Emma Lai Shares Great Words

Please welcome author EMMA LAI to our blog-sphere today. Her story about her road to publication is inspiring. Leave her some love!

Liz, thanks for allowing me to take over your blog today. I’m going to write about some of the ins and outs of publishing for aspiring writers by talking about my own personal experience on the road to publication.

My journey to publication was short. The first story I submitted was contracted. However, I believe there were a number of factors which contributed to the success. First, I didn’t submit the first story I’d ever written, which was, and still is, in the process of being rewritten. (The first story is rarely the best written though it might be near and dear to the heart.) Second, I had the story critiqued by someone I trusted to be honest. Honesty is crucial. Just because a story is good doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flaws. Third, I researched the market. Finding the right publisher is crucial. We all like to dream of making it big, but the bigger publishers aren’t necessarily the best for the story.

Now, I was not immediately offered a contract for His Ship, Her Fantasy. It turns out the publisher was in the process of changing their submission guidelines and the story now fell under the minimum word limit. The editor asked me to add 2,500 words, so I did. (I always take my editors requests/suggestions seriously. It’s fine to disagree with some of the requests, but I try to be kind, courteous and responsive.) After a couple of rounds of edits, I received my contract. Galleys followed relatively soon thereafter. Then a wait of a few months for release date.

However, I wasn’t just waiting for the release date. I kept writing and submitted a second story, His Hope, Her Salvation. I also started building relationships with other writers. I launched a website and a blog. I featured author interviews to build traffic to my site. A month, or so, prior to my release, I started doing guest spots on the blogs of other authors. I also ran a contest for the entire month after the release. When it was all finished, I started the process over again for the second story, which had been contracted and edited during this time.

That was all in the first year after I decided to write full-time. Since then, I’ve contracted two more stories, Twice is Not Enough and Slave to Innocence, both of which recently released. Going into year three of my career as an author, I have a couple of stories in submission and multiple works in progress.

There are obviously a number of factors that go into getting a book published and the process is an emotional rollercoaster. A support group of some kind is crucial. My own has been invaluable.

I can’t give any one piece of advice because of the complexity of the process. I can say that if you don’t try and get published then you’ll never succeed.

Great words, EMMA!



  1. Thanks for sharing your blog with me today, Liz!

  2. Hi Emma,
    You are so right about honest feedback. I would not be where I am today w/o my critique partners. They are invaluable.
    Just read TWICE last night and LOVED it. Hot stuff!
    (But since I have it, you don’t have to put my name in the drawing;)
    Great post, ladies!!

  3. Glad to hear the honest truth about how an overnight sensation “isn’t”. Thanks for your great post.

    • Candace, a lot of work goes into being an overnight sensation. I recently read an interview by Kat Martin, who has hit it big, and she talks about the emotional roller coaster writers go through. I can only imagine how I’ll feel after twenty-five years in the industry.

  4. Great post, Emma!


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