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Tell Me – Tina Shelton

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

A Girl and her Rocketship: The Making of The Corsican

No one ever accused The Corsican of being a pretty project. My previous experience with writing had never been anything focused. You know the story; the first four chapters spring forth like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. Then one day you wake up and roll over and the story just isn’t as pretty as it was at three in the morning. You slip away unnoticed, and you never call, and you never write.

Not this time.  I had a directive, given to me by a friend. “Write a story,” she said. And I did. Then what? My project moldered in the ‘holding phase.’ I learned about the joys and pains of waiting to see if my story was accepted. Rejection is a terrible force, but sometimes it can galvanize you.

One day, having just finished an appointment in the unemployment office, my phone rang. My manuscript had been accepted by Anacrusis Press! I was so excited I shook. I had made it past the barrier! The moment felt like I had broken a ribbon, and finished the race.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that this marked where the race began! Pick up any book and you can see how much work has gone into it. Cover art, the font, the inside cover. Not to mention things like distribution channel and percentages.

No one tells authors that they are a small business creating a product line. Anyone knowing a writer knows how far and fast they’ll run screaming if they have to think about their baby as a product.

After suffering the slings and arrows of being a commodity, I’ve learned that marketing is in fact a necessary evil. I have learned how to figure out my target audience. I have learned that I love writing enough to brave a spot on the social stage. Writers tend to need their introverted nature to withstand sitting for hours in front of a computer, turning caffeine into words. It’s a system shock to discover they need other people in order to have an audience.

Stories aren’t meant for an audience of one, after all. No matter how desperately a writer loves their world, at the end of the day they want others to love it too. That desire, more than anything, drives a person to want to be published, to want to put their story on the world market and see how well it does.

Writing a book is an experience that goes on forever. From the first penned word to the special edition with alternate cover, this process transforms the readers and the writers. I loved the challenge of it. I loved it so much that I’m in the middle of editing rounds for my second novel. With luck it should be published around September. From there, who knows where I’ll go? After all, I have a rocketship to take me there.

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Born in Wyoming, Tina Shelton started writing stories in kindergarten and never stopped. Her love of stories grew as she did, taking her to far off planets and mythic realms of magic and swords. She moved to Washington in 1994 and felt instantly at home in the urban sprawl of Seattle. Her storytelling methods were expanded by a group of like minded fiction enthusiasts she met soon after her move. Today she lives in a large town that thinks it’s a city with her husband Luke and son Toby.