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GUEST POST: A Coat of Polish will do the Trick by Marissa Campbell

Hello awesome readers! Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I've got something special for you! Marissa Campbell, author of the newly released AVELYNN, has written an incredible guest post on the importance of polishing your manuscript!

But before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about our lovely author!

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Look for her debut historical fiction AVELYNN, available now from St. Martin's Press. She is now hard at work on the second book in the AVELYNN series.

She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, TRW, Writers’ Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7.

When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

Now on to the post!

A Coat of Polish will do the Trick by Marissa Campbell

With my first book, Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day, I started out by self-publishing. With Avelynn, I went the traditionally published route. Surprisingly, the two paths share remarkable similarities. The biggest commonality for me was the role editing played in my work.

I wrote Life with my beautiful co-author Annemarie Greenwood, and neither one of us knew one iota about publishing a book. We had a powerful and uplifting message to write and a stubborn mission to get it out there in the world. We wanted to help people.

While the first part of the process took us three years (just writing the crazy thing) it was, in retrospect, the easy part. The second aspect, the dissemination part of the equation—or how on earth do we get this book in to the hands of readers, was a complete mystery. So, we did what we thought was right. We had friends who were English majors pour over our pages looking for errors, we had a family member format the pages and design our breathtaking cover, and we took our masterpiece to a local printer, ordering two hundred copies of our shiny new book. We even worked tirelessly to secure prime real estate in our local book store.

Flash forward to our first editorial review. The reader loved the message in the book, but felt the copy could have been edited better. What was this? We had the book edited! We had six wonderful people pull out their red pens and slash, correct, and fix at will.

Oh, to know then what I know now! We pulled the book from the shelves, paid a copyeditor to go through it, and rereleased the book, earning an Editor’s Choice award and incredible praise in the 2012 Reader’s Digest Self-Publishing Contest. The take away? When self-publishing, hiring accredited individuals or organizations—people who routinely get paid to edit books—to dig into and tidy up your manuscript is essential to your credibility and professionalism as an author.

One would think I would have learned. However, when I finished my first draft of Avelynn, I sent it out into the big wide world of submissions, querying my dream agents and publishers. After receiving several form rejections, I thought it best to take a closer look at what was going on in those pages. What was I missing?

It was time to roll up my cuff sleeves and really get to work! I attended a master class with Barbara Kyle, author of the Thornleigh Saga series, workshopping my first fifty pages; I sent off the full manuscript for a critique with Barbara Rogan, author of A Dangerous Fiction, and I hired The Editorial Department (TED) to go through the final draft for substantial and stylistic editing. Once I made changes to the manuscript based on all that feedback, I sent the final, final, final draft off to a local editor for copyediting.

With all that effort and expertise behind me, I sent Avelynn out again, and this time, my tight and polished prose caught the attention of Margaret Bail at Inklings Literary Agency, who in turn pitched it to several editors. Both St. Martin’s and Amazon offered on the book.

In a world where self-publishing is accessible to everyone, and the competition to get noticed is fierce, it’s essential to establish yourself as a professional, someone who takes the craft seriously and only submits their very best work. First drafts are just that, first drafts. You are your brand, and what you send out into the world represents you and your work as an author. You want your work to stand out for its effortless prose, not its misplaced commas. You need to set yourself apart from those who are only willing to go half the distance. It was a tough lesson, but in the end I learned this: putting the best story forward requires passion, perseverance, and polish. Polish till it shines!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

A HUGE thanks to Marissa for the awesome post! Such great advice to all aspiring writers out there! Don't miss an opportunity because you skipped such an essential step. Polish till it shines, writer peeps!

Now let's talk about AVELYNN, Marissa's debut historical fiction novel! When I saw the press release for this book, I was SO excited. Ever since Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series stole my heart, I've been a little bit obessed with historical fiction. This book is right up my alley and looks amazing! I cannot wait to dive into this one!

Summary: One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and her fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut

869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Ealdorman of Somerset, has lived in an environment of love, acceptance, and equality. Somerset has flourished under twenty years of peace. But with whispers of war threatening their security, Avelynn’s father makes an uncompromising decision that changes her life forever.

Forced into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status, Avelynn’s perception of independence is shattered. With marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik The Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed.

In a year of uncertainty that sees Avelynn discover hidden powers, stumble into a passionate love affair with Alrik, and lead men into battle, Avelynn must walk a fine line as her deceptions mount and Demas’ tactics to possess her become more desperate and increasingly brutal.

Avelynn and Alrik are caught in the throes of fate as they struggle to find the way back to themselves and onwards to each other.

AVELYNN is available here: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Be sure to add AVELYNN to your GoodReads shelf and check out the awesome book trailer!

AVELYNN by Marissa Campbell is AVAILABLE NOW! What are you waiting for? GO CHECK IT OUT!!

Lastly, as a thank you for supporting Marissa and stopping by my blog, click HERE to enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!

Happy reading!

Until Next Time, Folks!

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