You know how the best things in life take you by surprise? You'll be waist-deep in work, multi-tasking everything at once, and suddenly the best news just comes sweeping in? That's precisely what happened last week!
I just signed a contract for my new book, Stolen, to be published!!!
*Cue the band, the confetti, and the dancing cats!*
Shayne Leighton, the incredible owner of The Parliament House Press, finished up the contract just today. The book will be released in ebook, paperback, audiobook, and even hardback copy! I'm sorry, I've never had anything I've made in my entire life be worthy of a hardback copy, so I'm pretty thrilled right now!
Stolen has been in the works since 2012 when I responded to a prompt on a LiveJournal community, got some great feedback, and then continued with it. (Oh LiveJournal, how I miss you sometimes.) The story I wrote then looks nothing like it does now, which it really shouldn't considering the number of drafts it's gone through. Of all the novels I've written and given up on over the years, Stolen was different. Stolen was a book that I knew had the potential to go far, I just needed to find the right home for it. Its story is long and filled with pitfalls, much like Shaleigh’s journey in the book.
I wrote the first draft back in April 2013 during Camp NaNoWriMo. A few months later, I read through all of it and saw so much that needed to be changed, that I actually took notes on all the things I liked or didn't like throughout the novel, then I rewrote it. It was a tough process, but the novel really began to shine after that arduous process. July 2014 Camp NaNo I wrote draft two, July 2015 Camp NaNo I edited that draft.
Overall it took about 5 drafts or so to get the manuscript complete and polished the way I wanted it. Then I started looking for agents. Throughout 2016 and part of 2017 I searched for an agent without luck, according to Query Tracker garnering 22 rejections on this book. This is hardly unusual especially in the popular YA Fantasy market. Most people I've heard from have said it took far more than 100 rejections before they found an agent, and that's from a couple of years ago.
I just didn't have the patience for that. After a year's worth of searching, I moved on to small publishers. If you've studied the market, you'll see that small pubs make up more and more of the amount of books sold on Amazon, now competing with the Big Five publishing houses. I tried two different small publishers before getting an offer from the amazing folks at The Parliament House Press who were thrilled with it.
What's the point of me sharing this with you, of explaining in sometimes painful detail the process it took to get Stolen published? I want folks to understand the amount of pain and sweat it takes to get a novel made. I want folks to know that they don't need to wait for 200 or 300 or more rejections from agents to find an amazing publishing house to work with. I want my fellow writers to know that it's okay if your book takes five drafts to get it right, or five years to reach the light of day. You have to believe in yourself and you have to believe in your taste to know whether the book is good or not.
Don't get discouraged, even if the words won't come, or you suddenly want to add a new character, or you can't decide on a proper title. (Did I mention Stolen has had at least 3 titles over the years?) The book will happen if you just keep believing in yourself and relying on your critical eye to guide you.
If you enjoy these peeks behind the scenes of my writing and aren’t already a subscriber, please sign up for my mailing list. My subscribers are the first to receive notice of new publications, and the first to hear about my plans for appearances. With The She-Wolf of Kanta being released in April 2018 and Stolen coming out at some undetermined date afterwards, I'm definitely going to be making rounds at conventions next year!
Tonight I'm off to open up a bottle of champagne to celebrate. I'm already thinking about what cons to visit and how the heck to get that nifty card reader to use for purchases at booths. I'll be both dreading and excited for the rounds of edits that are to come, but mostly I'll be thinking of all the years it took to get here. This year I have quite a lot to be thankful for.
Thanks for reading, dearies!