My pathway to publication finally opened wide when I signed an author contract with an excellent Western New York publisher, Marti Gorman, of Buffalo Heritage Press. When I left Marti’s office, I could have flown home if only I had wings! Before the good news happened, during our first meeting, I was asked if I was willing to make changes to the manuscript if necessary. “Yes” I said. “I’ll do anything I’m asked to do to make the manuscript “reader ready”.
The publisher then said she would try to find the perfect developmental editor for FRED. It was hard to believe that after more than a decade, Fred’s goal (and mine!) was within reach, but it would all depend on finding an editor who also would be passionate about the novel. Unexpectedly, a few days later, I received a message from the publisher to please return her call. One out of the three editors who reviewed the manuscript was definitely passionate about the historical novel and wanted to start work on it right away.
I was then asked by the publisher if I wanted to sign a contract as soon as possible, and of course I said, “Yes!”. It was an exciting moment I’ll never forget. The editor was willing to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours correcting the manuscript, reviewing dialogue, making suggestions, and possibly expanding some of the text. As a novice novelist I welcome the opportunity to make the novel a solid read.
When I receive the manuscript back, which should be any day now, I’ll have two months to make all the necessary changes before it goes back to the developmental editor. Needless to say, it’s an unbelievable opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t wait to start the process.
My advice to new historical novelists is to make sure you understand the research process. It’s time-consuming and hard to gather and cross-check facts that may be relevant when creating your characters. Chapter by chapter they emerged only after hundreds and hundreds of hours of reading and re-reading the research generated by my Orphan Building Research Team of three, including me. I was lucky to have them assist me because I now know it would have taken a few more years to gather 115 years of Fred’s building history. Perhaps Fred made this good luck possible?
Have passion for your project and gather supporters as you travel the road to publication, as they provide you with unconditional support when you need it most. Be diligent and passionate about your novel. Multitasking will be the name of the game. Life will often step in and change your schedule. Stay focused and never give up until your novel is published!
Frances R. Schmidt