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  • Writer's pictureSusan Lute

Published Author: My 25-Year Writing Journey – Part One

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

My writing journey, like many authors, began when I was a teenager taking a creative writing class in high school. Along the way, I sold an article or two, but it wasn't until the late nineties that I got serious about writing stories I could sell to a New York publisher. Back then, before digital self-publishing came along, the name of the game was getting bought by a traditional publisher.

A little history: When I sold my first book to Silhouette Books, Harlequin Books (who'd bought Silhouette from Simon & Schuster in 1984) was owned by Torstar Corporation, Waldenbooks, a subsidiary of Borders Group and an American shopping mall-based bookstore chain was still around, Barnes & Noble was the new kid on the block, and independent books stores were a big influence in turning an author into a bestseller. I was a member of The Authors Guild and Romance Writers of America. My first conference was RWA's National Conference in New Orleans in 2001. And I'd just sold Oops...We're Married? to Silhouette Romance.

Those were the days. A lot has changed since then.

Behind the scenes: The first thing that happens when you sell to a traditional publisher is you get 'the call'. OMG! There's nothing more awesome than that (career-wise). My call came while I was at work. At the time, I was working as a nurse and managing a doctor's office. The first thing I had to do was say, YES! to Silhouette. They offered publication and an advance (half paid when I signed the contract and half when I turned in the final revisions). I got to choose whether I wanted to use a synonym or my legal name. My editor was a joy to work with. And Oops... hit the bookshelves in June 2003.

I was pretty naive about publishing back then (I'm much more objective these days), thinking my writing career would take off, and that it would be downhill from there. After all, I was published, right? Oops... was an appropriate title for my first book. I wrote that story on speculation—it was a completed manuscript and would sell or not. While I waited to hear from an editor, I went on to the next story, but not a story that was necessarily similar. I wasn't prepared to write specifically for publication and didn't really have a book to follow the first. Still, I wouldn't change a single thing about my journey. And as you can see by the covers above, I didn't stop writing or publishing.

The book industry changes on a regular basis. In follow-up posts, we'll talk about the next big thing that changed how an author looks at and publishes their stories.

In the meantime, what is your favorite way to read? A print book? Or ebook? I must confess I do most of my reading on my phone.

Happy reading!

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