Author Raven West

“Overnight” Success Takes About 10 Years

The writer’s road is paved with pot holes and detours. Unless you’re a well-established author, a celebrity, or a politician, where publishing houses beat down your door with offers of huge contracts and advances, most writers are simply doing our best to just keep going.

I spent eight years writing my first novel “Red Wine For Breakfast”. It was never my intention to publish the book, it was only an exercise to help me deal with the untimely death of my best friend. I thought it was a decent story, so I printed it in booklet form on my lasejet and took it to a printer who bound it with a plastic comb. I gave it to some friends, who agreed the book was pretty good and convinced me that I should try to have it published.

That was in 1996, long before the explosion of the Electronic Revolution, and Print On Demand publishing. After sending it out to a few literary agents, I was very excited to receive letters of acceptance from several. Until I read the last paragraph which recommended that I first hire a “Book Doctor” to made some edits, and then they would consider representation. My initial excitement turned to suspicion when I received six letters from different agent, all with the exact same recommendation. After a bit of internet checking, I discovered these acceptance letters were part of a kick-back scam.

I was then approached by a woman who had read my book and wanted to option it for a movie. I was thrilled. Press releases were sent, events were organized, but she never signed the contract agreement for payment. The only similarities between my book and the script was the title, the names of the characters and the setting. The person who wrote the script had changed everything else, so I cancelled the option, took my book and what was left of my dream, and walked away.

Soon after, I signed with iUniverse, one of the very first POD’s in the publishing business. They promised that their titles would be in every Barnes and Noble store, we could host book signing events and be a “published author”. For only $99. I was the featured author at several of these events, but in time book stores became inundated with “published” authors, and stopped scheduling iUniverse authors.

Then, I received an email from another author who was going to start his own publishing company. He not only wanted to re-publish Red Wine For Breakfast, but would create a new cover, along with my new Pen Name, and also publish my second novel First Class Male.

I was thrilled. I scheduled a huge book party at a local hotel, invited friends and the media to attend and everything was set for the new release;

September 15, 2001.

The books were grounded, along with every other airline, and never made it to my event.

In 2006, he published Journey To Dimension Nine, a collection of erotica short stories. The cover was perfect, the book went up on And not a single one was sold. I then received an e-mail from a new independent publisher who was starting an erotica sub-section for his company, had read my book, and wanted to publish it under his new section.

He sent me a contract. I sent him the files. Again, I was elated. Again, I was disappointed.

The publishing date was to be June of 2009, then July, then August. Yesterday, I received an email saying that his entire venture was going to have to be pushed back until January of 2010…or later, if at all.

Throughout these highs and lows of my writing career, I never gave up. A few months ago, I received an email from another publisher who was interested in “Red Wine For Breakfast”. I called her, we talked for over an hour. She sent the contracts, I sent the files. We worked to exhaustion over the past few months going over the manuscript line by line to produce an excellent novel that everyone is very proud.

The scheduled release date is September 15.

I’ve always said that “overnight success” takes about ten years. It’s been a very long, very bumpy road since 1999 when I started this journey, but now I’m on my third novel with many more to go. No one said this trip would be easy, but success, real success, never is.

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