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Rising Stars: Meet Karin Beery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karin Beery. 

Hi Karin, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always been an avid reader, and fiction has been my escape for years. I hadn’t read much since graduating college (after years of academic reading, I needed a break), but when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I needed a way to forget about everything for a few hours each day. I read almost a book a day until I had gone through all of my favorite books by my favorite authors. At that point, I decided to write my own book. 

It took six weeks to write the first manuscript–it was terrible! But once I knew I could write that many words, I wanted to see what it would take to get a book published. That led me to studying fiction writing which led me to learning to edit which led me deeper and deeper down the publishing hole. I learned that I love almost everything about writing, editing, and publishing. 

I started this journey in 2007. I now own Write Now Editing, a freelance editing business, have two novels and a novella published, and my agent is pitching one to publishers as I write this. I’ve worked for publishers as both a general and an acquiring editor, and I teach writing and editing classes online and at conferences across the country. I’ve been able to take my passion for fiction and turn it into my career. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Nothing about this journey has been smooth. It all started with my husband’s cancer (he’s healthy now!), which was a struggle in and of itself, but publishing is NOT an easy path. Rejection is a part of this life–manuscripts are rejected by publishers; edits are rejected by authors; books are rejected by readers. 

I think one of the biggest struggles, though, is having to accept that this is a slow industry, and building a career takes times. It’s tempting to want to skip steps and publish by yourself for yourself, but if you don’t take the time to learn everything you need to know first, you can still fail. 

There’s a LOT to learn to become successful in publishing, and even after you learn it all, there’s no guarantee it will work right away because writing/reading is subjective. You’ll never be everyone’s favorite. Not everyone will like you. And even if they do like you, you might not be the right person or project for them at that time. There are so many reasons why manuscripts/books don’t sell that it can become frustrating and discouraging. But that’s what sets successful writers apart from others–it’s not that they don’t get frustrated or discouraged, it’s that they keep writing through it. I hope I can look back at my career someday and see where I worked through the struggles instead of letting them stop me. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I write hopeful fiction with a healthy dose of romance (I don’t understand the point of novels without kissing scenes). When I was a kid, there weren’t a lot of young adult books, so once I finished reading Nancy Drew, The Babysitter’s Club, and Sweet Valley High, I ran out of options. A friend loaned me some of her mom’s romance novels–the stories were fun, but I wasn’t quite ready for the steamy scenes! 

When I started writing fiction, I wanted to write something I could have read in high school, but also something I’d enjoy reading as an adult. I wanted to write a book that a mom could comfortably share with her teenage daughter AND her mother. My books aren’t always traditional romance novels, but I do promise some romance (and at least one good kiss!). 

On the editing side of things, my specialty is substantive fiction editing–I help authors work through big-picture issues, like characterization, pacing, plot holes, voice, etc. (I save grammar and punctuation for the copyeditors.) I’ve edited novels for Iron Stream Fiction (formerly Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) for a few years now, and each of the novels I’ve edited has been nominated for (or won!) an award. 

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Be patient and stay teachable. 

I meet so many writers who think they can (and should!) get their first manuscript published in a year or two. It takes a lot longer than that to learn how to write a good novel; then it takes a few more years to master those skills. 

If you’d rather not wait that long, you can hire help, but you need to do your homework. There are a lot of good editors out there; there are also a lot people who think they can edit. Do some research. Find a good editor. Then TRUST your editor–it’s not enough to hire someone if you don’t take their suggestions and learn from the process. 

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Image Credits

Malcolm Yawn

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