17-year Old Publishes The Glitter Man

The Glitter Man is an allegory about how our everyday choices impact our own lives, and how we through a relationship with Jesus can recover from the damage caused by our past poor choices. Below Suzie Leigh, a senior at Gem State Adventist Academy, shares excerpts from her journal.

July 28, 2009

The opening chapter crashed into my head, followed by the next chapter and the next. I found myself sitting at the table for hours on end, scrawling almost illegibly on page after page. My story was developing on its own. The only thing I did was write. I ate, wrote, ate again, watched an hour of TV when I couldn't take it anymore, and slept. Then I repeated. I was obsessed. Eight days later, I was done. My manuscript was 300 double-spaced pages.

September 14, 2009

Today I looked up Shutterfly to possibly get my book printed by them. But they only print picture books. One option gone.

September 20, 2009

I typed up more of my book. I shouldn't allow myself to be discouraged by my first draft. I haven't touched my manuscript since I wrote it in July, but I really dislike it right about now. I'm wondering what I was thinking when I decided to make it my senior project. I'm too embarrassed to let anyone read it. Though I refuse to throw it away, I'm afraid of what Mrs. Mitchell is going to say when she reads it.

September 21, 2009

Today I printed off the first thirty-two pages of my manuscript and gave them to Mrs. Mitchell. I am flat out terrified!

September 22, 2009

Mrs. Mitchell stopped me in the hall and talked to me about the excerpt I had given her. She seemed ecstatic, saying that it was phenomenal and that it had a pretty solid chance of becoming publishable. She said that what I had written would appeal to teenagers and could sell easily. Instantly my burden eased up.

Sometimes it is hard to keep my chin up and not let criticism bother me. I must keep in mind that Mrs. Mitchell is not criticizing me. She is helping me make my work the best it can be. She is on my side.

September 30, 2009

Two days ago I looked on the AuthorHouse Web site. I sent them a query telling them about my book. A lady called me yesterday. When she heard that I was seventeen, she got a little brash and asked if my parents knew I wanted to publish. I guess she felt like I was wasting her time and I started feeling a little intimidated. But I kept my composure and kept talking and explaining to her what I wanted to do and it must have sounded good because she became nice again. I asked her about pricing. She informed me that their packages start around $500 and go up to $2,000. I thought, Thanks, but no thanks!

I was very embarrassed after the phone call. Mrs. Mitchell helped ease my discomfort by sharing that she too is easily frightened when stepping out of her comfort zone. She said, "You really have the potential to become an author, and that's scary right now." No kidding!

October 2, 2009

Today I was very depressed about everything. I sat down at the computer to type up some of my story but I kept getting distracted. I checked my Facebook three times. I logged into my e-mail and looked at random messages. I cleaned out all the junk mail in my inbox. In doing so, I came across a message from Michelle Bergmann. The message said: "Congratulations! Your story, ‘Love Wrecked,' has been accepted for publication in Insight. "

The e-mail was dated September 22 — ten days ago! Why didn't I notice it before? I think God blinded me to it ten days ago because He knew I would need a pick-me-up today. He's amazing.

October 29, 2009

Today I finished typing up my manuscript. The final word count is 23,886; 129 double-spaced pages. Now that it is all printed out I have begun to edit it. I'm rewriting a lot of things, fixing little errors, adding more descriptive adjectives, reforming sentence structures, and adding and deleting entire sections. I'm on the homeward stretch!

Mrs. Mitchell said to write a letter to send to family and friends to raise money to publish it. I am going to start on that today.

November 9, 2009

I am continuing to edit my writing. You should see the hard copy of my manuscript. Every page is cluttered with penciled revisions.

I wrote my donation request letter and my mom sent me a list of about 60 addresses that I can send it to. I'm nervous, but kind of excited.

I'm still trying to decide where to get my book printed. I like the looks of 48 Hour Books. I also like some things about FastPencil, but I don't know about them because they are an actual publisher (as opposed to printer) and their books go on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and a BUNCH of other places. That's intimidating! And they have editors that go over your writing. I'm terrified of professional editors.

November 11, 2009

Yesterday I mailed out 70 donation request letters. It took me almost two hours. I'm still editing my manuscript and looking at publishers. I asked God to give me as much money as I need to do whatever He wants. I believe that He will help me choose.

November 23, 2009

I am almost ready to print the second draft of my book. I got three donations on Friday. Heeeeeeeeeee. It's coming along and I'm so excited!

December 7, 2009

The teacher I used to work for sent me a check for $500 with a note telling me to let her know if I needed any more money. I now have a total of $1,010. That is twice as much money as I need!

January 4, 2010

I printed out part one and gave it to Mrs. Mitchell so she could edit it. I'm researching some more self-publishers. I've asked for information from three different companies.

Over Christmas break, I told my parents about the book. My dad was so excited he literally yelled, "That's so cool! I love it!" Then he went on dreaming about when it becomes a movie. He said he wants to write the music for it. Let me get it printed first, Dad.

January 11, 2010

I heard back from one of the publishers. He talked to me for a half hour, telling me all about their company and the services and blah, blah, blah. I got really stressed. How am I to know which publisher to go with? Then he called again. This time he asked for my credit card to set up the account, even though I had not even said that I wanted to commit to them! The next days he called again and again and again! Now, what decent publisher would call NINE TIMES in two days? That's way too desperate.

February 10, 2010

I called AuthorHouse to talk to them about packages. I told God that if he wanted me to finalize with them, He would have them offer me a very special deal. The publishing consultant was very nice. He was respectful and didn't push me at all but offered me an expedited package at a very good rate. I ended up paying $800 for a $1,600 package.

A marketing consultant called. He said, "There is actually a good market out there for your book." He wanted to set me up with a $3,300 marketing package. I told him I don't have that kind of money. I decided that I'll rely on God to do whatever marketing is needed.

March 18, 2010

I ran five or six drafts of the book. I thought I would never be satisfied with it. But eventually, even though my manuscript wasn't absolutely flawless, I reached a point where I realized my manuscript was decent, that there was nothing I could do to make it significantly better, and I sent it off. A great thing for a perfection-obsessed person to learn!

This whole experience impressed me with the incredible power of God. Not only did The Glitter Man project teach me about the secular side of the publishing industry, it shoved miracle after miracle in my face, forcing me to accept the fact that God is real, that He wants to be my friend, that He is all-powerful. The book-writing helped me to develop a real-life picture in my head of how Jesus acts presently, and I learned to trust Him. It is hard to fall in love with someone that you only have an old picture of. You can't stay connected to someone solely by rereading a ten-year-old letter. The images and experiences must continuously be renewed.

The Glitter Man can be purchased at www.authorhouse.com.

July 01, 2010 / Idaho Conference

Suzie Leigh's story