I had a completely different post written and scheduled for today, and then something really exciting happened...I SIGNED A PUBLISHING CONTRACT!!!
I'm thrilled beyond measure to announce that my debut novel, a young adult fantasy titled Common (book one of the Tales of the Mystics), will be released in early 2018 by Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing!! To find out more about my book, L2L2 Publishing, and the launch of my newsletter (which includes some giveaways!), check out my latest post on my website.
For this post, I'd like to focus instead on the path that led me to this point. My announcement probably feels very sudden to anyone outside of my closest group of family and friends, but it's been in the works for months, even years. That's the journey I'd like to share here.
A little over four years ago, I was a brand-new stay-at-home mom in need of a hobby. The crazy idea to write a book entered my head one beautiful fall day, and I couldn't quite shake it. I started writing a story that had been on my mind for some time, and I fell head-over-heels in love. Soon I was writing every chance I got, and eventually turned that story idea into a full-length novel (albeit a short one, by fantasy standards).
Then came the even crazier, equally-unshakeable idea of getting my story published. I joined a writing group, found my first critique partner (our very own Laura!), and started researching agents (that is, after I found out what an agent was and that I would probably need one). Once I felt I was ready, I started sending query letters to those agents, and got my first taste of the pain of silence and the sting of rejection.
But I kept trying. I revised that manuscript several times and queried nearly 40 agents. Finally, accepting that my story wasn't getting the response I'd hoped for, I set it aside and threw myself into a new project. By the time this new manuscript was complete, I'd joined a different writing organization, found a whole group of critique partners, and learned a lot more about writing and publication. But since this manuscript incorporated elements of my faith, I knew I would need a different approach if I wanted to get published. As I got to know other Christian authors, I became much more open to the idea of small publishers, in spite of the likely reduction in fame and fortune :)
Enter Realm Makers, an amazing conference for Christian writers of fantasy and science fiction, which I attended last July (read more about my experience here). There, I had the opportunity to pitch my new story to one agent and two publishers. All three appointments resulted in requests to see some sample chapters, but one of the publishers soon sent a rejection, and I never heard back from the agent. The other publisher, however, sent me one of the kindest, most encouraging e-mails I've ever received. She was very impressed by my first three chapters, and couldn't wait to read the rest of my story! Yay!!!
Except...a significant portion of my story wasn't edited yet. I gave myself a three-month deadline to get it finished, and worked hard to revise and polish my manuscript to the best of my ability. At last, with a few days to spare, I sent it out, both terrified and elated that this could be my big break.
Then came the wait. It wasn't even a particularly long wait, but in my impatience it felt like an eternity. I researched and submitted to other publishers, to lessen the blow if the publisher from Realm Makers didn't work out. Ironically, my wait ended back in December, the very day that my "Waiting Game" post went live on the blog. She loved my story and wanted to offer me a contract!!! *Insert screaming, tears, and happy dances*
But...I had to deal with the other publishers I'd submitted to. So I asked for some time to make the decision, and reached out to the other publishers to see if they wanted an opportunity to consider my manuscript. One did, so I waited again. Throughout, I experienced more and more confirmations that the original publisher (which was, not surprisingly, L2L2 Publishing) was the perfect fit for me. I let her know, and there was much rejoicing!!
By then it was the holidays, so we held off looking at the contract. Then came the contract negotiations. And NOW, we've finally made it official, and I can't wait to see where my publishing journey will lead!!
Whew! Thanks for bearing with me through this long post :) I hope my story can provide some inspiration for you, no matter where you're at in your own writing / publishing / life journey!
What has been a long but rewarding journey in your life?
Thanks for reading, and Happy Valentine's Day!