This post is for me.
In fact, I debated sharing it here, but I need it.
Sometimes we get lost and can only see the immediate moment we are in.
However, we can find value and gratitude in the moment if we:
PAUSE our current moment
then PULL OUT of our current view just high enough for a bird's eye view
to LOOK at the greater story unfolding
RESULTS along our path can be seen.
It's not uncommon for writers to refer to their books as their babies (or their children). There are lots of metaphors around creating, giving birth, raising, nurturing, and tending to a book. So with all my book children, UnAuthored Letters served as my rebellious teenager. It was a story that broke me as a creative. It rebelled. We had a lot of difficult fights. I gave up. It came back. We had more fights. It wasn't pretty.
Many times I considered quitting.
But I didn't.
For some shocking reason, I just learned that UnAuthored Letters has surpassed all my other books in reviews and attention on Amazon and Goodreads. Ten years later and my rebellious book has gone on to really make this Creative Momma's heart proud.
Below is the timeline that shares the road to get it to publication (dates are approximate). Then I share a few photos of some celebratory moments after publication.
Even when we are lost, there is value in just sticking with the good we know is there.
Sanders Starfish was released in Oct 2003.
Jan/Feb - Middle of the night storyline emerges along with chapters and a partial outline for UnAuthored Letters.
Bit by bit, I start sharing early drafts with test readers.
More test readers and rewrites
Spring - Attended League of Utah Writers Conference - met with Tom Colgan, Executive Editor from Putnam Berkley, he asked to see the manuscript when it was ready
In September, Author-in-Residence at Temple Hill Resort in Manti, Utah for one year - dedicated time to write UnAuthored Letters.
In September, sent out manuscript to Putnam Berkley.
In Jan, get a very nice rejection letter from Tom Colgan.
In April, get married. Put writing on hold while adjusting to a beautiful new life.
Feel a bit lost about what to do about my writing.
Decide to stop writing for a time and give up my .com website.
Pull out UnAuthored Letters manuscript and decide to revisit it.
Attend San Francisco Writer's Conference and pitch to Donald Maass, founder of Donald Maass Literary Agency. He asks me to send manuscript when it's ready.
Manuscript redone. Sent to Donald Maass.
Received a nice rejection letter.
Acquired the rights back to Sanders' Starfish
Made a lot of errors but published Sanders' Starfish as an e-book on Amazon.
Amazon invited me to join a select group of authors with their digital publishing projects - in these super early days of e-publishing, I didn't see Amazon as a viable publishing path. I did not explore their invitation further.
Submitted Unauthored Letters into the TM Publishing Blot Writing Contest.
Unauthored Letters was selected as a novel contest winner and offered a publishing contract with TM Publishing.
First chapter of UnAuthored Letters published in their e-magazine.
Presented at LTUE Conference
Interviewed by Utah Book Scene
Rebuilt author online presence (with the addition of social media), reconnected with Sanders Starfish fans, and built awareness of UnAuthored Letters.
After 18 months of working with editors and publishers at TM Publishing, the company closed their doors.
Under no other circumstances would I have been ready...but at this point, I went forward and self-published UnAuthored Letters in December.
UnAuthored Letters Reception:
This second novel by Allred takes place from 1984 to 2002 and realistically depicts her characters’ growth through a variety of emotions, motivations, and behavior... Use of symbolism adds depth of interest to this well-constructed story...Skillful placement of descriptive detail enlivens scenes and shows nuances of personality without slowing the story’s forward movement...UnAuthored Letters offers an informed and empathetic look at mental illness through a gripping mystery of greed and redemption. —Foreward Clarion Review
UNAUTHORED LETTERS is a captivating and thoughtful read without being pretentious. It is well-written and author Tara C. Allred does a fantastic job of maintaining a balanced viewpoint, never turning the story into a politicized soapbox agenda. She simply lets the story unfold and leaves it to the reader to decide what they think about what happens. —IndieReader Review
UnAuthored Letters Awards:
Blot Writing Contest (TM Publishing)
Winner of the Howey Award – Best Adult Author – Oct 2014 (Reader’s choice award through the Indie Recon Live Writing Conference)
Winner of the Howey Award – Best Adult Novel – Oct 2014 for UNAUTHORED LETTERS – (Reader’s choice award through the Indie Recon Live Writing Conference)
Happiness often sneaks through a door you didn't think was open - Unknown
For an independently published literary novel, I could not be more pleased with the outcome of this book. I so many times have had no clue what I am doing. I still don't. But somewhere in the midst of being lost and moving forward—somewhere in those steps—I stop looking at closed doors so I can walk through the open ones.
In 2018, I republished UnAuthored Letters as a John Sanders novel. Currently, UnAuthored Letters has over 1,000 reviews on Amazon. For an author truly struggling with the marketing side of being an author, and with so many other books out there, I am beyond humbled and honored that over 77,000 copies of UnAuthored Letters are out there for readers.
I don't consider myself a great writer. But I do feel a need to keep trying. And with a bird's eye view along the journey, I can see unexpected joys and personal successes.
I am glad I didn't give up.