Writers@Work: Kathryn Haueisen on Becoming an Author
March 13, 2018
Note From Rochelle
There’s still time to sign up for the Inspired Life Summit. My talk will be live tomorrow. If you want to hear me—along with 13 extraordinary experts—please sign up here: Inspired Life Summit.
For today’s tip, I’m thrilled to welcome my colleague Kathryn Haueisen, who has written a helpful post on her path to becoming an author and how networking has helped her soar!
Writers@Work: Kathryn Haueisen on Becoming an Author
Since the longest journey starts with a single step, I was thinking about some of my first writing steps. One was certainly an English teacher who consistently gave me A’s and “Good work!” messages on my essays. Another took place when the faculty advisor to my high school paper gave me an assistant editor position and encouraged me to join the Quill and Scroll Club. I still have the pin from that group.
After years of writing non-fiction articles, newsletter, devotions, curriculum and books, I decided to write my first work of fiction. I quickly realized I was traveling in unfamiliar territory and needed some tour guides. I tentatively asked a couple of friends to please read through the novel manuscript. Then I got braver and asked people who weren’t on my Christmas card list to look at it.
I submitted small sections at a time to a critique group. The insights of the more experienced writers were exactly the feedback I needed. When it was time to release this baby into the big, scary world of publishing. I talked to a couple of agents at conference pitch sessions. Though they said encouraging things, no one wanted to represent the book.
After a year or so I had decided I either had to do whatever it would take to publish Asunder or stuff it in a filing cabinet and forget about it. I went to workshops to learn about self-publishing or independent publishing. Again, I felt like I had just landed in a foreign country where people were speaking a language I do not know.
I asked a few of my pastor colleagues how they got their books published. One introduced me to his copy editor who fine-tuned my manuscript. Another offered to publish the book through the new small publishing business he started to publish his own books plus those of a parishioner. That led to another round of introductions to people who actually produce books.
Then it was time to figure out how to market the book. Again, through a writer’s conference introduction, I met Sandy Lawrence, a public relations professional. She loves helping authors market their work. She and I hit it off instantly. She has become a good companion on my writing journey. She orchestrated the book launch and has provided a wealth of helpful tips and connections.
This blog would not be complete without a tribute to Rochelle Melander. I do not recall how we were first introduced, no doubt by a mutual writing colleague. Regardless of how we first got acquainted, her e-newsletters, books, coaching, and critique groups have all been significant stops along my writing path.
It takes a village to publish a book. The more I travel into the publishing world the more I appreciate the coaches, editors, graphic design professionals, printing press companies, social media experts, website designers, book store owners, and marketing professionals I meet. Each one brings a unique set of gifts, insights and connections to the writer-reader relationship. The further I travel down this road of writing, publishing, and promoting, the more I appreciate how many people it takes to help us communicate our thoughts and experiences with readers.
Writing can be lonely. To really produce anything worth reading, writers must spend large quantities of time engaged in the twin solitary pastimes of reading and writing. In order to then connect with readers, writers must leave their cozy reading/writing rooms. Writers need to get out – out to meetings and conferences. Writers need to go on-line to engage with writing and reading groups and exchange social media posts.
Networking is the roadway to both writing and connecting with readers. Many of my ideas for the next blog, article or chapter come to me when I’m engaging with people who don’t seem to have anything to do with my writing world. For example, I recently stopped by the campus where one of my granddaughters goes to college. She works part time there in the theatre department. That night she was scheduled to work at the showing of a film about a man who runs a Shakespeare Behind Bars ministry.
She gave me a ticket to watch the film. I was amazed at what I saw. I got to meet the producer of the film and founder of the program after the showing. Eventually that chance encounter led to a blog about his work. It fit in beautifully with my website overarching theme. I like to write about people, places, and programs that contribute something useful to society.
A similar thing happened while I was visiting the Cleveland Museum of Natural Science with my daughter and her three young adult children. While there we saw the stuffed version of Balto in a display case. Balto was a Siberian Husky that became a national hero for his part in getting life-saving serum to children in Nome, Alaska in 1925. A Cleveland businessman eventually brought the dog to Cleveland, Ohio where he lived out the remainder of his years. That serendipitous discovery turned into another blog.
I cannot emphasize enough how important getting out and about in person and connecting on-line has been to finding things to write about and then finding a home and an audience for what I have written.
Thank you, Rochelle Melander for this opportunity to network with you and those who follow you.
About the Author
Kathryn Haueisen is a retired pastor and long-time author. She writes from Houston where she lives with her husband and rescue miniature poodle, Brandi. She enjoys writing along with leading workshops, teaching, speaking to groups, and helping people and non-profits tell their stories. Asunder, a novel approach to recovering from a late-in-life divorce, is her first fiction book. She is currently working on a historic fiction account of events that preceded and followed the landing of the Mayflower in 1620. Find her online at: http://howwisethen.com//