How to Stay Strong While Trying to Get Published: A Conversation With Kelley Kitley
This month, we’re interviewing talented women authors from all over the world and asking them all about their writing process. We had the privilege of speaking with Kelley Kitley about writing 8-10 hours a day with kids, plowing through rejection letters, and finally getting the YES. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Have you written a book? What is it about?
MY SELF: BE brave BE courageous. BE you. (forthcoming in the end of 2016) is about what it takes to recover from an eating disorder, substance abuse, sexual assault, and postpartum panic and anxiety. I have done just this and I became a mental health professional so that I could heal both myself and help others to heal. My professional goal as an author, therapist, and educator is to be a solution to every woman I can reach by telling my story and offering a means to start healing. It’s about my adversity, courage, and breaking the cycle of addiction.
What gave you the courage/motivation to start?
Writing has been a therapeutic process for me since I was 12. It has been a lifelong goal of mine to write a book. I have dozens of journals in my basement and I started going through them and highlighting stories I thought could inspire others to be the best version of themselves. After my 2nd child was born (8 year old daughter) I experienced postpartum anxiety and panic for the 2nd time and writing about my experience was cathartic and a coping mechanism. My husband took the kids to New Jersey to visit his family and gave me 4 uninterrupted days. I sat down and wrote everyday for 8-10 hours. It was a flow of consciousness. I had 2 more children after that which shifted my priorities and put the book on hold. I got sober when my 4th child was almost 1 and I started writing again. It’s been a rigorous yet glorious daily process for the past 3 years.
Did you encounter any problems such as writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome them?
Always. It is part of the process. I would take a break because getting frustrated certainly didn’t help. Exercise seems to help with my creative juices so I would jump on my spin bike or go for a walk and return to writing.
How did you go about finding a publisher/getting the book self-published?
I don’t have an agent so I self submitted to 30 publishing houses. I received rejection letter after rejection letter. There were some “bites” along the way that helped launch me to the next stage but I’ve experienced a lot of disappointment along the journey. I have a couple of options on the table and I’m literally in the process of making a final decision.
Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
Writing a book is such an achievement in and of itself. I felt proud and thought the hard part was done. When I finished the manuscript I had NO CLUE what a daunting experience publishing would be. It’s a different animal and there was a huge learning curve for me. I spoke to other authors and people in the industry-took copious notes and kept plowing through. There are many different options out there about self publishing, independent publishing, and traditional. All options have pros and cons.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book, or starting to write one?
Keep on keeping on! The first rejection letter hit the hardest. After the 10th “Thank you for your submission but it’s not a good fit for us” kept coming in I took a deep breathe and laughed. I’d mark it off my list and look for another outlet. Somebody told me, “When your book is ready, it WILL find a way.” That has been my daily mantra. I’m impulsive and certainly writing a book has taught me to trust the process and be patient.
Photo Credit: Barry Silver