Guest Blog: How I Got Here – Kristin Wallace’s Journey

KristinWallace_HeadshotI was about 25 when I had the great epiphany that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Specifically…novel writing. I don’t know why this notion didn’t occur to me earlier. I’d always been a voracious reader (which I blame entirely on my mother). I didn’t just play Barbie’s…those dolls endured soap opera-like sagas. I’d actually started writing stories as far back as high school. But I never connected that with an actual career. I didn’t major in something useful like English or Journalism in college. Instead, I was a theatre major.
After college I drifted for a long time, unsure what I wanted to do. Then this bolt of lightening struck and told me to be a writer. For the next few years I wrote and submitted….and I got absolutely nowhere. At the same time, I was still no closer to finding a career that would let me do important things…like buy food and pay rent. I needed something where I could write and be creative, but actually get paid.
So, I stumbled on another career that I’d never considered…advertising. Specifically, I wanted to be an advertising copywriter. So, I put the writing dream aside and went back to school for the next 2 years. Then I started working. At some point I started writing again. That’s when I had another “great epiphany”. One afternoon I was sitting at my computer working on an outline for a new book and I literally stopped with my hands on the keyboard –and said to myself. “You’ve been doing this writing thing for 10 years and it hasn’t gone away…that has to mean something.”
I knew I had to try again. I joined Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Florida Romance Writers. I quickly discovered that I knew absolutely nothing about actual writing. I started to learn, though. One thing I learned is that the selling a book to an agent or editor starts with a pitch. You have to be able to describe your 300+ page book in one paragraph or less. Imagine my surprise when I realized that wrestling large, complicated subjects into a line and a paragraph of copy was exactly what I did every day for my day job. I also got into the game at a time when publishing was undergoing a radical change. Authors were doing more and more marketing for themselves. Then the advent of epublishers and self-publishing exploded. Both of those avenues are all about marketing, and I’d spent the last decade of my life learning all the skills I would need to sell…myself.
Of course, the awaited book contract still didn’t come right away. It took 6 more years and more “no’s” than I can count. But FINALLY…on May 10, 2013…I got a yes and sold my first book to Astraea Press.