My Road to Publication
By Rita Monette
When I first began writing this post, I thought my writing journey began the day I retired, March 1, 2006, when I got the idea to write a children’s book as something fun to do in my retirement. And so, I enrolled in my first writing class, “Writing for Children.”
But, then I realized (and I believe it to be true with most writers) my journey began much sooner.
As a child, I wrote little songs to sing to my parents. No applause there to encourage me. Then around twelve, I started journaling. In my twenties, I began writing poems but never showed them to anyone. In a college class, some of my essays were read out loud by the professor. Embarrassing. But, for the first time, I realized that maybe I had a talent with words. At one of my jobs, I joined the staff for a department newsletter. Fun stuff. I even illustrated my stories.
But back to my serious journey.
After taking my “Writing for Children” class, I tried putting together a few picture books. After all, I had some art training. But I wasn’t satisfied with the results.
It was when I decided to write a story about my childhood growing up in the bayous of Louisiana and the legends my dad used to tell us (yeah bedtime stories to keep you awake), that I found my niche. My little story turned into a middle grade novel. Nikki Landry and The Legend of Ghost Dog Island were born. It took me four years to develop it into a readable mixture of mystery and adventure…truth and fiction.
Attending many workshops and writing conferences helped a whole lot in learning the writing and publishing process. These instructors (many are agents from various publishing companies) also drilled us that you had to have an agent to even get your story looked at by a publisher. And so began the agent lists and submissions.
After over forty rejection letters, a published author attendee at a conference told me an agent wasn’t necessary. There were publishers that took submissions directly from the author. I took her advice and sent my manuscript to a few publishers directly. MUSA Publishing wanted my story, which was released as an e-book in 2013. I was over the moon to have my darling out into the world for everyone to enjoy as much as I did.
But I wasn’t done. Nikki and her friends had to go on more adventures. And so, The Curse at Pirates’ Cove came into being.
Then, a couple years later, just as my second book was in the process of being released, MUSA went out of business. Oh, the tears and dread. I’d have to start all over again.
But, alas, it wasn’t the end of the world. Another children’s author I’d met from MUSA (Sharon Ledwith) had signed on with Mirror World Publishing in Windsor. She put in a good word for me. Mirror World accepted both my completed novels, and with fresh new covers, they were released in book form in 2015.
And now, with the addition of The Secret in Mossy Swamp, The Mystery on Lost Lagoon, and The Haunting near Battlefield Ridge, the Nikki Landry Swamp Legends have grown to five books. Thank you Justine and Robert and the Mirror World crew for making this happen.
Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. She is currently retired and lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, She enjoys participating in festivals and craft shows where she does face and body art, along with selling her books.