Life Support or Not By Maryann Miller

NewcovershotThere is a bit of advice that all writers have probably heard – the first book you write should go into a drawer and stay there forever.


That was certainly true for the first short story I wrote right out of high school. It was science fiction, and my boyfriend said I should send it to Playboy Magazine, as they publish more than pictures of naked women. So, after I made him prove that to me, I wrote the story out in my neatest handwriting – thank goodness for the nuns who taught me that fine art – and sent it off. (This was back when we mailed manuscripts and SASEs. Remember those?)


Weeks later, I received the story back with a note that said they don’t accept hand-written manuscripts. All stories submitted must be typed. Thinking that was the only impediment to making my first sale, I bought an old Royal manual typewriter, painstakingly typed the story, and resubmitted it.


The editor at Playboy had the nerve to send the story back. No personal note was included this time; just the standard, “We’re sorry your story does not meet our editorial needs.”


Needless to say, that story has stayed in a desk drawer for a long time. Sometimes I get it out to read it to reassure myself that I have come a long way in terms of mastering writing craft.


On the flip side of that truism, I have found that some stories are worth bringing back to life. Such is the case with Doubletake, a mystery that I wrote with Margaret Sutton. This was a first full-length novel for both of us, and we were lucky to get it placed with a small publisher. The book never took off in terms of sales, as the publisher did little or no marketing, so the book languished. Some time later, I got the rights back, got the okay from Margaret to do a rewrite, and Doubletake was given new life.


I decided to publish the new version myself and worked with a graphic artist on a new cover. Then I released the book on Amazon in paper and as an e-book. On a whim, I entered in a contest at the TX Association of Authors, and it was named best mystery for 2015. Winners in all categories will celebrate, and be celebrated, on April 12 at a state-wide reading extravaganza, and I will be at Malvern Books in Austin. There will be ten authors doing short readings and autographing books from 1 until 6. This is going to be such a fun weekend, and I am so glad that I took Doubletake out of the drawer and gave it life support.


Do you have an older manuscript that you think you can revive? Please do share in the comments.





Maryann Miller is an author, screenwriter and editorial consultant. In addition to Doubletake, she has several other mysteries, including the Doubletake-ebook_final-2-14critically-acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season and was followed by Stalking Season. She has won the Page Edward’s Short Story award, the New York Library’s Best Book for Teens, the Trails Country Treasure Award, and most recently was named Woman of the Year by the Winnsboro Area Chamber of Commerce.


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3 thoughts on “Life Support or Not By Maryann Miller

  1. amreade says:

    Congratulations! What a great success story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. mcm0704 says:

    Glad you liked the story and thanks for stopping by.

  3. mcm0704 says:

    Thank you so much for hosting me, PJ, and letting me share the exciting news about DOUBLETAKE.

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