When I first decided to get serious about this story rolling around in my head for the last ten years, I didn’t really know what getting serious would entail. I fleshed out the idea in my mind, did some research to get me started, and I wrote.
I began like I did when I was fifteen, the first time this story showed up; I picked up a few Five Star five-subject notebooks and I started writing. Two months and a little over two notebooks later, I had handwriting that was completely illegible and a complete first draft. I didn’t know quite what to do then, so I got more notebooks and wrote the second book.
I got an adorable mini notebook computer for Christmas that year and so began the second draft. This one was actually something I wasn’t embarrassed to share with (a select few) others.
It turns out writing a story, as difficult as that is, is the easiest part. No one knows what to do next. I signed up to sites online, bought some books on the next step, found a few publishers that didn’t require agents and studied how to write a query letter. I printed off my entire manuscript with a sinking feeling in my stomach about the futile death of those trees. I collected my first rejection letters. I expected that. I thought of it as a rite of passage, like falling off a horse.
But the more I researched how to send in a successful submission, the more it seemed like that was impossible. I would be better off with an agent, but they seemed to be at least as hard to find. All the advice was, frankly, not very helpful. I began to feel like having a story to publish was the least of my concerns when it came to actually finding a publisher. I understood why everything was set up the way it was, but it didn’t help my frustration much.
The more I researched, the more it seemed the only route left to me would be self publishing. So I continued writing and revising, having fun if nothing else, and only casually watching the publishing industry.
Until a fateful day when I decided to share the beginning of my book with several hundred strangers for the first time, hoping for some feedback. Two days later one of the commenters messaged me saying he owned a publishing company and they were interested in a larger sample of my work.
For those who haven’t spent the last several years trying to figure out the publishing industry, I can’t express to you how much this does not happen. There are a plethora of reasons it doesn’t happen, but sometimes maybe the fates intervene a little. It’s a strange mix of feelings to be so excited and so cautious while trying to keep both feelings in check to sort through the more mundane and reasonable parts of the whole thing. So I approached the next step with a strange mixture of excitement and diligence, trying to learn more about Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Incorporated, RRPI.
The reason the story to my publishing contract is so unconventional is because the publisher is unconventional. They noticed the things aspiring authors come up against with the current publishing industry, and they decided to offer something different.
They’ve put a focus on writers and the individuality of the creative process. They actively look for stories to bring to readers. And, what I think is most important, they are willing to engage with everyone. They give every submission a chance and, regardless of their decision on a piece, will offer feedback. Simply knowing your submission will be given a fair chance is really validating for those of us who have a story and can’t figure out how to tell it.
I’ve been warned a new company is a bigger risk, but it’s more exciting, too. I like the idea of being part of something different. I have never been a conventional person, my path to becoming published shouldn’t be, either.