When I tell people I have written a book and I’m preparing it for publication, they ask, “When can I get a copy?” Many people don’t know there is a long process to getting a manuscript (the book unpublished) to the point when it is ready to be sent to a publisher. Then once it’s ready to be sent out, there is a waiting period and a possibility of several rejection letters before an acceptance letter arrives. Then sometimes it takes the publisher a year or so before the book is printed and ready to be sold.

     The first step is to write the book. The second step is to self-edit your manuscript. Thirdly, send the manuscript to a professional editor. Sometimes the author sends it to more then one editor. Fourthly the author makes the edits suggested by the editor. Fifth the author picks out two or three beta readers to read the whole manuscript, looking for any major problems. The sixth step is to make any changes necessary and format it to go to a publisher or agent.

You must research publishing companies and agents for ones who accept the genre of your work. Then you must study their guidelines. Some require a query letter, a synopsis, or a book proposal. The seventh is to follow the publisher’s guidelines by formatting your manuscript accordingly and you write any query letters, synopses, or book proposals required. Then you send what is required to the publisher; sometimes you only send a couple of chapters. The eighth step is waiting you wait for a reply which asks you to send the whole manuscript. After maybe weeks or more of waiting you may get several rejection letters before you get an acceptance.

     I just received my manuscript back from my editor on Wednesday. I have already started making the edits she has suggested. I have made corrections in elven chapters so far. Probably by the time this post goes out, I will have edited even more chapters. I still have a lot of steps to go through to get to publication, but I consider finishing my manuscript and sending it to an editor a big accomplishment. Once I sent my manuscript to my editor, I checked my email each day, waiting for her to return it.

     It took me four years to write my memoir. A memoir is about a certain time in a person’s life when something significant happened. Mine is nine years of my life when I was bullied and when I went to the family garage for love and acceptance. Writing about what I went through in school was like reliving a part of my childhood I wish I could erase from my memory. I had to relive the pain, anguish, and sadness. All those awful feelings rushing back in at times became too difficult to face. I had to take a day or more away from my manuscript so I could process what I have tried so hard to bury in the back of my mind. Sometimes I had to step away from my writing for a week or two. I was opening old wounds I didn’t realize had never healed.

     Writing my memoir became like a therapy session. I opened a wound and had to work through it emotionally so it could heal. As I wrote I was able to trace how far back I began to slip into mental illness and the dangerous path it took in my life. I spent four years rehashing heartache and finding ways to bandage tears in my soul. It wasn’t all pain. I enjoyed writing about the time I spent at our family garage and the things I did with my cousin that my parents may not be aware of.

     While I worked on my manuscript I struggled with self-doubt. How could I write a piece of work that would be long enough to be a book? I had attempted to write book length material before and failed. What made me think I could do it now? Maybe I was only meant to write short stories. Maybe I don’t have the talent to write long pieces. What if my dream to have a book published was hopeless? This is when my friends and husband encouraged me and gave me a little extra shove. Each night my husband would ask how many pages I wrote.

     Then I worked around my learning disability to self-edit and rewrite parts of my memoir. The more I worked on my memoir, the better my writing got. So, I had to go back and rewrite parts of pervious chapters. I took my chapters to Penwriters (a national writer’s group) for critiques. I struggled to figure out how to eliminate too many “I’s” and redundant words. Sometimes I got frustrated and found myself ready to scream and give up. What may be easier for others is much harder for me with my learning disability. The members of the group told me I could eliminate too many “I’s” by reworking the sentences. This was like a foreign language to me. I fought to try to find ways to turn my sentences around.

     Editing is very difficult to me. I didn’t go into regular English classes until I was in ninth grade. From elementary to nineth grade, I spent my time doing English classes in a Special Education classroom. I know what a verb and noun is, but adverbs and adjectives are another story. I get confused with grammar terms. So, getting to the point where I could send my manuscript to an editor is a huge accomplishment. Especially when I go through the edited manuscript to find that my editor didn’t have to make an enormous number of corrections. I’m proud of myself for making it this far.

     Whether you have a disability or an illness, if you work hard enough, you can make your dreams come true. You may have to work harder to make it possible, but you can do it. Don’t let anything stand in your way. If someone says you can’t do something, show them you can. Believe in yourself, and if your confidence begins to fail, then make sure you have people in your life to encourage you and give you a little push forward. A kick in the bottom might be what you need to move ahead. Dreams can come true, recovery is possible, you can heal from abuse, and you can rise above bullying.

I still have several steps ahead of me until I reach publication, but I am positive one day I will be standing in the light holding my published book.


  1. Hi Aimee,
    As usual, you are very clear about the steps. What a terrific, informative post!
    The rest of the group and I are incredibly proud of you for all you have accomplished and for not giving up. You will help so many people. Keep going!


  2. This is wonderful news! I haven’t started organizing my work into a publishable format… Seems that there are so many who are successful or poised on the cusp of success (like YOU) that I wonder if I can join the crowd. So far I just don’t want it badly enough!


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