Guest Article by
Michael J. Kannengieser
The moniker all writers wish they could have applied to them is published author. In my case, reaching this goal was a long time coming – almost fifteen years. From writing in a vacuum with no venue for publication, to maintaining a busy blog, to working as editor for fiction at The View from Here, to finally signing a contract with a publisher, the road to seeing my work in print has been a long time coming.
“The Tin Age” was my first book-length manuscript and I was proud of my accomplishment. Immediately, I sent query letters to literary agents around the country. Weeks passed after my first flurry of letters went out. A trickle of responses came to my mailbox; many had formal rejection letters. Some agents merely scribbled “Not for us,” across the top of my pages, and others offered a brief critique while declining representation.
After all my queries returned without success, I began working on my second manuscript, “Burning Blue.” Upon its completion, I tried contacting agents again. This time, I had more confidence. A round of inquiries went out to handpicked author representatives, and soon after, their responses followed – all rejections.
I decided to contact publishers directly. I took my two-year-old son with me to a Barnes & Noble store. At the information desk, I asked the young woman behind the counter if they had the latest guide to agents and publishers. She told me where to find it, but as I walked away she stopped me.
“That man over there is an author. He’s signing books.” She pointed to an open area to my left. Seated in front of a folding table with a few short stacks of hard cover books, was a man in his late thirties, a few years older than I was at the time. Empty rows of folding chairs were in front of him and he smiled when he saw me approach.
My son squirmed in my arms, yet I couldn’t wait to meet a genuine author. We talked for roughly fifteen minutes while my son struggled to break free from my clutches and run around the store. One thing from our conversation I took away with me along with an autographed copy of his book is something he said about fulfilling his dream of publishing a novel. He told me that he was successful in business and taught at a university, but nothing matched seeing his book published. It was validation for his work that he sought since he began writing, and a lasting legacy which will survive long after he is gone.
Seated at a table in a book store far from his home, with only one person buying his novel, he remained eminently satisfied that he accomplished something wonderful. I admired his self-assurance.
During that period, I befriended Mike French, founder and Senior Editor at The View from Here Magazine. He asked me to work for him as his editor for fiction at The Front View. Flattered, I accepted, and I began reading fiction from around the globe from new and experienced authors alike. Being exposed to a steady diet of short stories from a diverse array of writers caused me to examine my writing though the eyes of an editor. At once, I re-edited both Burning Blue and The Daddy Rock according to my new standards.
In early September of 2012, I received an email from Decent Hill Publishing stating that they would like to offer me a contract for The Daddy Rock. I responded, and within days, I signed a contract with them. The Daddy Rock is now published under Felsen Press, and imprint of Decent Hill, and the company is doing a fabulous job of promoting my book and guiding me in my career.
The pride in being a published author is rewarding, and it is a pleasure to work with the professionals at Decent Hill. If the author I met in Barnes and Noble ever reads this article, I want him to know that it was all worth it, just like he said. But, one thing he didn’t mention which I will say here; being a published author means that everything you write afterward will be taken seriously. Now, when I sit down in front of my computer and type the words “Chapter One,” I know that a lot of people will eventually read what comes next.
Mike's debut novel Daddy Rock is available on Amazon here...
He blogs here.