A journey into the unknown.


A Journey into the Unknown by author Karen Ingalls.

My close friend exclaimed, “You must get this published. Every woman needs to read this.” I had reluctantly agreed to let her read my journal that I had kept since my cancer diagnosis. It was just one part of many journals I had kept starting around the age of ten. I had written poetry, short stories, and in my late teens I began my first novel. My times of writing were therapeutic and private. I found answers to the chaos in my dysfunctional family even though I never even told anyone that I did any writing. Though I dreamed of being a famous author, I did not believe that I had the talent. My family was not one to give out compliments regarding my grades, art projects, or how I looked.

 Fifty years later, I was encouraged to publish my journal as a memoir, but I at the same time I felt overwhelmed and frightened. Yet, I had a sense of determination that carried me through. It was 2010, just two years since my diagnosis and little did I know that at 69, my life would forever be changed, renewed, and rewarded.

I went to the local bookstore and purchased a large book with instructions on how to write a query letter and lists of thousands of publishers and agents. One literary agent taught at Columbine High School at the same as a friend of mine. I used his name in introducing myself and sent an overview of and an excerpt from my manuscript. That rejection letter was one of approximately thirty. Such letters made me feel rejected and childhood memories tried to raise their ugly heads, but once again I turned to my mantra, “I can do this”.

I Googled for publishing houses in my area, the Twin Cities of Minnesota. One company asked for an overview of the manuscript to send to their email address. I not only sent my memoir, but I included my then finished novel which I had begun to write as a teenager. A half hour later I received a phone call from Beaver’s Pond Press. “Are you free tomorrow, I would love to meet with you?” Dara Beevas asked.

We concentrated on the memoir first since the market is narrower and be easier to sell. Over the next year I learned about editing, book design, marketing, selling, blogs, and social media. A whole new world opened up to me. My book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir was published in March 2012. I set up accounts with CreateSpace and Amazon, ordered books, and had my first launch.

Novy's Son: The Selfish Genius by [Ingalls, Karen]  Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir by [Ingalls, Karen]  

Here are the main points I learned and continue to learn on this journey:

 1. Believe in yourself.

 2. Be willing to accept criticism and suggestions from those in the publishing world. Be open to learning.

 3. Search the Internet for information on how to write a query letter, addresses of publishers and agents, independent author organizations.

 4. Become familiar with social media.

 5. Find an excellent editor. Your editor will bring your story to life and help you see errors that you have read over many times.

 6. Know that marketing your book is the hardest task you will have, but do not be discouraged. This is where other authors, book or author organizations on the Internet can be of great help.

 7. Join book clubs. The one I have found most helpful, supportive and enjoyable is Rave Reviews Book Club.

I have two published novels and a memoir. Now I am working on my third novel and second memoir. I have many published articles and am a speaker for a variety of different groups. I have two blogs. One is more for my memoir emphasizing health/wellness, spirituality and relationships at http://www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com. My second blog is Mind, Pen, & Spirit for authors and avid readers at http://www.kareningalls.blogspot.com. I welcome you to follow my blogs and do a guest blog.

I am no longer a novice author, but a published author who continues to follow her dream. My journey as an author has been a wonderful learning experience, an opportunity to challenge myself, and a way to meet incredible authors and those who enjoy books. So, I encourage you to pick up the pen, write, and publish your book. Follow your dream.

Author Bio:

Karen Ingalls is an author of two novels, a memoir, and several publications. She has a blog for authors and avid readers Mind, Pen & Spirit at www.kareningalls.blogspot.com and welcomes guest posts. She is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Rave Writers International Society of Authors, Independent Authors Network, and Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club.


















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10 thoughts on “A journey into the unknown.

  1. Being a seasoned woman of 76 and having gone through the Big C, I can totally relate to your beautiful and inspirational writing. I too am published, and I have a long history with publishing, but it surely did take me a long time going through the traditional publishers. At that time it was my pumpkin cookbook, with folklore, history, growing hints, nutrition, and yes, even recipes. I believe I submitted to some 600 publishers, and that is no joke. I put the responses in order according to the types of rejections I received. None of them had anything directly to do with the book except that many of them thought it was too seasonal and in those days, the marketing was different. They could not see that it COULD sell all year around; you can certainly buy canned pumpkin and frozen pumpkin pies all year round.

    I think one publisher overseas might have published it under a different name and title, for they kept the manuscript more than a year, and when they did finally send it back, it appeared to be pretty shopworn. Still, it did not stop me. I was glad when I discovered indie publishing. The first publishing was around 1989, and it was in paper format. I worked a second job as the editor of a small community newspaper in exchange for the printing; when it was done, I rented a comb binding machine and had a collating potluck dinner with friends who helped me to put the book together. I think I had 5,000 copies, and I learned quickly what a lot of work it was, hard work with little results, to get the book out into bookstores and to mail copies that were ordered from Books in Print. It was a good experience though, but one I don’t need to ever repeat.

    Revision two came when I discovered Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and at that time, only knew about doing an Ebook. But I really knew nothing about marketing an Ebook, and I think too that most people would not want to order a cookbook in Ebook form, at least not then. And again, at that time, I still knew very little about marketing, especially with an Ebook.

    I am working on Edition Three, and this time it will be in paperback format too, though I will also keep the Ebook format. I have learned since that last book that a lot of people look at recipes online, and I don’t think that an Ebook is that much different. The book IS a good read and yes, I say so myself. I had a very personal experience and love of pumpkins. At one time, I had some 32 pumpkins of all varieties under my house in the clear space that served as my office. There are other stories in the book about my personal experiences that are not to be missed. I added something else that might be unexpected in a cookbook; photos of quilts and related pumpkin photos as well. Well, not much left to finish up, and I will be putting out a notice when it is republished. Who doesn’t like pumpkin in some form or other?

  2. What a insightful and inspiring post. I understand getting past those negative words from childhood and going for our dreams. Believe in yourself is most important and knowing there is so much to learn and be open to. Well said. Davida is at the top of my reading list and Outshine is on my Kindle too. Happy to see you showcased here:)

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