Author Parker Peevyhouse has a response ready when other avid readers ask her if she’s read specific books. “Not yet,” she answers. But, if the book sounds strange enough, you can count her in! Parker (who has already published three young adult novels, created web courses to teach writing, and participated in multiple author events) still has many things she hopes to get to — someday. Just, not yet. Maybe even one day, a scented card game!
It’s true that Parker’s love of escape rooms and puzzles is a big inspiration for the plots in her science fiction novels. However, it’s her part-time job tutoring high schoolers in English that gives her first hand insight into the way teens quickly move back and forth between “kid and adult” quickly — which shows up on the page in her character’s choices.
Parker shares her experiences dealing with agents and editors, and says to persevere in publishing, “You have to be a little bit narcissistic.”
Having her books published and on the shelves in bookstores hasn’t been exactly what Parker expected. But even through the challenges, she’s learned to turn a difficult situation around for good.
She shares a story about appearing at a bookstore for a signing as a new author where a popular Young Adult author was at a nearby table. The staggeringly long line stretching in front of her table for the other author felt like a big letdown at first. Until Parker realized she had a captive audience to talk to about her book — and soon she was making sales. We can’t wait to see what future works Parker has in store for all of us.
How Parker Peevyhouse became a published author
Parker has always had a passion for writing and reading since youth. When she was young, her creativity drove her to write scripts and stories that she would use to put on a show with her friends.
In her school days, there was a contest involving the renowned Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. The challenge? To craft an ending to a provided story.
Parker added a unique twist to her submission and won the contest. Her work was published in a magazine, a major accomplishment for any kid.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov
When Parker was in college, she decided to push herself to write one short story every month and attempt to get published. Despite her dedication, her short stories were never published.
After her first year of college, she secured a book deal. But before she really became a published author, Parker encountered her fair share of rejection.
She mentions from her experience firsthand that not every publisher or agent will align with your work. This is where resilience comes into play, an aspect of the Scout mindset. In a nutshell, this mindset explores the potential of seeing things as they are, not as you wish they were. Be realistic, basically.
As an author, you are more likely than not to face rejection on your path to publication. Don’t let this deter you. It is simply a matter of finding the right agent whose values align with yours.
Is becoming an author the right career for you?
The dream of becoming an author is an appealing one, to be sure. However, it’s essential to pause and reflect on whether becoming a full-time author aligns with your financial and life goals.
It goes without saying that in order to become an author, you’ll need a passion for writing. If you find fulfillment in putting your thoughts into words on paper and turning them into stories, then you’re already on the right path.
Photo by Los Muertos Crew
Parker’s passion for writing began in her childhood, where she eagerly penned scripts and stories. She had a genuine love for storytelling which served as the bedrock of her career.
This genuine love for writing, as well as confidence in her own work, gave Parker the resilience she needed to weather the setbacks she faced.
Some publishers simply may not align with your work, and some agents may not share your vision. There is someone out there that does though, so don’t give up in your search.
Parker successfully changed agents when her first one wasn’t interested in what she was working on.
When you’re a full-time author, your job is more than just writing. It’s also about promoting your work and networking. No promotion, no sales. Parker promotes her work in ways that don’t feel burdensome to her (Not everyone’s a natural born sales-person).
Whether it’s appearing on podcasts you love or engaging in creative promotional strategies, authors need to be proactive in getting their work out into the world.
Being an author often requires a delicate and conscious balance between writing and other responsibilities. Parker, for instance, dedicates her mornings to writing and takes Sundays off to clear her mind. As an aspiring full-time author, you’ll need to prioritize effectively and find the right schedule that works for you.
Finally, take inspiration from other authors. Parker draws inspiration from Jane Austen, who famously broke an unfair contract and continued writing. Are you willing to stand up for yourself and your work if needed?
Being an author full-time is a career that demands passion, resilience, some level of extroversion, and a love for storytelling. However, if you don’t write or promote what you write, your finances will suffer.
As you contemplate whether this path is right for you, remember that challenges and setbacks are part of the process. But with the right mindset and dedication, you can embark on a fulfilling journey as an author.
How to become a published author
Becoming a published author is a dream cherished by many. It’s no doubt that the path to getting published is hard, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. In this section, we’ll explore steps and strategies to help you turn your writing aspirations into a reality.
Hone Your Craft
Before you can even think about publishing, it’s essential to focus on your writing skills. Dedicate time to improve your craft by reading often and writing regularly. During Parker’s first year of college, she challenged herself to write one short story a month.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood
In addition, consider joining writing groups or workshops in your area to receive feedback and guidance from fellow writers. Peer review is an invaluable resource when it comes to refining your craft. Not only will you improve in your writing, but you’ll grow your network too.
Write with Resilience
Rejection is a part of the publishing world. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue getting published. Parker faced her fair share of rejection before successfully publishing her work, which is a common experience for most authors.
Remember that rejection isn’t a reflection of your worth as a writer but rather a part of the journey. Just because one agent doesn’t align with your work, doesn’t mean another won’t.
It is vital to develop resilience as well as a growth mindset. Learn from rejection, but don’t dwell on it. Use feedback to improve your writing and keep submitting your work to publishers and literary agents.
Build a Strong Portfolio
As you continue to write and refine your work, build a strong portfolio of pieces that showcase your versatility as a writer. This might include short stories, articles, essays, or even the beginning of a novel. Having a portfolio not only demonstrates your skills but also provides a body of work to share with potential agents or publishers.
Understand the Industry
Familiarize yourself with the publishing industry. Research different publishing routes, including traditional publishing and self-publishing. Parker, for instance, followed the more traditional publishing route by securing a book deal.
Learn about literary agents and their role in the process. Finding the right agent who believes in your work is often a crucial step toward publication. Attend writing conferences and literary events to network with professionals in the field.
Promote Yourself and Your Work
In today’s digital age, promoting yourself as an author is essential. Parker employs creative promotional strategies, such as appearing on podcasts she personally enjoys or putting together escape room events.
Building an online presence through social media and a personal website can help you connect with potential readers and agents.
Parker’s journey involved changing agents when her first one wasn’t interested in a particular manuscript. And then she changed agents again.
You must be adaptable in your writing career. Be open to critique and willing to pivot if necessary.
Never Stop Writing
Great, you’re so close to being a published author!
However, your journey doesn’t end there. Being an author full-time is a lifelong journey.
Continue to write, grow, and evolve as a writer.
Write more. And then some more. Continuously promote your work. Build your personal brand. Most importantly, never give up!
A day in the life of a published author
Ever wondered what a typical day looks like for an author? The highly romanticized image of an introverted writer hunched over a keyboard in a dimly lit room may come to mind.
For Parker, as for many writers, her day begins with writing. Mornings are a great time of the day to channel your creative energy and immerse yourself in your work.
Whether you write in the morning, afternoon, or evening, ensuring that dedicated writing time is penned into your schedule is essential to honing your craft.
Once afternoon rolls around, Parker shifts gears into a role she genuinely enjoys – tutoring high school English students.
After work, Parker prioritizes family time. Sometimes, she’ll work on course creation. The 2020 pandemic inspired Parker to create her own literary course, which she offers on her website. She enjoys connecting with fellow writers and sharing what she knows.
When she’s not writing or hanging out, Parker enjoys a good board game or some time well-spent in nature.
Becoming a published author is not just about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard; it requires passion, resilience, and a love for storytelling.
There is a saying that if you know what you want to be, you are destined to become that very thing. Parker had always wanted to be a writer – and so she became one.
We’ve learned that honing your craft and developing your skills are essential components of the writer’s journey. Finding the right agent and proactively promoting your work are pivotal steps toward achieving your goals.
Parker demonstrates the importance of balance in her life both in terms of scheduling her writing time and making sure she has time off. Remember, time off is not a luxury. It’s something we all need to reset and lubricate our mind’s cognitive gears.
So, is becoming an author right for you? The answer to that will rely on how much you enjoy writing, how you react to rejection, and your ability to adapt.
As you embark on your own writing journey, remember that the challenges you encounter are all part of the process. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting, the path to publication can be a rich and rewarding adventure just waiting to be explored.
Write on, and may your own story find its way onto the pages of the world.