I hold a Master’s Degree in Psychology and enjoyed a successful career in the business world when I retired and decided to turn toward the field I had always yearned to be a part of – novel writing.
My name is Mary Christian Payne, and this is the story of how I became a bestselling historical romance novelist after my first manuscript sat on the shelf collecting dust for forty years.
How I Became a Best Selling Historical Romance Novelist Forty Years Later
I had written all of my life in various genres, including speech writing for politicians and business executives, as well as reports for people who were clients of my career counseling company.
However, I was always intimidated at the thought of submitting my manuscript to a large publishing house and having it rejected. I wanted to find a romance publisher I could trust and form a partnership with. When I first heard about authors publishing their work on Amazon Kindle, I read several books about self-publishing to learn more.
I am not a technologically-skilled person, and didn’t think I could accomplish putting a book on the internet without substantial help. That help came in the form of Tom Corson-Knowles, a man I consider to be the guru of the internet publishing world.
I wrote to him and was amazed when he responded, requesting that I send him a sample of my writing. I did so, and was then thrilled and exhilarated when he telephoned me. We spoke for nearly an hour. The next thing I knew, he asked me to sign a contract to write for TCK Publishing.
I Wrote Every Day Because I Loved to Write
One year later, I had written eight books, and was making enough money to add substantially to my income. I chose to write in the Historical Romance genre. All of my books – thirteen at present, which have all been best sellers on Amazon – take place in England during World Wars I and II, as well as Post-War.
I have learned so much during this journey, and when I look back on how far I have come, I am astounded. I literally had to teach myself English punctuation and sentence structure all over again, and research became an integral part of my endeavor.
Face Checking is Crucial
I learned that my writing and facts must be accurate, especially when they are historical in nature. When I made mistakes, my editor and readers were quick to point out the errors, and for that I am so grateful. I am constantly learning new things and always try my best to avoid making old writing mistakes.
Find Your Writing Voice
I also learned that absolutely NO plagiarism will be tolerated, even if it is as simple as something like the description of a battle in a war. You must learn to take the information and put it into your own words. Learn to make every word, sentence, and phrase your own. Find your unique writing voice and share that with the world.
Rewrite Your Manuscript
When the time comes for me to begin reading through the finished manuscript, I send it to my Kindle. I find in doing so that it is much more like reading a published novel, and it makes it significantly easier to spot places where I feel additional information is needed, or errors need correction.
Find a Good Editor
A good editor is absolutely essential, and it is vital that the writer read through his or her manuscript at least four times before submitting it to the editor. Generally, after a book is edited, I send it on to my editor, who makes whatever suggestions and corrections she feels are necessary.
Then, I go through the manuscript again, accepting or rejecting the edits and ideas from the editor.
I Found a Great Publisher
Finally, the finished copy is sent to TCK Publishing, and they take care of cover design, with my input. I also write the book blurb, a brief summary of the story and content of the book that appears in the book description on Amazon and in industry databases.
At long last, the book appears for sale on Kindle, and I get to see my new novel come alive for my readers.
Expand Your Publishing Formats for Best Selling Books
I have been so successful that now all of my books will be available not only in the Kindle format, but also in paperback and audio. I earn a substantial sum of money from royalties.
During the time I was transitioning to becoming a novelist, I lost my husband to cancer. That meant the income I derived from writing became all the more significant. Today, it helps immensely in meeting my living expenses.
Writing a novel is a lot harder than I originally anticipated. But, the pay-off is too. I cannot think of anything I’ve ever done in my life where I have gained the satisfaction that authorship brings. I do not have any children. Thus, I consider my books to be my ‘babies’, and they will be left behind so that future generations can enjoy and learn from them. I have had many people tell me that besides reading an entertaining tale, they have also learned an enormous amount about the two World Wars which have had such a profound impact on our world.
Writing is Good Therapy
This experience has changed my life in a myriad of ways. As a psychologist, I consider writing to be marvelous therapy!
Instead of going through the unspeakable depression and grief which follows the loss of a spouse whom I adored for 34 years, I eagerly look forward to greeting each day with a cup of coffee and my computer, to continue or begin a new novel. When I am engrossed in writing, I am transported to a different time and place. The hours fly by. I never feel lonely when I am writing.
Seeing your own words printed in an endearing and well-crafted novel is truly a thrill like no other. Like any other artist, you find that you have created something where there was nothing before.
I have no doubt that there are thousands of talented people in this world who would love to share my marvelous experience.
In order to do so, you must take the bull by the horns, and do some research into online publishing. There are scores of books available on Kindle, but I really must recommend Tom Corson-Knowles non-fiction publication The Kindle Publishing Bible, which is the book that started me on my journey of success.
How to Get Your Book Published
If you would like TCK Publishing to publish your book as well, make certain you have three finished novels ready for them to review. Their skills are in great demand, and they do not take on a client who has never done any writing at all.
I promise you won’t be sorry, if you have the talent and the will to carefully study the process he will carefully and clearly outline for you.
You’re Never to Old to Write
I began this adventure when I was seventy years old. Today I am seventy-three, and continue to write, with the hope that my books will become better and better as I continue to progress. It is an amazing feeling to get paid for something I adore doing!
I hope that you will get to experience this feeling someday soon.
Mary Christian Payne is a bestselling author and accomplished business woman who has held high ranking, management positions with Fortune 500 companies in New York City, St. Louis, Missouri, Orlando, Florida, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is a recipient of the Mayor’s Pinnacle Award in Tulsa, for directing a highly successful program at The Women’s Resource Center at the University of Tulsa. All of these positions involved significant amounts of writing. She has also acted as a speech writer for high profile political figures, and for executives of major corporations.