Sarah is a Tree District Books author. Her book, The Devil's Queen, may be purchased on our website here or on Amazon here.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write.
I have notebooks and notebooks filled with half finished ideas, characters that I instantly fell in love with, and plots that never went anywhere. If I’m not typing away on my phone, I’m reading my current favorite genre, which always has some link to romance.
Romance and writing have a lot in common for me.
It served as a way to pass the time when I was writing it and a way to escape into a new world when I was reading it.
Its always been the one constant in my life.
For a while I wasn’t sure if anything was ever going to come of my writing, it was a past time, something that I just enjoyed doing because it was fun. Of course I had big hopes and dreams, maybe one day I would make it big and have my name on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Maybe one day I would be able to make a living from writing and be able to immerse myself in the world and culture that is romance writers and readers.
Tree District has made that dream a reality.
While currently my first book is due out in June, and I’m not famous quite yet, Tree District has given me a chance to live my dream.
I started writing The Devil’s Queen during a dark spot in my life, it was the one year anniversary of my father’s passing and I was still coming to terms with it. As a young woman it was hard to think that he was gone and as the oldest of three girls, it was harder to believe that my sisters wouldn’t have him for their future milestones.
My Mom, as always was a rock, she’s been the biggest supporter and fan that any of us could have asked for, and when I told her I was writing again she was so happy. Regardless of losing her husband of 20 years she was sucking it up and cheering me on.
My dad used to laugh at me. He would roll his eyes when I would sit at the kitchen table and tell him about my hopes in dreams. Not in a way to discourage me, just a reminder to be realistic. But there was always a smile on his face when he would watch me, and if I was making him proud that was all that mattered.
I started the Devil’s Queen on a whim, the first few chapters just flew from my fingers. There was no stopping me, I felt like I was on cloud nine, and it felt so great. A friend of mine had just self-published a book and after picking her brain about the entire process, I truly felt like it was something I could do. (Thanks, Deanne!)
I was ready to go and I had every intention of doing it on my own. I was going to self-publish, I was going to figure out how to pay for everything, and do my best to make sure my first manuscript was as error free as possible. But as per usual, needing some inspiration and a place to procrastinate, I was on Instagram one day and came across a post from Tree District. ( if you’re not following them, go do it, it’s a great place to stay up to date on everything going on with our writers ) It was a simple post, something along the lines of them looking for new manuscripts to read, and if it was something I was interested in to reach out to them.
And I did! As soon as I hit send on that email, I was terrified.
I had never been that girl, the one who just jumps and goes for it.
I’m more reserved and quiet, I like to weigh my options, and then drive myself crazy between wanting to do it and not having the guts to actually act. Waiting for a response was beyond nerve-wracking and in that time frame I had managed to convince myself it would never happen.
Why would they message me back? I was a random author from social media. Would they think I was being too forward?
Would they think I wasn’t experienced enough?
Maybe they had enough manuscripts and I had missed my chance.
Literally, I was driving myself crazy. So when I got in bed that night I was resigned to my self-imposed fate, but proud that I had even attempted to do something about my writing career. Again, browsing social media, my endless scrolling was interrupted by an email.
From Tree District!
When I tell you I nearly died, I mean I nearly died. That night was my first communication into the writing and publishing world and I found that Christina was one of the easiest people to talk to. She answered every single question I had and in case you haven’t caught on by now, I ask a lot of questions.
What did the process entail? What was expected of me? Were all genres accepted? Did it have to be a certain length? When could I expect a response if I chose to submit something?
On and on I asked, and on and on Christina answered. Their was never a lull in the conversation that lasted over a couple days, I never felt like I was being a bother, and she always seemed genuinely excited to help me. Which I’m forever grateful for.
After ending our conversation, I had some thinking to do.
As much as I love writing, I didn’t love rejection.
And while I was confident in my abilities and my storyline, I wasn’t sure anyone else would find it interesting. How could they when there were so many other talented writers who were most likely submitting their works. Honestly, I gave up on the idea. I was proud of myself for taking the chance, glad that I had responded to Christina, and tentatively hopeful about what could possibly be coming in my future.
Two weeks had past when I got another email, from Christina.
She was just checking in, she asked how my writing was going and if I had thought anymore about submitting my manuscript. Two weeks had gone by and she had taken the time to reach out to me, it genuinely meant the world to me. In that moment I decided to submit the proposal, regardless of what happened. I was read and if I was being honest with myself if I didn’t do it, I would wonder for the rest of my life what could have been. So I got my submission ready and hit send.
Two weeks went by, the absolute longest two weeks of my life. I was terrified of the answer, again, convinced that they didn’t like my work and were trying to think of the easiest way to let me down. But they didn’t.
It was pouring rain, I was with my family, and talking to my mom when I got the email. They had accepted my manuscript. I cried so many tears that day. Tears of excitement and happiness and relief. Tears because my dad wasn’t there to be happy with us. It has been, by far, the best day of my life to date.
Christina has made the process since so easy, she has been my greatest asset through this journey and an incredible mentor. The writing wasn’t the hard part it turned out, it was everything that came with it. Editing and I are not friends, and seeing as it was my first time working through a piece so important to me, my feelings were most definitely involved. So as I had questions or concerns, I would email, and try not to make myself insane waiting for a response. I wanted everything to be perfect and Christina made sure that I understood every aspect of the process and all the why’s behind it.
There were some things I fought for, some things I lost on, but ultimately I learned so much through the process.
Working with Christina and Tree District throughout this time has been the best thing I ever could have done for myself. Learning the different aspects of this world has been wonderfully enlightening. I have every intention of using my new skills in the future, with Tree District.
If you’re reading this as a writer and you’re new to Tree District, please go explore their website and the different skills they offer. If you’re just here as a curious reader, go explore the books on sale. So many talented authors are getting to experience their dreams through Tree District and they deserve your support.
If you want to continue to see where my career leads me, please feel free to follow me on Facebook and Instagram! I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my journey, I’m looking forward to the future!