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A Publishing Journey by RC Hancock … from contest to published!

Thursday, 31 July 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


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A Publishing Journey by RC Hancock

My first novel I wrote and queried on my own. It was a lonely time and after 100 or so rejections, I shelved it.

With my second novel (early 2012) I started to reach out to fellow writers for support as much as advice. On Query Tracker they helped me with my agent letter and I heard mention of blog hosted writing contests. They sounded like a lot of fun, and when this mysterious person named Brenda Drake made a post on QT about her 35-word contest, I knew I had to give it a try.

I was elated when Agent Sara Sciuto “shot me” with a paintball and asked to see my ms. Even more exciting, she soon had me revise and resubmit. (This was my R&R first ever!!)

Although Ms. Sciuto ended up passing, she helped me so much by guiding me in fixing Bruno’s parents and tweaking characters’ motivation to make the whole thing more realistic. She also recommended I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Brown which completely overhauled my writing style.

Now that I had a taste for contests I entered them ad nauseum with mixed results. I ended up with an offer from a small press, as well as another R&R with another awesome agent who had me completely rewrite the first half and change the entire conflict in the novel. She was brilliant and she did wonders for my story but she was also exceptionally busy.

That’s why when a friend (and talent manager) got me another offer for publication with a larger press, I asked her to be my agent. (This was a tough decision, but decided in the end it was better to have a brand spanking new agent who had nothing but time and enthusiasm for me than being on someone’s back burner.)

I’ve loved working with the people at Cedar Fort. They’re very professional and I absolutely love the cover they’ve designed for me.

I’m currently in the last round of substantive edits and will start copyediting in Sept.

December 9th seems so far away, but at least my book is up for preorder now on Amazon, so it feels like something is finally happening. Now I’m working on book #3.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last five years:

Take it one step at a time and appreciate every single person who helps you along the way.

Forge friendships and working relationships. Read blogs and stay connected. Not only is it great for morale, you’ll hear about great opportunities and be able to help others on their journey.

Don’t let yourself be so blinded by your goal (I wanted an agent in NY and a 6-figure deal with Scholastic) that you overlook awesome opportunities. There are definite advantages to publishing with a smaller house!

And most of all, take chances. Write the book you want to write, and let people read it! Take risks, enter contests, and if the traditional route isn’t loving you, take it on your own. Writing and publishing is tough but if you invite the right people, it can also be a never-ending party.



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RC (Really Cool) Hancock began his writing career with a story about a dead cat which his second grade teacher thought was brilliant. Convincing others of his literary genius has taken longer than expected, but along the road he has acquired a lovely wife, four entertaining ankle-biters (who, thankfully, look more like their mother), and a degree from BYU in Recreational Management & Youth Leadership (which means he’s really good at having fun.) An Uncommon Blue is his first novel.

  • RC says:

    Thanks so much Brenda for all your help and support. Without your blog contests, I’d probably still be writing alone in my bedroom with a mountain of my own slush. 🙂

  • Traci Krites says:

    Sounds like some fantastic opportunities came along with opening up more to other writers and contests. I hope to do the same with the contests here in the future.

  • Jaida Brown says:

    Wow. I think it’s amazing what the internet has opened up. Good advice from RC Hancock as well.

  • Melody Whipple says:

    I’m so very happy that things are working out for you the way they should and the way you deserve. Congratulations on all your endeavors! I’m sure you’ve worked hard to get them up and going…and I really do enjoy reading your writing. My next tab to be opened will be Amazon to pre-order my book! Great advice…I just might have to take some of it, lol!

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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