How I found My Editor in a Barnes and Noble Bookstore

Nothing about my road to publishing has been done by conventional routes. I really can’t even say how I found a publisher to take on my manuscript in the first place. I was trying to narrow the sequence of events down with my husband, and what we came up with was that we found the publisher through a business acquaintance of his.

I had just finished writing the memoir known as THE ALTERED I and had no idea what steps to take next. I asked everybody from my Mary Kay sales person (don’t ask me why! Unconventional, remember?) to the webmaster of our window covering business. Apparently he worked in some kind of publishing and said there was one publisher in town and we might give them a call. My husband must have done just that because next thing I know they were calling to find out when my manuscript might be finished and when they could read it.

Oh my goodness! Could this be true? As easy as that I found a publisher? It just so happens this publisher was new in the business, as was I, so that didn’t bother me. They are actually what is known as a small press. Things are done somewhat unconventionally when dealing with a new business, or a smallish start-up, and there is more room for leeway.

In an earlier post I wrote about how long it took me to get published, so if you read that we will just skip to the bit where I submitted an entire manuscript without it being professionally edited. “Have it edited and re-submit,” were the closing comments.  Well then, where to begin?

Again I had no idea! I wasn’t part of the Facebook family, or LinkedIn, and didn’t even know how to tweet! So, where was I to start? Heaven only knew.

One night while sitting in my local Barnes and Noble with some friends at the coffee lounge I took a long, slow look around me. Why, seemingly, everyone there had a laptop and was working on something important. These must all be writers, or dare I say it? Could they be editors? How naive can a person get? I’m telling you I was as green as the Irish hillsides. Lo and behold, the first person I approached turned out to be a professor at our local university. No, he wasn’t an editor, but he knew one. Really? And he happened to have her business card on him. What a break!

I called her. She called back. We emailed each other. I sent her a sample chapter to edit. She edited it and sent it back. We agreed to meet over coffee and see if we would make a good fit. We did! Not only that, but we agreed on a price and time frame. She loved my manuscript, loved my genre and exceeded all my expectations.

The point of the matter is this: you can find what you are looking for in unusual places. Thinking outside the box can be very instrumental in finding success.

For example, an author acquaintance wrote a collection of edgy, modern short stories. She has had her book signings not only in bookstores, but at her local gym, a second-hand funky and unique consignment store, and a second-hand record/DVD store. These places match perfectly the themes of her stories, her characters and the vibe she is creating to attract her target audience.

I may not have gotten published the conventional way. I may have taken a long time to figure it all out, but I got there and you can too.

What unconventional ways have you found to complete your manuscript?

What unconventional ways helped you to find your target audience? I would love to hear about it!