Guest Post: Sharon Ledwith’s Journey to Publication

The journey to publication wasn’t easy for me. In fact, it took me a great deal of time and effort to get to where I am now. So, let’s go back in time to 1995 when I got bitten by the writing bug during a Planning Your Novel workshop I attended for fun at the local college. One of the exercises I volunteered for still sticks in my mind. The teacher handed me three pennies, and I had to throw them into a waste basket one at a time. I managed to get all three coins in, shooting at different angles and distances. My teacher, Tom Arnett—a NYT bestselling author—was surprised at my luck because the norm was usually two pennies in. He explained that getting all the pennies in would suggest your (writing) goals would be too easy because the person threw them from a close distance. On the flipside, one penny in (throwing too far away) suggested having unrealistic expectations/goals about a career in writing.

You could say that this penny exercise set the bar for me, and gave me some hope in a field I knew absolutely nothing about. I ended up taking Tom’s night course, Starting your Novel, and from there the writing games began…

Trying to get published looked something like this:

  • Write a book (I choose a shapeshifter paranormal romance) which took about 2 years, including research and learning the basics. Lots of sweat equity!
  • Attended a workshop where I met an agent, and handed her a query and outline, which eventually got her interest. This went back and forth for a time (about four years) until the agent admitted that my book wasn’t developing the way she wanted it to go, so we decided to go our separate ways. Sigh.
  • Around 1998, I had a dream where I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these Mayan-like arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. At that time, I was trying to get my paranormal romance published, and had no intention of writing for the young adult genre. But this idea kept growing in my mind, and wouldn’t leave, like some mystical force pushing me from behind. So, I thought I’d challenge myself to write a time travel series based on that dream, calling it ‘The Timeliners’, and years later ‘The Last Timekeepers’. 
  • Had some luck with The Last Timekeepers when an agency and publishers showed interest. But their interest was short-lived. Rejection, rejection, and more rejection followed.
  • In 2003, we sold our graphic trade business and house, packed up, and moved to our cottage in a popular northern tourist area located in Ontario. I decided to become a tutor for the local Literacy Council in the winter of 2004. While living pretty much off the grid (we had dial up internet), I started a teen psychic mystery series entitled, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, pulling from my experiences living in the wilds of cottage country. 
  • I enrolled in a two year correspondence course geared toward writing for children and teens to beef up my writing chops.
  • Then, I decided to try my hand as a participant in the 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon, where previously I had helped with the organizational aspects of this event. The idea is to write a novella or novel in three days, and the winner gets a chance at publication. During the course of the marathon, our dog died suddenly and I left for the day, only to come back the next day determined to finish writing my manuscript in time to submit. It was truly a bitter-sweet experience.
  • My writing suffered after that (mentally and emotionally), and I decided to enter the workforce as an animal care attendant at the local Animal Shelter for the next fourteen months. During this time, I finished my writing correspondence course, tinkered with unpublished novels, then finally woke-up and quit the animal shelter to get back to my writing. I wrote a whole book out of my animal shelter experience, and geared it for my teen psychic mystery series. I sent in that manuscript and got rejected a lot, but one agent showed an interest. He later sent me a lovely rejection letter. Sigh.
  • Finally, in 2010, I decided to dust off my time travel story, update the characters and give it a fresh voice. I sent it out—mostly to agents—and got rejected again, and again.
  • By this time, I had decided to check out ebooks and how to go about publishing them. Since I owned a graphics shop for over twenty years, I had some business background, and it seemed many authors were being forced to wear two hats in these changing times. So I started a blog in May 2011 to create an on-line presence. 
  • Then, I entered the 2011 Muskoka Novel Marathon with the idea of doing the prequel for The Last Timekeeper series. Two writers there had just signed publishing contracts, so this gave me some hope. I asked if I could use their names as a reference when querying their publisher. They said, ‘No problem,’ but I’d have to wait until September to query. After the novel marathon, we all exchanged social media info. 
  • This is where hard work and opportunity collide. One of those writers shared a link on Facebook, which I thought was the publishing company she had signed with. But it wasn’t. It was the link to a new epublishing company calling for submissions. What the hell, there was nothing to lose while I waited for September to roll in. I sent out my query the end of August, and got a reply within seven days—Musa Publishing wanted to see my manuscript. Excited, yet not getting my hopes up, I sent my young adult time travel manuscript in. They loved it, but wanted revisions. Actually, they wanted a huge, big-ass rewrite that included making the entire book only in one POV, instead of the five I originally had written. Each kid had their own chapter. This publisher only wanted one POV kid per book. So they offered me five books right off the bat.
  • I signed the contract September 13th, 2011, with a release date of May 18th, 2012. Plenty of time for rewrites, and plenty of time to learn what’s expected of an author in this new paradigm of publishing. I followed up with the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series, Legend of the Timekeepers which came out in August 2013.
  • Time travel to 2015 when Musa Publishing closed their doors permanently. That’s when Mirror World Publishing appeared out of the blue, and opened their doors to me. Not only did they take on The Last Timekeepers series, but in 2017 added Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls to their expanding roster of young adult books. Woohoo!
  • Now, in 2020 I’m happily juggling both series, while balancing my author life with all the promoting and marketing that must be done to succeed in today’s publishing world.

I’ve certainly come a long way since 1995, and I’m still learning and growing in this crazy writing/publishing business as it continues to evolve. And between us, I’d wager three shiny pennies in a basket that Mirror World Publishing won’t be closing their doors anytime soon.


The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ 

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ 

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ 

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Sharon Ledwith’s Journey to Publication

Add yours

  1. Sounds like a long and productive journey. Not as easy as getting those pennies in the wastebasket. But more a testimony to your determination. Way to go my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks so much, Rita! The journey was (and still is) worth it! Still lots to do and learn. Hugs and all the best in your publishing adventure, big sis!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As I have been following you, Steve! Thanks so much for your support and kind words, my friend from Down under! All the best in your publishing ventures! Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: