Sunday, July 21, 2019

My Journey to Publication - aka DON'T GIVE UP

This past week, everyone has been so amazing and supportive, with friends and strangers saying delightful things about A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN and adding it on Goodreads (you can do that here!).

I've dreamt of being a published author since elementary school. This journey was far from an overnight success. If you spend that much time working on a dream, you might get discouraged, like I didmany times.

I thought of this line a lot…

Sometimes it's very difficult to keep momentum
If it's you that you are following.
-"New Argentina", Evita

That's essentially what we as creatives are doing—trusting over and over that we've carved out the right path, and while we may make adjustments, we have to keep going to get where we want to be.

So, if you're like me, you're writing and writing, and learning, and growing, and collecting some praise, but lots of passes (more on this below). Accounts of longer publishing journeys like from the wonderful Beth Revis helped me keep my faith.

So, here's my path.

I wrote a lot in school and some in college, but never managed to complete a novel until 2011, when I figured out the two keys for me were knowing the ending and trying to write in first person. Eureka! A full novel! I was a writing genius!


Since then I completed many full first drafts, and polished and queried several of them. I signed with an agent (yay!), went on sub, but my story didn't find a home. My agent's interests changed, and we parted ways. I found myself at a crossroads.

1. I was starting to lose faith in myself as a writer (again). Massive are-you-just-wasting-your-time feelings crashed over me.
2. But I still believed in A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN with all my heart.

I worked on my next WIP, but I also used feedback from some editors from my round of subs and revised Dragonbird on my own. I sent it to a small number of respected publishers that take unagented submissions.

On my birthday (seriously, on my birthday), Kelsy Thompson from Flux requested my full. Fast forward a few months, and she asked if it was still available! And now A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN will be published by Flux in Fall 2020.

So, to get to this point of having a publishing deal, I had 8 years of hard work, heartbreak, hope, and learning. I wrote 9 manuscripts and queried 5 of them. I received somewhere around 300 passes.

Yes. 300. And some of them were really important, because they contained feedback that helped me grow as a writer. And if I had given up at 100 or 200 or even 250, I wouldn't be looking forward to holding my book in my hands.

So, keep writing, keep learning, believe in yourself!


  1. Laura(Lori), we are so proud of you! I have been incredibly impressed by your dedication and conviction to your writing over the years. Without a doubt, you have earned any reward that may be coming your way. You should know that you are an inspiration to me and all others that know you. I couldn’t agree more, DON’T (ever) GIVE UP...words to live by!

    With love,


  2. Ha, you have already made me cry, so proud of you big sis! I really wish that I would have made the time to read through your blog earlier.