Actual Timeline to Traditional Publication

My journey was… fast

Paul A. DeStefano


I decided to become a novelist.

I wanted to go the traditional route, understanding I would probably end up with a small, indie press. As a debut author, I was fine with that. I saw all the warnings, with everyone saying it would take forever and you couldn’t do it without connections or a massive social media following. I promptly ignored the warnings and set about getting a novel written and published. I think I had 18 Twitter followers, but just really didn’t want to get involved with things like buying ISBNs and formatting.

What follows is a log of the journey, cobbled together as well as I could from file dates and emails.

Please note. I did not pop out of nowhere. I’ve ghostwritten manuscripts and I’ve written professionally in the gaming industry for decades. There’s experience in procedure and editing behind me. Just not in traditional publishing.

April, 2020: Idea

I decide I want to make a serious go at being a novelist. I have a handful of ideas I could develop, but knowing I’m entering the world as an unknown, I figure I should go with what sounds most probable as a marketable property. I settle on a horror/romance idea. Traditionally, romance has fairly short word count and this seemed like a nice benefit for a new writer. I also felt I wanted to explore the duality of human nature via demons.

Having worked extensively in the fantasy roleplaying and table top gaming industry for decades, worldbuilding became a core concern. Even though the story takes place in a very close echo of our world, I had to get all of the details just right. I spend some time thinking about the impacts on the world if demonic possession were commonplace. This would directly impact the plot and the characters, so I spend some time playing with the idea.

July, 2020: Outline

The idea is solidified. I know what I want to go with. The working title was Dark Partners, and each of the lead characters is possessed. I work out an outline and character bios. I hone my ‘hook’, making sure I have a firm target and vision. The hook had to somehow reflect it was horror, romance and quirky, and also point out that it…



Paul A. DeStefano

Author, Board Gamer/Designer. Paul D’s Tainted Dragon Inn on FB for geeky stuff. Represented by B Swanson The Purcell Agency. Riftsiders.