Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Overnight Success — that took more than 10 years! Guest Post with Susan Mason

Casey here: Her post says it all, so I'm going to just jump right in and let Susan Mason take it away! Welcome to the Alley, Sue!

I know how actors feel when they finally get that breakout movie that thrusts them into the spotlight. Suddenly they have ‘made it’, and people call them an overnight success — even if they’ve been acting for years.

I started writing when I was a child, but it wasn’t until after university, marriage and babies that I got the urge to write again. I won’t bore you with all the details of how I went from writing bad secular romances to inspirational stories, but suffice it to say that a lot of trial and error was involved.

I joined Romance Writers of America and started entering contests. My first ‘break,’ so to speak, was finaling in the 2008 Golden Heart contest. I became part of a Golden Heart writers’ loop (Yay, Pixies!) and was recruited to write a piece for a blog called Seekerville. Though I wasn’t entirely sure what a blog was, I blithely jumped in with both feet! Little did I know how important the wonderful Seeker ladies would become — both as friends and mentors.Without them, I doubt I would be a published author! So my first piece of advice to aspiring writers would be to follow this blog. They provide support, encouragement and great advice.

After many rejections, I sent a manuscript to White Rose Publishing and received a reply that was both scary and wonderful. The editor liked my writing, but the story needed a lot of work. I was thrilled! Finally
someone was prepared to show me where I was going wrong. I took six months to rework the story, and when I sent it in the second time,they asked for book 2 and 3 in the series.

In August 2013, I entered my historical romance, Irish Meadows, in a contest, got a one-sheet made and prepared my pitch for the September ACFW Conference. This story was a bit different than most since it contained two complete romances. Sure enough, I got a lot of blank stares, frowns and disinterest from the people I pitched it to. But I wasn’t discouraged. I loved this book and someday someone else would, too!

A few weeks after the conference, I got an email from White Rose. I steeled myself for bad news when I read the following “At this time, I cannot offer you a three book contract.” My heart sank and I thought “Oh well. It’s not meant to be.” Then I read on! “I would, however, like to offer you a contract for the first two books.” I had to read it 3 times before it sank in—and then I did a happy dance around the kitchen!

Flash forward to March 2014 when, through the direct result of two separate contests, I received an offer from BETHANY HOUSE for 3 historical romances,and another from Harlequin LOVE INSPIRED for a contemporary romance! My head was spinning and I knew I needed an agent to help negotiate the terms of
both contracts. Through a wonderful author friend, I got in touch with Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern agency, who agreed to represent me.

Coming full circle, Wyndermere House, the manuscript that finaled in the 2008 Golden Heart contest,will now be published by Love Inspired under a new title in February 2015. My historical romance, Irish Meadows, will release with Bethany House in the summer of 2015.

The turning point for me in my writing journey was realizing that my fear of publication was holding me back. I needed to let go of the fear and get clear about what I wanted. I set my intent to trust God and His plan for my life, and sure enough, in God’s perfect timing, He answered my wish to become a published author—not once, but threefold!

God can dream a bigger dream for us than we can ever imagine! So don’t give up!

My debut contemporary romance, Betrayed Hearts, releases with White Rose Publishing on August 8, 2014. The second book in the Rainbow Falls series, Wayward Hearts, comes out in early December. 

Bio: Susan Mason is a wife and mother of two almost grown children. She lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario Canada and works part time as a church secretary. When not writing romance, she enjoys scrapbooking and researching her ancestors on-line.

Casey here again: do YOU have a publishing overnight success story? What are you doing to pursue your story of success?


Susan Anne Mason said...

Good morning, Casey and Alley Cats! Thank you so much for inviting me here today!

Although my story sounds like things happened fast, it took over 10 years of hard work, studying the craft of writing, submitting to contests, revising, and starting over again. I had about 10 books written by the time I got my first contract. That old adage "practice makes perfect" has a lot of truth in it.

Looking forward to the discussions. Off to my morning job but I'll pop in and out through the day!


Casey said...

You are a lesson in perseverance and GRAND success, Sue! Glad to have you here on the Alley today. :-))

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Susan, what a fun, HEA story! I'm so happy for you. I enjoyed meeting you at ACFW. I'll look forward to reading your books. :) Thanks for sharing this, it gives hope to those of us walking behind you on this journey :)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Casey and Jeanne,

I'm happy to share my story because I remember reading other authors' journeys and receiving much hope and encouragement from them. I want to be able to do the same for other writers on their path!

Looking forward to seeing you both a the conference!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Wowsa!!! I'm so glad you shared this story! Ah-mazing, Sue! And really encouraging!

Pepper said...

WOW Susan, what an incredibly encouraging story for those of us who've been dreaming for 10 years too :-)
Thanks for the inspiration and hope in this.
Good GRIEF! When God hit your life with publication, he sent it for a home run!