Why a Stingy Writer Compelled me to write 11 Secrets of Getting Published

Jul 1, 2013Write!

In my twenties, full of dreams to write, I contacted a good friend of a friend who’d reached the nirvana I’d dreamed of: a published writer. I asked if I could take her out to lunch, to ask a few questions about writing. She agreed.

At the time I had two babies, so I had to arrange childcare. Hubby and I also struggled with our finances, so this meeting, in my mind, needed to merit some good information. Ten dollars to spend on lunch felt like a luxury. Have you been there?

We ordered our lunch. I fidgeted a bit, then took out my little notebook full of questions. I glanced at the first question. “I’m not really sure how to get published in a magazine,” I told her. “I send in my articles, but all I get back are form rejections. What am I doing wrong?”

Now she fidgeted. She spoke of some of the editors she knew, but offered no practical advice. She could have easily said, “Oh, well, that’s simple. You need to learn how to write a proper query letter.” But she didn’t.

So I asked another question. And she responded in vagaries. Then another question, a simple one about getting critiqued. Still nothing. She seemed terribly inconvenienced by me, and her eyes conveyed a look of pity, like you poor ignorant soul. You’ll never be published now, will you?

I left our lunch poorer, not just financially, but internally. I’d wanted simple answers. I didn’t want her to lay out the yellow brick road of publishing solutions, just small steps. I didn’t even need her to explain the steps. I was smart enough to do that on my own. I made a little vow after my mean girl lunch.

If I ever figure out the secret to getting published, I will tell everyone who wants to know.


Fast forward a decade. Through scrappy research, a great critique group, a lot of dead end roads, and eventual success, I learned the secret of traditional publishing (where a publisher like Zondervan pays you to write a book). Immediately I taught what I’d learned at our small critique group in Rockwall, Texas, venturing out to regional, then national conferences. Then I started a blog about publishing. Eventually I mentored writers at The Writing Spa. But in the back of my mind, I remembered that vow, how I wanted to provide information to new writers seeking publication.

So I grabbed every blog post about the process of publishing, along with several articles I’ve written for national writing magazines, and compiled them all into a 300+ page book, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published. It’s basically a download of my writing and publishing brain in one scary place. As a traditionally published writer, I had to learn how to write and publish an ebook, which wasn’t something I knew how to do. Once I learned how, I created a free post for anyone wanting to publish this way entitled, Publish Your E-Book in 7 Simple Steps.

In the book, I tackle 11 important publishing secrets. If you’d like to know them ahead of time, you can watch my dorky video here. (Scroll down a bit.)

Or if you’d like to watch and experience a musical tribute to the book, watch this below. My friend and editor Mick Silva composed this song after reading this book. (I can’t guarantee you’ll become a songwriter after you’ve read it, but, hey, you never know.)

All the pertinent information you need to make a wise decision is on this page. The cost for the book is just $9.97 for well over 300 pages of helpful, useful information. (You can buy it on Nook or Kindle). If you want to hold the book, it’s $16.97 here.

It’s been fun to see the positive feedback already on the book.

“I seldom read a non-fiction from cover to cover, especially in just a couple of days, but I not only examined every piece of it, I pulled out my manuscript and took her advice to heart in a complete revision. Anyone interested in writing for publication should read this book!” Marji Clubine, writer

“Mary’s passion for writing and encouragement find their way onto every page. I would like to see the book in hard copy so pertinent portions can be highlighted for future reference.” Sharron Cosby, writer