That Will Never Happen To Me…Publication Path
As of February of 2008, I could safely admit that I’d tried to write a book at least twenty-five times. Some of the earlier versions were even on a typewriter. Yikes! I’d had numerous ideas, numerous characters that I can no longer remember the names of, and even more extremely weak plots. The problem? I’d start writing and lose interest. What was going to happen to Character X’s (because of course I can no longer remember her name) life? Who the freak cares? Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought.
Two things happened that changed that. One, the YA Fantasy explosion in the mainstream publishing market. Two, I got an idea. It turned out that my block about writing had nothing to do with my ideas–just my character’s gender. Yeah, you heard me right. Even though I’d obviously been a teenage girl once, I couldn’t imagine writing one. Instead, I decided to write about a seventeen-year-old boy who’s dreams are haunted by a girl in the beach in Ireland. Everyday, stuff. Right?
Nine months of furious writing followed, along with three years of intense editing, rewrites, and the painstaking creation of my “social media platform.” When I finally had a good copy in hand, I was ready. I signed up for the good ole’ Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City and Pitch Slam! And I just kew, with my carefully-maintained Outlook calendar and organized corporate background, that everyone would love my pitch.
They did. Every agent that I pitched to wanted pages. I was on a high.
It was only a matter of time now. I can even remember stepping into the elevator after Pitch Slam! I was on a total high, until he stepped on. Here’s how it went down…
The elevator doors bounced back open to accommodate an older man–I’d have placed him at around sixty. He brought with him the wafting odor of stale cigars, garlic, and pissy attitude.
The door shut after him. I jammed the “1” button again, if only to get away from the garlic. There’s seasoning and then there’s seasoning.
“You at the writer’s conference?” he asked me.
Crap. Now I had to talk. “Yeah.” Were we on the first floor yet? Why didn’t I take the stairs?”
“Did you do well?” he asked.
“Yeah. I mean all of the agents wanted pages. I was fortunate.”
“Good. I wouldn’t get excited about that though. This is my third conference. Every time they’ve asked me for pages and then I get rejected.”
The elevator dinged and he exited without a backward glance, leaving me hanging in the near-visible cloud of undesirable herbs and negativity. For just an instant his words crushed me. Then I brushed them off.
“That will never happen to me,” I said to the empty elevator.
And then it did.
I sent pages to all five agents who requested them. Every agent declined.
The declines were swift and not form letters. Still, they were declines. So I kept editing, kept honing this one manuscript that I believed in. I read about craft, studied blog posts on dialogue and YA romance, met other authors, and connected on Twitter.
By the time my second son was born in September (yeah, I did all of this while I was pregnant), I decided that I would self-publish. I found an editor, the lovely Kit Domino, to help me polish the manuscript. I located a cover artist, Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics, to create the cover. My late-night reading, because I was up a lot with little “Bam-Bam,” consisted of blogs and books on how to format your manuscript for Ebook.
On December 15, 2011. I self-published The Star Child.
And nobody gave a rat’s ass.
There were no trumpets blaring in the streets. No parades in my honor. My husband bought a copy, but even my mom had to be reminded that it was my release day. All of my experience planning launches in my corporate life mattered not. This was a bigger wake-up call than anything that had happened to me before.
Had I done the right thing? Had I jumped the gun on pressing Publish? Yeah. I so did. Because of all things I’d learned, the one that was missing? Patience.
It would take me a publishing contract and a one-eighty realize that though. Curious? You’ll just have to hang in for my next post. Ha–gotcha!