September 7, 2022
I could write a book. we’ve all said it one time or another, whether it’s because we know a lot about a certain topic, or because we’ve had it up to here with our circumstances.
But in my case, I wrote a book because I couldn’t find any women’s fiction I liked. I’m not all that fussy; it’s just that I was looking for a story I could relate to, where the main characters were all women closer to my age, which at that time was 68. Just try to find a novel like that. I dare you
I wondered, how hard could it be to write a novel? After all, I’d written a Sunday column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for more than 20 years, as well as a couple nonfiction books and a client workbook. As a longtime self-employed executive and career coach, I’d written profusely. Surely I could bang out a novel in a few months.
So, to get some guidance, I joined two writers’ associations, listened to podcasts, watched videos, read books, and attended virtual conferences. All these actions quickly taught me one thing: I had a lot to learn.
But the pandemic was raging, and with little else to do, I dug in.
I drafted a chapter and sent it to a writers’ group for critiquing. Ow. Got some tough feedback. Rewrote it. Moved to the next chapter. Same pain. Another rewrite. And so on, all the way through, with the only interruption being a total meltdown the entire month of January, 2021.
And then, in spring of 2021, after seven months of total immersion, I had a solid manuscript.
But I still had no title! I’d been using the working title “Baby Boomer Reunion,” but informal surveys showed my target readers — women 50-plus — found it unappealing. As I waited for inspiration, I hired a developmental editor to get big-picture feedback on the manuscript. I made the changes she suggested, then put together the items necessary to get an agent and a publisher—query letter, synopsis, back-of-the-book blurb, tagline, photo, market analysis, and bio. Then, at the last minute, the title Falling Apart, Falling for You popped into my brain. The editor loved it because it captures the essence of the story: three women with lives in a free fall 40 years after their high school graduation, and the men who offer an element of romance.
Now, I was ready to acquire an agent and a publisher. This process is so daunting that most writers skip it entirely and self-publish. But I had self-published my nonfiction works, and this time, I wanted the benefits of having a traditional publisher. I have a “platform” as they call it — a client mailing list, a presence on social media, and experience in public speaking. While my platform is good, it’s not enough to appeal to a large publishing house. My options were therefore limited to hybrid publishers and small presses. My editor connected me with a respected hybrid publisher, but after consideration, I demurred. That left me with about 20 small presses to research, which I crossed off the list, one by one.
In the end, Elk Lake Publishing was the sole remaining small press on my list. All my eggs in one basket! When I learned the publisher and I shared the same birthday — April 29 — I wrote directly to her and used our common birthday as my hook. To my amazement, four days later, on Labor Day 2021, she sent me a contract, and nearly eight months later, on my 70th birthday, my debut novel was published.
Falling Apart, Falling for You, published by Elk Lake Publishing, is available on Amazon.com and BN.com. Chris Posti’s website is chrisposti.com.