Like I told in my previous post, I've been writing for a very long time. I must confess I never was very serious about it, it was only a way to pass some free time.
And you mustn't forget that in the 1980s there was no internet yet. After having finished the first draft of 'The Gold Crucifix' - which was the very first 'serious' novel I wrote - I managed to get addresses from London publishers from a penfirend who worked in London.
Of course I got rejections galore (I suppose every author must cope with that) but after some time I got one letter back in which an editor said there still needed to be a lot of work done to the novel, and she pointed out some of the points where it went wrong.
I worked very hard to improve the writing, but when that was finished (two years later, because I also was working and did not always have the fime for writing) I contacted this editor again, only to hear she had left the company.
Well, I just gave up then. I went back to writing for myself and the few persons prepared to read my ramblings. My sister being the first of them - and she actually liked what I did!
With the coming of the internet, I spent lots of time online and I became a member of more than one writing group. These guys shared a lot of advice and also made me aware of all the pitfalls unexperienced authors can fall into. Like trusting publishers who are only out to get your money.
Then I also tried to find an agent. I sent out query letters and samples of my current project. An editor at Avon wrote to me, telling me she loved the book, but it was just the wrong time for it. Quote: 'if you had sent it twenty years ago, it would have been a bestseller.'
I also made a big mistake then. When contacting an A-list agent, he immediately replied he'd like to see the work. He did not offer a contract yet. I delayed my reply, as I was also awaiting rhe reply of another agent, and that was my mistake. I should have sent out the manuscript asap. I know that now.
Well, I am not stupid and I can read a contract. So I decided I could do without an agent as long as the big deal didn't come through.
One of the people I knew from a writing circle, Christine Young, then started up her own publishing company 6 years ago. She had a vast experience as editor and writer and from what I knew from her I realized she would do a decent job.
I queried her and was asked to send over my manuscript. Christine believed in it and she offered me a contract. Also my other books have been published by Rogue Phoenix Press and I still have no complaints about their way of working.
Since this year I am also a proofreader for them. I have a master's degree in English Literature and Grammar. I loved reading through various manuscripts, and sometimes you come across one you know will be really good.
I am also working on a next novel and hope to finish it this year.