We continue a summer series of hearing from guest writers. Welcome Nicole Miller.

Olivia Newport - photo of Nicole MillerIt has never been the writing that scares me. It’s those other writers.

Scary folk, those big-and-distinguished, published authors.

I grew up devouring all sorts of Christian fiction—especially historical fiction. One day, I rallied my courage to write to the author of my favorite series, and to my utter dismay, I never received a response. I had written the nicest letter on lined paper with my finest handwriting and mailed it into the address listed in the back of the book—it broke my twelve-year-old heart.

Since that time, I’d viewed published authors as distant and untouchable. I had never met one face-to-face and I expected they would never have time for a peon like me.

Still, I wrote books in the privacy of my own room and after college I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers and Oregon Christian Writers organizations. Suddenly I was thrown into meetings with—gulp—published authors.

I overcame my fear and even spoke to a couple bon-a-fide published writers. I met authors of books I had read years earlier and I discovered these people were real, genuine and even nice! What a relief.

The next stage and fear to overcome came in the form of agents and editors. My first big writer’s conference threw me headfirst into the shark tank. I knew I’d be eaten alive.

Though I emerged with a few scrapes and bruises, I learned more than I thought possible. My favorite discovery—agents and editors could be pretty fun to talk to.

The third challenge to overcome is keeping those relationships alive through social media—with writers, agents and editors. Even this sort of contact left me hesitant. I didn’t want to be annoying. I’m not worth their time. I don’t have anything worth saying, anyway….

But then I’d discover a shared interest with an editor. I’d seek advice from a published writer and get an instant response. I’d banter with an agent and enjoy every minute.

What an incredible world, this publishing business. Building these relationships is only part of the publishing process and an extra perk to doing what I love most—writing.

There are still aspects of writing that push me beyond my comfort zone. As a yet-unpublished author working with a fabulous agent and constantly meeting amazing editors and fellow writers, I can say without doubt that there is no business I’d rather be a part of.

P.S.  The author I never heard back from as a young girl followed me (little old me) on Twitter and now all is right with the world.

Nicole M. Miller is a history buff, horse nut, social media addict and a former rodeo queen. She lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon, and spends her free time with her Arabian horse. Connect with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nmmiller1) or Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/nmillerbooks) and follow her blog about horses in history at http://www.nicolemillerbooks.com.

Books by Olivia Newport:

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning (May 2012)

Accidentally Amish (October 2012)

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow (January 2013)