Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jennifer Bardsley to Thinking to Inking!
Jennifer Bardsley shares her path to publication & advice to writers
It took me eight years from the time I first jotted down a story idea, to the moment I held my published book, “Genesis Girl,” in my hands. My biggest advice to writers slogging it out in the query trenches is to not give up. My second bit of advice is to join SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Determination and guidance are what helped me finally land a book deal in traditional publishing.
The first book I ever wrote was in the genre of Chick-Lit and I called it “Palo Alto Blues.” I was awriting newbie, and even though I sought out beta readers and incorporated their critiques, I made a lot of mistakes in my first manuscript that I now recognize. But at the time, I thought it was perfect. Unsurprisingly, none of the thirty five agents I queried were interested in reading anything more than a partial.
This is where I made a mistake that now I regret. I decided to self-publish the book–with all its flaws—on Amazon. I removed the link several months later, but now that title follows me around on Goodreads like a ghost. I’m lucky that it was in the genre of Chick-Lit and not YA, because a self-published YA debut novel would have barred me from membership in The Sweet Sixteens, a support group for first time YA and MG authors that has been a godsend to me during the launch of “Genesis Girl.”
Several years later I began writing again in earnest, and this time I joined SCBWI. They provided me with what’s called “The Book,” a gigantic resource of agents, publishers, and other paths to publication. As soon as my young adult manuscript was complete, I queried agents I discovered via SCBWI. Liza Flessig of the Liza Royce Agency was willing to take a chance on me. She brokered a two-book deal for “Genesis Girl” with my publisher.
Signing the contract was just the beginning. It took another two and a half years to see my book in print. If you’re looking for a quick path to publication, traditional publishing isn’t it. But if you are willing to slog it out and fight hard, dreams really do come true.
About GENESIS GIRL
Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.
About Jennifer Bardsley
Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her