Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Publishing Journey Part 1

Recently, I was asked to blog about how I became a writer and to give insight into the publishing world. Since I am VERY new to the writing industry, I will provide my experience in hopes that it helps others. Please understand that my experiences are probably not typical and may be different than that of other writers.

As I have written in previous posts, I have always wanted to be a writer. I have many journals and write pretty frequently. Most of my journals are more like diaries and just detail what is happening in my life. Other journals are more spiritually driven and include scriptures that I can reference.

In college I minored in English and took several creative writing classes for fun. I have always been interested in poetry and memoirs. During these classes my professor encouraged me to write frequently and so that is what I did.

The turning point for me came last year when I attended the North Carolina Reading conference. I was there presenting with my teamie Monica Schroeder.  The day before our session, I had heard that Julia Cook was doing a presentation and I was super excited to get a seat. In fact, I left the session before hers early to ensure that I would have a seat.  If you are not familiar with Julia Cook she is a children's book author who has written many great books on social skills. Some of her books include:

The RJ series and the Relationship Series both of which are
published by my publishing company- Boys Town Press


Check out these great titles as well!


When I attended her session I was so inspired to write. During the session she gave tips for publishing, read some of her books and talked about her own publishing journey. I remember leaving that session with so much excitement. During lunch that day, I told Monica "I'm going to write a book as soon as I get home." I started taking notes for possible ideas at lunch and as soon as I got home I couldn't wait to start writing.

After I had written a manuscript that I thought was good enough to send in, I emailed Julia and explained that she probably has no clue who I am but that I attended her session and was really inspired. I also asked her for some more advice. I wasn't sure if she would email me back, but I remember praying that she would. To my surprise she did! Not only did she respond, but she gave me amazing advice. Since this initial email, I have found myself calling and emailing Julia many times. I am beyond grateful for what she has done for me. In todays world it can be very hard to find genuine people, and I have found that in her.

Long story short, my advice to anyone who wants to become an author is:

  • Write everyday
  • Stay true to your writing style
  • Join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
  • Research publishing companies in the area that you are writing
  • Know the guidelines for submissions before sending in your manuscript
  • Visit Julia if she is presenting near you (you will be inspired)
  • Write what you know

Next week I will be posting more about what writers do, the illusration process and much more so stay tuned.



  1. I got your book just this week. I love it and so did my second graders! All week long I've been reminding kids to ignore distractions and stay focused and they actually get it! Perfect for this group since we have a few Trey's in our class! Thanks!

    1. Erika, thank you so much! You have made my day!