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Vocal & my relationship to publishing traditionally


By Melissa IngoldsbyPublished about a month ago 5 min read
Top Story - May 2024
Vocal & my relationship to publishing traditionally
Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

Ever since my small writing beginnings, when I started writing on Vocal in February 2021, I had been in a truly terrible slump & funk when it came to my writing. I had so many unfinished projects, ideas, half finished manuscripts and first chapters that were going nowhere.

Obviously, I was enticed by the Little Black Book challenge for the large prize money yet I had a good feeling that I could use this platform for my writing future.

Vocal started helping me write more and more with their encouragement and guidance. I remember being so overwhelmed and excited when I received my first top story. This helped me gain confidence in myself again and I began to pour out my thoughts and emotions and lost time with gusto.

The challenges with the specific prompts were also very helpful and truly helped me find and hone my writer’s voice. I wrote on gender perspectives and how Vocal helped me open up my voice to create more diverse perspectives. Since Middle School, I only wrote in the male perspective. It was not a conscious decision on my end, truly, it was just a normal thing in my head to do. Now, I feel healed enough to write in female perspective and other such perspectives, even monsters, ghosts and animals. 😂

It was something out of a dream when I started actually starting and finishing whole manuscripts and books here on Vocal. The motivation to keep publishing more chapters was addictive and I loved how easy it was to start a writing portfolio on my Vocal account.

This branched out into applying for more writing jobs and of course, submitting to traditional publishers. I wrote about my first writing job as an religious art columnist for Patheos and my first traditionally novel I am Bexley here. Patheos is and has been such a wonderful experience to branch out my work into more professional types of article writing that focuses on religious art and art history. I really appreciate that opportunity and I encourage you all to apply to their platform to write content for their website.

I had some interest at first a couple years ago with one of my first traditionally published books The Half Paper Moon, which turned into a long journey of discovery and exploration. The first publisher that was interested said my manuscript was too short, but had a good potential. The first draft took more than five years of planning, writing, editing and pouring my blood, sweat and tears, but after that, it was an additional two years before the final version was ready for publication.

All of this to say, I’ve had more rejections than I knew what to do with. I have spent hours upon hours researching traditional publishing options and then submitting my books only for them to send me a quick rejection. The problem with traditional publishing is that the vanity publishers and hybrid publishers are lurking around waiting for you to fall into their shaky hands.

The main difference between a traditional publisher and the hybrid/vanity publisher is one pays you, and the latter makes you pay them. I highly recommend you do not sign any contracts with hybrid or vanity presses, please. Only go with the option that pays you, up front and with royalties. Or at least, a good deal with royalties. Read your contract with others and be sure to make sure you aren’t paying any fees.

Personal circumstances can change and be rough at times, causing you to lose your mojo or mood to write. People may tell you to stop writing and focus on something more realistic or grounded. Like an office job, retail work or college. Sometimes your circumstances force you to halt your progress and focus on your work instead. Your children also come first. It’s a veritable feast of vulnerability for you as you juggle an emotional rollercoaster of stress, emotional exhaustion and physical pain that compounds and piles up day by day.

I am here to tell you that through all of this existential malaise, you can succeed.

No one can stop you from achieving and becoming what you want, only you have the power to make it come true.

I know this is corny but it worked for me. I was told for years to stop writing and to not have hopes of being successful. I never listened. That’s my problem, I am too obstinate for my own good.

Vocal is truly a blessing in disguise as well because though I initially wanted to enter a writing challenge to win a boat load of bucks, this platform instead helped me gain the confidence and motivation to write and never, ever stop. I implore you to never, ever stop, as well. Be obstinate. Be voracious in your will to continue your craft. Roar and scream and make a scene, literal or figurative.

One resource I use to find literary magazines and traditional publishing companies is Authors Publish. You can subscribe to their newsletter and mailing lists to receive open access to publications that are open to receiving new poetry submissions, manuscripts and short stories.

Through Author’s Publish, I found my third and forty traditional contract for two of my books. My short story, The Job, and my novella Atonement, the sequel to The Half Paper Moon, have been contracted with the small indie publisher JMS Books.

They are an Lgbtq publishing house that specializes in creating new and diverse stories for gay and queer readers.

Please check out their website, as they will be publishing both of my books in August and September.

Here is a current list of all my publications and where you can find them(and some other sources that will have my books soon!):

—My post-apocalyptic zombie novel I am Bexley, which is published with Resurgence Novels. Download the free app today! My short story, Flipping the Veil, is about two side characters Emma & India from I am Bexley and available for free to read as well in the Chasing Fate series on the app.

I’m also working on Bexley’s sequel, The Bloodletter’s Scourge, and I’m hoping that it will be done by this year.

-My crime drama novel The Half Paper Moon which is published by Golden Storyline Books. Here is the Amazon link to the e-book and paperback edition.

—-Atonement, the crime drama that is the direct sequel to The Half Paper Moon, due to be published in August by JMS Books.

—-The Job, the crime drama/romance short story is set to be released by September, by JMS Books as well.

I am also working with an independent publisher Eukalypto to publish my novella, another crime drama called Carnivorous, to be released hopefully by the end of this year.

—-My original Amazon page where I have poetry collections, short story collections and other books you may enjoy.

Please never stop reading, writing and sharing your stories! Thank you for reading 😌

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About the Creator

Melissa Ingoldsby

I am a published author on Patheos,

I am Bexley by Resurgence Novels

The Half Paper Moon on Golden Storyline Books for Kindle.

My novella The Job and Atonement will be published this year by JMS Books

Carnivorous published by Eukalypto

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Comments (25)

  • Joe O’Connor20 days ago

    This was great to read Melissa, as someone hoping to get published at some point down the line. A nice blend of personal and informative 👏🏾

  • Gina C.24 days ago

    This is so wonderfully inspiring, Melissa! I really appreciate you sharing your journey. 🤗 It's really motivational information for those of us hoping to one day get published! Huge congrats on all your success!

  • Congrats on you top story.

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Z.a.i.n.t.z30 days ago

    my favourite

  • Cervantez Billlieabout a month ago

    Congratulations on your achievements and the Top Story, Melissa! A very inspirational read.

  • BrettNotGregabout a month ago

    Very moving and inspiring! Congrats on a well-deserved top story :)

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    Congratulations on your achievements and the Top Story, Melissa! A very inspirational read.

  • Manisha Dhalaniabout a month ago

    Wow, Melissa, this is so inspirational. Thank you for sharing your journey and your words of encouragement. Congrats on top story, too!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Came back to congratulate you on your TS!!🥳🥳

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Good for you! I love your advice to be obstinate & to never give up. I love That Vocal allows stories to be posted without a contest and that the creators are supportiveness obi Vocal!!

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    This was so inspiring. Good on you and wishing you all good luck.

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    So happy for you, Melissa. Sounds like you have all your ducks in a row and then some. Proud to hear of all of your accomplishments. You are an inspiration. 🤩

  • Natalie Wilkinsonabout a month ago

    Your progress is inspiring. Thanks for writing this article, and congratulations on all the successes!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    I loved this!! Hearing such a positive take on publishing and writing is so refreshing!! A lot of writers I’ve spoken to as of late solely talk about the stress of it and how difficult it is to make money and while those are very valid and real concerns as writers it’s so nice to hear someone talk about the inspiration and art creation aspect of it. Loved this and congrats on TS!

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    Congrats, Melissa. Good for you for sticking with it. You're a great writer. Top story kudos as well.

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Cheers!!! Love this & congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Stephen A. Roddewigabout a month ago

    Always cool to see how others leverage their Vocal experience (Voc-xperience) for off-platform efforts. Personally, I've built up a whole content engine focused on placing challenge entries in short story collections, magazines, and online publishers as reprints. I followed your author page on Amazon. My own if you're curious:

  • Judey Kalchik about a month ago

    I love this: No one can stop you from achieving and becoming what you want, only you have the power to make it come true. Cheering you on!

  • C. Rommial Butlerabout a month ago

    The best way to learn how to write in your voice is to write in your voice! Well-wrought, indeed!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    I'm so glad you didn't listen to all those people who told you to stop writing! Feeling so happy to see all your publications and future publications! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

  • Shelby Larsenabout a month ago

    Needed some motivation today! I stopped writing for a couple of years, and I've been slowly finding my way back. I've always had the support of family and friends - telling me to keep up with writing, but I've struggled more with exhaustion from other areas of life. I love hearing other people's success stories - I can't imagine ever being able to write an entire novel, let alone all the work you've done. Wishing you the best!

  • Tiffany Gordon about a month ago


  • Excellent and informative information Sis, this deserves another Top Story for you

Melissa IngoldsbyWritten by Melissa Ingoldsby

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