Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Path So Far

In this strange, amazing world of writing and publishing, everyone has a journey, and each story is different. This is far.

Like most authors, when I decided writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, my first goal was to publish a book. The problem was when I first started writing I knew nothing. After I finished writing my first book, an adult Urban Fantasy, I took to the internet for advice on what to do next. After reading several (hundred) posts on editing, I went back to work.

Arguably, my first book wasn't that good--truth time: my first book was awful. It needed work. A lot of it, and I needed more experience. So I wrote another book, a sequel to the first. It was so much better, but, of course, I couldn't submit a sequel when the first book still wasn't up to par.

After pulling out my hair for nearly a month, I did what any sensible writer would do. I moved on, started plotting another book. After reading many in the young adult genre, I decided to try my hand at writing it. At first, I struggled with voice, going from adult to young adult was different, to say the least, but I fudged my way through a first draft. After several rounds of edits my angel book was ready for another set of eyes. Off it went to my critique partner. While it was gone, I read as many YA books as I could get my hands on, and researched agents. When CP notes returned I did several more rounds of edits, and wrote about ten query letters.

Finally, my young adult angel book was ready for the world. The problem now? So was everyone else's. I sent out a small round of queries and watched agent blogs and twitter accounts. The one thing agents were seeing a lot of was exactly what I was sending out. Angel books were going to be the death of me. I'd waited too long, spent too much time perfecting it. *cue more hair-pulling*

The inevitable rejections stated rolling in. Those were tough to get through, heartbreaking. In the end I must have sent out over 60 query letters. I did gain some interest, some partials and even a few fulls, but ultimately, more rejection.

It was time to move on, to go back to what I really loved, write. So, I started on another story. While I wrote, I also entered a few contests with my previous novel, hoping to gain the feedback I might need to help better it. In one of those contests, Sourbooks Fire YALitChat Writing Contest, I actually made it through semi-finals, then the finals, and was chosen as one of the winners! Which was a huge surprise. I now had feedback from several contests and a credit to add to my query. I pushed the other manuscript aside and revised my angel book again, then queried another set of agents. To no avail. I still didn't have what they were looking for.

In the meantime, I wrote two more books and revised them. One I had worked on enough to finally send out to critique partners. So I did. While I waited, I took one more look at my angel book. I had so much love for the story, and I now had more experience, so I revised one more time, polished up a snappier query, and when the other book's notes came back, I sent out what I swore was my last round of queries for my angel book before I would put it in a drawer for good. This time I subbed through YALitChat's Submission Mailbox and got two requests. Both from publishers. Publishing with a smaller press had never been in my "ultimate plan," but no one would read it if it sat in a drawer. So, I submitted and waited. Not long after one publisher requested the full. Less than two weeks later, I had an offer in my inbox and tears in my eyes.

Suddenly it didn't matter that I was working directly with a small press publisher instead of an agent. Month9Books, a brand new publishing company wanted my angel book to be their first young adult release title! Georgia McBride, the founder of YALitChat and creator of Month9Books, admitted she loved my story when I subbed it for the writing contest, she loved it as a new publisher, and she loved it as a reader. The moment we spoke and I heard her passion for my characters and my story, I knew I'd found an amazing home for ASHIMMER OF ANGELS, which recently released on January 29th (and is available now *winkwink*).

I might still be looking for an agent, but if I never found one, that would be just fine with me, as long as I could continue to work with people who get my stories and want to share them with others as much as I do.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey! I totally understand the feeling when "wonderful" suddenly deviates from "expected." It's a great time to be a writer, and I'm so glad we're M9B siblings!