because it sure can be both, can’t it?).

      Can’t wait to see your books on the shelves!!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  37. What a journey. Thanks for sharing. I hope to submit my MG Adventure novel to you someday.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Dee,

      You’re welcome. I’m just an intern, but I love MG Adventures, of course! Best of luck with it!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  38. Fantastic story, thanks so much for sharing. I needed to hear a story like this, as I’m kind of having my own go-on-a-hike-and-yell-at-God moment. Thank you for sharing your inspirational journey. And huge congrats on a well-deserved debut!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Stacy. I hope your ‘hike-and-stomp’ will help you push though this time. You know I totally get it and I’ll throw in an extra stomp for you. 🙂 Best of luck and happy writing.

      Sharii

      Post a Reply
  39. I admire your unwavering perseverance! It renews my hope in a way, especially now that I’m buried under a pile of rejections.

    Post a Reply
    • I hope that my story can show just how hard this process is but that there is a way through…even though it is different for many people. But it takes many people to publish a book, a village really. I never knew how many people were involved in the creation and publication of a book until now. Phew!

      Best to you,
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  40. Oh, I had to laugh at your comment regarding screaming at God. I hear you, Shari! Maybe we should all meet up and holler to the heavens! Seriously though, after the rounds of critique partners and the countless edits, you have encouraged me to not throw my manuscript at the wall but to persevere with the grey hair inducing process of querying. Heart-felt congrats on your success too!

    Post a Reply
    • Yeah, Rebecca, maybe if we have a yelling-at-the-heavens convention we’ll get somewhere! 😉 I hope the next steps for you bring clarity! Good luck!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  41. I admire your unwavering perseverance! It renews my hopes of ever being published, especially now that I’m buried under a pile of rejections.

    (Sorry about the repeated comment. Wrong email address in the previous one.)

    Post a Reply
    • I know how that pile of rejections feels. I hope you can take them for what they offer and then push them aside!

      Good luck and happy writing to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  42. Very inspiring!! I keep on foraging in my own endeavors despite the odds you mention. All I can do is what you did: hold on.

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, Traci. Keep writing, keep revising…keep doing what you LOVE and you will get there!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  43. I’m so grateful to read of your persevering love for your work. Such grit! My best friend wrote a best seller from the start and keeps having successes, while I’m at manuscript three and not close to published. I try not to compare. Try to focus on each of us having our own journey, our own time to shine, but it’s hard to push away the occasional sense of my soul being too crushed to try again. In the end, it’s the love of writing that brings me back, as it obviously has for you. Good luck with your sales.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Karen. That’s hard to be in that spot where you’re waiting for your turn. Yes, we all have different journeys and so many things to learn. I’m glad to hear you love writing…don’t ever lose that! I wish you well on your path and new blessings and surprises to keep you going!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  44. Thank you Shari! I am a writer and have participated in a lot of those same Twitter contests this past September/October. I received fabulous feedback, a partial request and two fulls that didn’t pan out. Heart break ensued. Discouragement and self loathing followed. I was already half way through another book that I’m totally in love with but a little scared to jump back in again. I was in the process of deleting a bunch of junk emails and some blogs that I just didn’t have time to read. For some reason I was drawn to read your story. Even if I’m not chosen for the critique I’m so grateful I read this. It’s just what I needed to get off my ass;-) Thanks so much!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jeannie,

      I’m so glad my story helped you kick it in gear! 🙂 I know there were many stories that inspired me along the way when I was at the lowest of lows. Have a wonderful day and happy writing!

      Shari

      Post a Reply
  45. Thanks for sharing your story of perseverance–an inspiration for everyone in the query trenches. And a reminder that if something’s not working, it might mean it needs to be reworked–again and again and again. So much better than giving up on it! Best wishes on the release of TREASURE AT LURE LAKE!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Valerie! The revising process is where it’s at! I can’t believe how many times my first idea wasn’t my best idea when writing! We need to dig deep and often that requires someone else to help us brainstorm and to push us. Couldn’t have done this without a lot of help!

      Best to you!
      Shari

      Post a Reply
  46. Copy that. Currently in what feels like an endless cycle of revision based on beta reader input before I even START querying, so it’s nice to hear from those who’ve made it to the other side! Cheers to you for sharing!

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    • There is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel! 🙂 Keep your eyes on the light…and the reason why you started writing and it will help you get through.

      Good luck!
      Shari

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  47. I really needed to read an uplifting story like yours. I sat down to revise (yet again), but I decided to read this post before I started, and now I’m so glad I did. Your perseverance is inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

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    • I’m so glad my story was encouraging for you, Roxanne! Have a blast revising….sooo much possibility in that stage! Anything could happen! Good luck to you!

      Shari

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  48. Thanks for sharing this story. It’s so hard not to get discouraged, but I like how you chose to learn from your experiences and kept working on revising and improving your manuscript. I look forward to reading it!

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    • Thank you Rebecca. Yes, we have to keep learning, revising, being open to critique, giving our stories time to ‘marinate’ so to speak. Thanks for your comment and happy writing!

      Shari

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  49. Thanks for sharing, Shari! What an inspirational story! I love hearing stories about authors who stuck to revising and eventually made it. It gives me hope for my books one day! Congrats on your upcoming publication! 😀

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  50. It’s stories like these that make me want to continue the journey. Well done and here’s to hoping the book is a success.

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  51. Way to keep plugging away, Shari! I’m glad that TREASURE AT LURE LAKE found a pub home. The cover art is very appealing. 🙂

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  52. Congratulations! Perseverance really does make a difference. I had a critique partner that had me cut out the second half of my manuscript and I felt physically ill every time I opened the file. I didn’t know the story anymore and it took some time to figure it out and keep going. I too have submitted to contests – never getting
    into any of them except for twitter contests. Still going, still submitting and now working on a new manuscript. Your path to publication is inspiring!

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    • Hi Julia,

      Keep plugging away. Sometimes it does take writing a new story or two to get to that magical one! Don’t give up and you WILL get there!

      Best,
      Shari

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  53. Shari, it was great to see your full story here. Hatchet is one of my favorites, too. I can’t wait to read yours now that it’s here! Now I’m waiting until my kids get back from a cruise so we can read it together because that’s what we did with Hatchet.

    And no wonder you sounded so familiar when we started talking, I’ve followed that same path you’re talking about. We’ve probably been in the same *places* often in the past few years. It’s good to know your hard work paid off!

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    • Hi Sherry,

      Ha! Our paths have probably crossed many times. I think that means we need to meet face to face! Thanks so much for your support and your awesome cp-ness!

      Shari

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  54. I’m in the middle of round 3 of revision (and finally hired a professional editor), thank you for the encouragement!

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  55. Hi Shari, thanks for sharing your story. It is one I really needed to hear this week as I have just decided to shelve my MG survival story. I queried it for a year after placing in several literary contests, but no bites. I recently had the full ms critiqued by a professional editor, made further revisions, and still keep getting rejections. But after reading your journey, I’m thinking that if you kept going in spite of all your rejections, maybe I can, too. 🙂

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    • Hi Debbie,

      Ahh, that’s so hard. So hard to know when to keep going and when it’s time to throw in the towel. I do know that your heart has to be in your story 100%…if it is, I wouldn’t give up. I’d be really interested in hearing about your survival story. Most of my favorite MGs are survivals.

      Good luck!
      Shari

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      • Thanks for the encouragement Shari. And I can’t wait to read your story!

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  56. Great news after a long road of rewriting and resubmitting.

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  57. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story, Shari. It gives the rest of us hope and the encouragement to keep going! Congratulations!!

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  58. Well done. I have been writing this novel since 1997, interrupted by babies, a demanding career, and a serious illness. (And still I rise.) I am always inspired to hear of other’s struggles to publication because I feel less alone then. Congrats again!

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  59. Never give up! Thanks for sharing your story Shari!

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  60. Oh gosh. I really needed to read this tonight. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by the very idea of the process, I’m still so early in the process, trying to hammer out the first draft, and it’s just so daunting to think about all the things that stand between my little words and my big hopes for them. I keep feeling like I’ve let it go to long, that I’m somehow too old and should have started this process years ago if I wanted it to succeed (which is so silly, i know, but there you are). So, anyway, I say all that to say thanks for sharing your story, it makes me want to keep working, and that’s a pretty big deal some days. 🙂

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  61. That’s a really great story. I’ve worked hard on learning how to write a query letter, but I know I’m still not up to par on the skill. I’m fairly certain I’m going to self-publish because there aren’t many looking for my genre. But I still want to be able to write a great query. At this point, it’s a matter of determination and a desire to not suck at this writing skill.

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  62. What a great story – thank you for the inspiration!

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  63. Thank you for your inspirational post. I guess it is worth it to revise, revise, revise! I guess I won’t give up.

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  64. I’ve finally finished the manuscript of my 80,000 dystopian novel. At first I was daunted by the idea of the long revision and querying process ahead, but your story has inspired me to keep going, no matter how rejects I get. Thanks for sharing.

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  65. Thanks for sharing your story – I’m just hitting the query trenches myself right now so your post came at exactly the right time 🙂

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  66. Great story of how valuable both perseverance and willingness to accept critiques are. Congratulations.

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  67. Thank you! I’m always inspired by reading other writers’ paths to publication. Best wishes as Treasure at Lure Lake sets sail today!

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  68. I appreciate your perseverance. Edit, revise, repeat. After almost 20 years of writing & sporadically subbing, I have 2 picture books published with Tiger Tales Books. I tell people that I am on the “Life Begins At 50” tour.

    Good luck in finding an agent. I am trying to do the same…researching agents & taking the query-plunge is a “whole’ ‘nother’ kind of perseverance.

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