The Story Behind the Neiko Saga Part 3: The Big Leak
Time passes as I go through school with my secret writing projects. I fill notebooks and folders with maps, character sketches, and notes for this new series. I am still making stories with my cousin. Several books are written around homework, band practice, and family life.
After I graduate from high school, I go on to work. I decide to take a couple years and try to decide on what my major will be as well as save and figure out where I was going to school. I qualified for the Hope Scholarship, but the place where I chose to work also offered a scholarship.
Anyway, I keep on writing and keeping it a secret. I don’t tell anyone at work. For the most part, interactions at work were a bit better, but only slightly. I worked the day shift so there really wasn’t many people my age, but maybe it was a good thing.
About two years come and go, and I now have five years of writing under my belt with no intent on publishing. I still kept it a secret from almost everyone except for my parents and grandparents. They either sneaked a peek, or I got on their computer with floppy disk in hand (this was in 2000 and 2001, so USB flash drives were barely coming out).
Whether you believe in a higher power or not, there is no other way to explain the rest of the story. I’ll leave that for your personal preferences, and this isn’t a post about religion. Somebody didn’t want this to remain a secret. Why, I don’t know.
My parents and grandparents couldn’t help themselves and started sharing it with others. Then people came up to me and started asking me questions about those stories. It spread a little bit and people wanted to see a few samples. So I printed off a few pages. They said I need to get this published.
Yeah right. Not happening. Just like Sarah when she was promised Isaac, I laughed. Publishing is probably hard anyway. Besides, these people know me and aren’t being honest, right? No one hardly ever gives me a compliment on anything. There has to be a place where this flies south somewhere. I didn’t really believe them and shrug it off.
Sometime later the computer went kaput and had to be repaired. OMG, talk about the worst two weeks of my life! I was so missing my writing that I got some notebook paper and a pencil and wrote the old fashioned way and would type it in once we got the computer back. Ugh!
During that time, the most peculiar thing happened. The computer repairmen stumble upon those stories as they are working on the computer. They admit to reading them. What?! They were sucked into them. These total strangers said I need to get this published. Ok-kay. What’s up with all these people finding out about my secret? Get it published? Maybe I’ll try someday. It is the only time I remotely consider it at all. I kind of just put it off and brush it aside once more. Besides, it’s getting time for me to go to college soon as soon as I make up my mind about what I was going to do. I know it was going to be something in science. Science was my favorite subject, and that’s not just past tense.
My First and Only Writer’s Conference
The wildfire at church hadn’t quite died down, even though I hadn’t really heard much else about it. As I am still working and sorting out my college plans, a lady at church invites me to go to a writer’s conference with her. I am 21 at the time, and she was middle aged and another gentleman who was writing poetry was going to meet us there. I would ride up with the lady, but I had to stay in my own room. I timidly accept. It was weird going somewhere with someone who wasn’t family or the youth group. I really didn’t know what to expect and had meager expectations.
I put in for the time off which sadly meant I wouldn’t get paid since it was fast food after all, and the looks on their faces about going to a writer’s conference were unforgettable. The lady advised that I bring some other kinds of writing and not any of those stories. I do bring along a few character sketches of some of my favorite characters along just in case. I only had a poem and a short story, so I decide to type up a few other small real life pieces to take along.
When we arrive, all of the authors were in their late 30’s and up. I was the youngest person there and felt really out of place. OMG, what have I just gotten myself into? These people are going to be wondering what this “kid” is doing here. These people aren’t going to take me seriously. What was I thinking (insert country song here)? I’ve really bitten off more than I can chew.
I go to a few of the workshops about how to get published. I did do a few others that went over the writing process in case there was something I didn’t know just to be teachable; most of those went over things I had already been doing for five years and taught myself how to do. Nothing new there. Just as I thought, getting a publishing contract was mindbogglingly hard. Writing a million words. Getting published in magazines. The list goes on. Learning what “freelance” means. Learning about agencies. Query letters. The slant against unknown authors. Expensive marketing budgets. Blacklists. This is just the beginning.
And I want to do this, why? Am I nuts? I must be. I have gotten off the crazy train and straight on into Crazy Town.
However, while I am there, I have a few private sessions with a couple of the instructors–one takes a particular interest in me because I was so young. I share a little with them about my stories. Of course, they want to see samples of the things I don’t bring. I do show a couple sketches. It was there I discovered that I truly had a talent, and after all of this time I had been trying to hide it. It wasn’t like I have been shamed for things I had been good at before. Just like anything good that usually happens for me, the joy doesn’t last.
I go home and try pitching while being on this high. Maybe, just maybe, I would hit a lucky break. I know I am not the only person who has thought this before, I’m sure. Of course, it doesn’t happen. I was an idiot to think so. They wouldn’t touch anything written by a kid anyhow. What was I thinking? People twice my age who have written for magazines for 30 years can hardly catch a break, so why would I believe such a thing?
Disheartened, I put publishing away. I’ll just keep writing if I can find time. I am going to college, and I don’t have time for publishing anyway. It’s just too hard. I may never attempt it again anyway.
Then I had the thought, “What if I could find out how books were made and do this myself somehow? Maybe even better than how they do it?”
About the Author
AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.