arts

IU grad publishes novel



After she graduated in 2013, IU alumna Natalie Birzer spent a year and a half waiting.

Not waiting for a job opportunity or finding the perfect place to live but waiting for the publication of her novel, “Mission Hills.”

Natalie Birzer said she did not realize how long the process of publishing a book would take.

“It’s a really slow process that I need to learn to be patient because I’m ready for people to be able to read my work and give feedback,” Natalie Birzer said. “I would rather wait and have it turn out how I would want it to rather than rush it.”

It was originally her father, Kevin Birzer, who gave her the initial push and inspiration to write a novel.

He gave her a list of 20 things she should do before she started her full-time job and writing a novel was one of them.

“(The list contained) everything from learn Spanish better to help at a soup kitchen,” Kevin Birzer said. “One of the ideas was to write a book. She always wanted to, so I think she took that opportunity to ?do it.”

The story is about three girls in high school and their struggle to climb the ranks and attain ?popularity.

The book plots out their experiences with the dramas of high school.

“Everybody has insecurities, and there are things everybody doesn’t feel comfortable and love about themselves, but just be confident and nice to everyone, and you don’t necessarily need to put on a front,” Natalie Birzer said.

After two months of writing and four months of going back and editing her work, Birzer did not know what else she had ?to do.

She then turned to Google figure out what needed to be done to get her book on bookstore shelves.

She found out she needed to write an inquiry letter and then send that and the first three chapters to 50 publishers.

The first publisher she signed with went out of business a few months after Natalie Birzer signed with them.

“It was such heartbreak, and I learned the importance of making sure a publisher is reputable,” Birzer said. “I guess I was a little too trusting.”

Once a different publisher showed interest and Birzer signed with them, the publisher’s editors went through her manuscript and sent it back for her to make revisions.

“They found a lot of good changes, but it was definitely hard to trust them because I worked on it so much,” Birzer said.

After she made her revisions, the publisher sent her a layout and then a copy proof, which would look exactly like the real novel once it published.

The entire publishing process took a little more than six months.

According to the Association of American Publishers, trade publishing, publishing of general interest books for adults and young adults, is on the rise.

Books like “Mission Hills” amongst others which are sold to the general public are in fact selling, despite the drop in brick-and-morter bookstores.

“I didn’t know what to expect going into it,” Natalie Birzer said. “Everyone told me it wouldn’t really be able to happen. But for me, there was a lot of persistence and not giving up.”

Birzer added that she doesn’t know exactly when “Mission Hills” will be released but said it will come out sometime in October.

Birzer said she is excited for her friends and family to read it, and she is considering writing ?a sequel.

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