For starters, I wrote the novel on an actual computer. :) I joined a critique group and got feedback. And when it was all said and done, I queried agents. Although back then, most of the agents still wanted snail mail. I even sent my manuscript via snail mail. It sounds so ridiculous now! Thank God for the Internet. It certainly opened up the publishing world.
But back on topic, my novel in college was called The House of Saffron and it actually was the very beginnings of the story that would once become The Charge. Of course, not a single word from that original version made it into The Charge, but The House of Saffron was sort of a prequel to The Charge. That's one way to world build. Write in the same world for 10 years!
The House of Saffron was probably bad. I don't really know as I haven't re-read it. I'm a little afraid to. But it was certainly a step in the right direction. I sent only a few queries, like maybe five, before I decided to shelve it, which now seems like a somewhat lame attempt at publication. But to my credit, I also went to a conference and pitched my story to an agent in person, and as someone who's long suffered from social anxiety, that was no easy task! It was absolutely terrifying.
It was so taxing that I didn't even stay for the rest of the conference that I had paid for (okay, my mom paid for it). I just went home and went to bed. The agent requested a partial but ultimately said no.
I shelved my novel, which was difficult. But I had accepted that it wasn't ready for publication. Negative feedback made me defensive and ripped me to shreds, so it was too hard for me to make the improvements it needed. I was too young. I didn't have the confidence I would need to withstand the critique and query process.
But I knew I wasn't really giving up. I would make another attempt at publication, and of course, I did. Tomorrow, I'll talk about my third attempt at publishing a novel.
And now, enjoy the trailer for The Charge, my debut novel which will release this Saturday!