How does a writer decide whether to self-publish or pursue traditional these days? This may be the #1 question I get at writers workshops. I love this Moment because Dorothy Hayes did both–and figured out in a very visceral way which path was right for her. Once she did, she went after it with everything she had…including time. Three cheers, Dot. May your Moments keep on coming, and thanks for making Suspense Your Disbelief one of yours.
Thanks, Jenny for asking about my Made It Moment.
I had to self-publish my first book, Animal Instinct. That was way back in 2006, before the publishing world upheaval, and the onslaught of e-book publishing opportunities. But I did have a Made It Moment when animal rights organizations I had respected for decades wrote glowing reviews of my book and posted them on their websites. This amazed and humbled me. They are still there.
I had, however, a crisis of faith.
Should I write another book if I can’t get it published?
I soon realized that I didn’t have a choice. I had to write. Since a kid, I had to write things down; as a reporter for five years, I honed my craft. As a staff writer for a national animal protection organization, I not only got paid to write, but paid to write about the animals I loved and respected.
I decided, however, that writing in the ever popular mystery genre would up my publishing chances. Two years later, Murder at the P&Z was finished and I discovered that Mainly Murder Press focused on New England writers and accepted unagented submissions. I didn’t have an agent, and I lived in Stamford, CT. This was perfect.
But submissions weren’t being accepted for the time being. So, for almost a year, I continued to send out query letters only to receive very respectful rejections. It wasn’t looking good. But I was determined not to self-publish again.
During the summer, I attended a writers’ workshop as a member of Sisters In Crime. I was advised to switch the first and second chapters. Then Mainly Murder Press announced that it would accept submissions in August. I emailed the first 50 pages of my manuscript on August 1.
After several weeks of heart-stopping communications, I got the email that said: “I’m delighted to tell you…” Let’s just say, I was screaming around the house. It only took me seventeen years to get here!
That was the original Made It Moment with this book.
When I realized, however, that a book dealer for the Malice Domestic Conference this May will stock Murder at the P&Z for mystery fans to purchase, and that the Wilton Library invited me to speak and will stock my books, and my local library is also interested—it seems as though the Made It Moments keep-on-coming.
I take deep breaths and enjoy all the special moments, along the way – like this one.
Dorothy Hayes, a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, taught Language Arts, was a staff writer for the Wilton Bulletin, and The Hour and received an honorary award for her in-depth series on Vietnam Veterans from the Society of Professional Journalists. She also worked as a staff writer for a national animal protection corporation, and wrote Animal Instinct published in 2006. She writes for Women of Mystery and Criminal Element and is a member of Sisters-in-Crime.