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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Diving into the unknown

The time has come. I am finally ready to stop talking about getting (traditionally) published and ready to go for it.


It’s not something I saw in my life twenty years ago, or even fifteen, for that matter. I’ve always liked to write, but never considered that it might turn into something more. Even when I was first married, I would disappear into a hole for a month or two until I finished a manuscript, my husband would ask what I was going to do with it, and my reply was always, ‘nothing’. It wasn’t too long after that that I began to entertain the idea that I might one day actually see my name in print.

But there’s a big difference between writing a book and actually setting about finding an agent and publisher. It takes four times as long to revise and edit the manuscript as it did in creating the first draft, and that time doesn’t include being sure the query letter is properly written and the right amount of research for each agent to be queried, has been done. Which, of course, is one reason why I never followed through with the traditional route.


About a year ago, I decided to self-publish a set of novellas I’d been working on, knowing it would take just as much time editing and also learning how to properly format the document, before it would be ready for self-publication. And I’m not saying that wasn’t a good experience. I actually enjoyed self-publication very much. There’s a wonderful sense of freedom, knowing I can change anything about my manuscript at any time and I can hit the ‘publish’ button whenever my little heart desires.

Yet, there was that nagging feeling deep inside me. The one that asks, ‘Could I become traditionally published, if I worked just as hard at it?’ Of course, this type of control is entirely out of my hands, but this desire to know once and for all has never left the back of my mind. Which is why I’ve decided to switch gears and seek traditional publication for my next novel, instead of going the self-pub direction.

Will I be successful? I have no idea. And I guess the answer to that also depends heavily on what the definition of ‘success’ really is. If it rests on if I will find an agent to represent me and a publication house to release my book, well, I obviously have no clue if I will be a success. However, if I look at my success as the process, itself, then I think I could say I’ve already been successful in reaching for my dreams. I’ve taken the editing and revision process further than any other manuscript I’ve prepared, I’ve run it through a set of beta readers, and I’ve spent countless hours researching how to craft a proper query letter and finding appropriate agents to send them to. Again, not something I ever saw myself doing just a mere ten years ago.

So, yeah, I’m nervous, excited, curious and… happy. Happy that I’ve come this far. Happy that I haven’t given up. Happy that I can say I’ve been successful in my venture. At least, so far 😉


What about you? Where are you in your dream of becoming a traditionally published author? I’d love to hear your comments below!

Happy reading, friends!

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