I am super excited to get to post the second entry in Journeys today. And it's doubly exciting to announce that the author of today's post is none other than MaryLu Tyndall.
Mrs. Tyndall is the bestselling author of the Legacy of the King's Pirates series (and others) and a huge fan of all things buccaneer.
My Writing Journey
I didn’t have the typical writing journey to publication. I didn’t sweat for years over my writing as a child, didn’t submit twenty thousand manuscripts to publishers for years and years. I don’t have thirty finished unpublished manuscripts hidden away on old computer paper in my closet. Though, let me tell you, those things are the norm for most writers. It’s a tough business and nearly impossible to break into as a new author. Regardless, I always loved writing. Yes, I wrote stories as a young girl, poems, and even a couple novels. I never submitted them to any publishers or agents. I was merely writing for fun and because I loved it. In college, I majored in Math and Computer Science of all things. I mean, a girl’s got to make a living, right? And who makes a living with an English degree? I ended up working as a software engineer for IBM. I made good money, but in all honesty I hated what I did. I dragged myself to work every day and kept dreaming of doing something I loved. I wrote now and then during this time, but rarely due to getting married and having kids. There just wasn’t time to sit down and write a book. Yet, there was always this nagging urge in me to write. I couldn’t stop it. I believe that’s the sign of a true writer. Writing can never be something you do for money. You must love it regardless of whether anyone ever reads what you’ve written.
In 2003, my kids were mostly grown up, my job had settled down, so my time became a bit more flexible. I was on one of my usual prayer walks just chatting with the Lord, and I heard Him specifically tell me to write a novel about a Christian pirate. Of course I thought I was hearing things, so I ignored it. But that small voice inside of me would not stop. So, I figured, what harm could it do? I bought all the books I could on the skill of writing and devoured them. I bought all the books I could on the history of pirates and the Caribbean and studied everything for months. Then I began my book. I wrote during my lunch breaks at work and on weekends, and in about a year and a half I completed my first book, The Redemption. Now what?
All I can say is, God led me step by step. I joined ACFW, where I learned how to query an agent, what agents to query, what publishers were looking for, how to market, what a platform was, etc. Honestly, I didn’t think I stood a chance. I was a completely unknown author with no experience, and I was told publishers weren’t buying historical romances. So, I just prayed and left it in God’s hands. I submitted to twenty agents and then went about my life. Miracle of miracle, one of the agents took me on as a client. Great! First step done. It’s always nice to have an agent in your corner who believes in you. But I’ve known agented writers who after many years have never been able to get published. Anyway, another miracle happened. Just three months after my agent sent out my book to several publishers, one of them picked it up. I got a contract for The Redemption and two other books I hadn’t even written yet and was not planning on writing! To say this was a complete God thing is an understatement. Even my agent told me this was unheard of in the industry.
Now, thirteen years and seventeen books later, I still give credit and glory to God who gave me the talent and discipline to write and then opened all the doors. Of course now there are so many more options for writers. You no longer have to get a contract with a publisher to see your book published. Many writers are independently publishing their books. After fourteen books with my publisher, I decided to go it alone as well, and I’m really happy I did. I have a lot more independence in what I write and when I write, and I love the freedom being an Indie offers.
My advice to new writers? First you cannot forsake learning the craft of writing. Read books, take classes, study hard. It’s one thing to have talent and quite another to have skill. Next, read a ton of good books and analyze why they work. After that, finish an entire novel. So many writers I know cannot even finish one book. And finally and most important, keep in prayer and allow God to direct your steps. He has a plan for you, and I guarantee it’s a good one if you have ears to hear.
I'd like to give a big thanks to Mrs. Tyndall for taking the time to write for us today, and for the great advice.
If you'd like to learn more about Mrs. Tyndall you can go to her website, marylutyndall.com. (I highly recommend you check out her King's Pirates series! She also writes a very interesting blog about the second coming of Jesus, so check that out when you go.)
Thanks for joining us and until next time God Bless You all!