Guess What?…It Did Happen To Me…Publication Path–The Sequel

The last time I blogged about my publication journey I shared my beginnings…how I got into this game. If you missed that part of the saga, feel free to hop into the way-back machine and read that post here.

Needless to say, by the beginning of 2012, I had a self-published debut novel and no one seemed to notice. I know, cry me a river, right? Still, I’m not one to sit down and feel sorry for myself–I’m a do-er. Meaning, in my mind there isn’t any problem I can’t solve if I work hard. So I hone my marketing skills, I try Kindle promos, I go on blog tours. Everywhere I go I’m approaching strangers saying: “Hi, I’m Stephanie Keyes, did you know I have a book out?” or “Hi, I’m Stephanie Keyes–let me tell you about my debut novel.” And I sold several hundred copies of The Star Child that way.

And again, I still felt alone, like I did before. But there was something new. Something worse.

I hated myself!

I hated the person I’d somehow morphed into. I mean, I’m the person who goes out of her way to avoid all salespeople like the plague. There’s selling and then there’s being pushy. It just wasn’t me.

Rewind. I took a step back and asked myself: “Self, what do you really want to do?” The resounding answer was: “WRITE, PLEASE!” That answer became key. I wasn’t desperate for more time to market my work or for more hours on Twitter–I was killing myself on social media and doing all sorts of things that (SURPRISE!) I also hated. No, my answer was and still is, writing. That’s the most important thing.

What happened next was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time…I decided to query small presses. Yes, my book was out there, yes it was selling, but I knew it could do more. Beyond that, I wanted to work with a publisher, learn from a publisher, grow as a writer. I needed someone else in my corner so I could spend time writing.

Out went two queries. One ended in a requisition. The other results in a request for a full manuscript. Now, I didn’t get excited about this. Truthfully, I expected a rejection. That’s not what I got.

Instead, I received…

Dear Stephanie,

Congratulations on your wonderful debut novel, The Star Child. We would like to offer you a publishing contract for…

The email came on a Monday at 11:10am from Inkspell Publishing. I still remember, because I was sitting at my desk at work. Some people might respond to similar messages with grace and calm. Not me. I started screaming. Now, let me add that screaming in an HR department doesn’t go down well. Most people thought someone had died or I was having a seizure–or both. Once I shared the email, however, there were about fifty people packed inside my mid-sized cubicle for an impromptu party.

It was so wonderful that I thought about doing this…

photo credit: _MG_0609 via photopin (license)

photo credit: _MG_0609 via photopin (license)

Only I couldn’t move my legs that way without seeking emergency medical care.

The new Star Child released by Inkspell Publishing...

The new Star Child released by Inkspell Publishing…Artwork by Najila Qamber

A week later, I signed a contract for The Star Child, which was later re-released under Inkspell Publishing on September 21, 2012. The Fallen Stars followed in (2013), After Faerie in (2013), The Star Catcher in (2013), and The Last Protector in (2014)–all with the same publisher who first took a chance on me.

Since my debut novel, I’ve written two other YA novels and an NA novel. Each one is in various stages of editing and/or submission to agents.

So…the whole publication path… Here’s what it boils down to:

  • Time to write my debut novel: nine months
  • Time to edit my debut novel: two years, eleven months
  • Time to my first publishing contract: four years, three months

There you have it. That’s my story–for now.  A wise agent once told me…there’s no right or wrong when it comes to your [publication] story. It’s just your story.

A lot has changed since I first got the idea for The Star Child years ago, but what hasn’t changed is that innermost truth–what defines me to the core.

I have to write.

I have to be true to myself.

As long as I’m doing those two things? Well, who knows what other adventures are waiting down the road?


2 Comments on “Guess What?…It Did Happen To Me…Publication Path–The Sequel

  1. You got to the core of things, Steph. The long road, the false starts, the uncertainty–meaningless when the stories scream for life. Thanks for spreading that elusive thing called hope!


    • Thanks Laurel! We all have our crazy paths that we take. No one road is the same. Sometimes it really does feel like the goals are unattainable–the road’s been closed to all vehicles except residents! Hope is what has kept me going, though…that flame in the back of my mind that exists as a mere spark one day and a roaring fire on others. That and the wonderful writing community–it’s amazing what we can do when we stick together. 🙂


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