Major Announcement!

It’s truly funny how things work out sometimes.

For the past year, since about the time my son began pre-treatment for his bone marrow transplant, my thoughts where publishing were concerned have turned dramatically towards self-publishing. I’ve seen countless friends self-publish in the past 5 – 8 years, some who even surprised me because of their vehemence towards NOT self-publishing in the same time frame.

I’ve spent numerous hours in the last year reading popular self-publishing blogs, listening to podcasts, and questioning key friends who have both self-published and been traditionally published. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that self-publishing was for me because of the certainty of having my words and stories in print, and because of the level of control I’d be able to have.

And then, a random post about a month ago turned things on its head.

On my personal Facebook page, I made a comment one weekend about the priciness of ISBNs–those 10 or 13-digit numbers that uniquely identify your book and its edition. I knew I’d need several in the next year or two, considering my plans. But, yikes! Were they expensive!! I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I can’t ask my husband for $500 for 20 ISBNs (or whatever the rate is.) We just don’t have it in the budget, and I haven’t shown him the evidence that I could earn it back yet.

So, back to the comment. I was surprised at how many people responded to my post–all authors, of course (because who else knows what an ISBN is??) It was an interesting conversation, especially because I commented that I almost wished we lived in Canada, where ISBNs are free to authors.

What I didn’t know is that they’re free in other countries, too. Like New Zealand.

One of my friends happens to live in New Zealand.

She also happens to have her own press.

She also has read my work, and was my mentor when I did the Team PYP challenge about two to three years ago.

And, late last year, I’d asked her advice on a short story I had wanted to develop into a longer piece of work, and she gladly gave me some advice which was key into developing it into a novella rather than a short story.

She also invited me to send her the completed novella to possibly publish it through her press.

My brain turned on its head. Traditionally publish? But… but… but… I’ve been planning to self-publish for the past nine months!

Still, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. One thing I’ve struggled with was the idea that my stories were worth it. Another was what I’d do about editing because I knew I’d need at least a good polish, if not much more. If she was interested in the stories, maybe they do have worth, maybe they are good enough. If not, well, maybe she’d have some input on what I could improve.

I’m not going to prattle on much longer in my story, but long story short is: I sent the novella. She loved them. We talked. We agreed it would be mutually beneficial for us to work together.

A contract was sent. A contract has been signed.

As of March 25, 2014, I’m contracted with Splashdown Books. My editor is the fabulous Grace Bridges. I’m completely over the moon, especially since this is my birthday week. What better present could an author ask for but a contract?? Of course this year, I’m just thrilled to be home on my birthday, with my husband, daughter, son, and dog. But a CONTRACT! Probably one of the best presents ever!

We’re still working out all of the details, such as titles and time frame. That information will be forthcoming as it’s available. Check here, the Splashdown Books website, Twitter, my Facebook, or the Splashdown Books Facebook page for updates.

So, that’s my major announcement! I’m so, so happy to share this with the rest of you!

Until next time…

A Punch In the Gut

Everyone needs a punch in the gut once in a while. Whether it’s physical or mental, something that brings you back to reality is never a bad thing.

I got my own slap in the face last week. I was lamenting (okay, I was whining) to a writer friend that even though I’d “improved” my query, and done some tweaking to my first pages of my novel, that I was still only getting form rejections to the agents I was sending to.

She offered to take a look at my query (both old and newly revised) as well as my first five pages.

Now, this writer friend is kinda like my Texas momma, and I’ve told her so on several occasions. We laugh and joke, and I know without a doubt that if we ever have the chance to meet, after the initial awkwardness, we’d have the same relationship offline as we do on.

So when the first line of her reply was, “Get out the rifle, you’re gonna wanna shoot me”, my heart sank.

What do you mean my story isn’t ready yet? Really? I’ve been querying and making a fool of myself–again?

Basically, in all my editing, I’ve managed to leave some B.I.G. beginner errors in my novel… which is probably why I’m not getting any nibbles.

Seeing as my TX Momma is published, and works as an editorial assist to a small press AND her lit agent, I’m inclined to take her advice.

So, here’s to hunkering down–again–and doing another MAJOR pass on “Homebody”… and hopefully, I’ll get it right this time.

Until next time,

Liberty

Am I Ready?

Well, I’ve missed the last week or so blogging… And, I really have no excuse. I’ve been here. I’ve been at the computer. But things went Ca-ray-zy! I swear! (Of course, when in my life have I not described it as crazy?)

This is going to be more of a writing update than anything… After submitting to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest two weeks ago, the contest closed early, which was a little nerve-wracking…. especially when I started going over the manuscript in question, and started catching little tweak-y things (including a missing punctuation mark late in the last chapters.)

But, this means I’m doing something I’m still not 100% sure I’m ready for (mentally–the book is ready) and that’s submitting to agents.

On Friday, I sent out 10 queries with the appropriate items requested by each agent (and I don’t think ANY of the requests were the same!) Saturday morning, I got a rejection–yeah, that was FAST. I was disappointed since it’s from an agent I admire and follow on Twitter, and it was a standard form rejection. But, I could chalk that one up to not being exactly what she’s looking for, or maybe she’s full-up on mystery writers right now.

So, now Number 11 went out late Saturday morning/early Saturday afternoon. I figure I’ll try 20 – 25 agents, see what happens, and continue to tweak as I go through the process.

It’d be nice if I make the first cut on the Amazon contest, which I’ll know probably in about 10 days.

Ten days. Wow. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep in that time!

Of course, I will, but if I get as wound up as I’ve been lately right before bed, it’ll be difficult (which is also why this post may be a bit disjointed–my insomnia has been acting up and I actually had to medicate last night.)

In the meantime, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I’ll finish up the pass on my manuscript in case I get that coveted partial–or full!–request, and I’ll continue work on my cross-genre novels (which I think pretty much describes the projects with the working titles of Cora’s Song, Beyond Dead, and its sequel, Dead Before Arrival.)

I still have my work cut out for me.

Until next time,

Operation: Enter a Contest

It’s 11:30 PM, and I just realized that yet again I missed blogging today. Ay-yi-yi! What’s wrong with me?!

Well, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me.

The last two weeks, I’ve been on THE MISSION.

Yeah, you writers should know what I’m talking about. THE MISSION, which I chose to accept, was to whip my almost-ready novel into shape and submit it to — GASP! — a CONTEST.

Gulp!

I’ll have you know that today, Monday the 30th, I hit the “upload” button for probably the last time… and it’s gone on its way to the great reviewers at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. (And I’m not lying when I say the reviewers are great–one of judges this year is Donald Maass–THE Donald Maass. You know, the one who has written so many great books on the craft of writing, the one who has his own literary agency?! W-O-W.)

For those who don’t know, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest is a fairly big deal. There may be contests bigger. I’m not sure, to be honest. This was the first time I’ve every thought about sending in any of my work to a contest–and I got pushed into it by a friend from the great state to the south of mine. And, I know I don’t have an awesomely-high chance of winning. They’re accepting up to 5,000 entries. The first cut takes that number down to 1,000 (I’ll know if I make the cut just before my son’s BMB next month.) The second goes further still–to 250.

That means I have a 1 in 20 shot to making it through to the 2nd round. If I make it that far–heck, even if I make the first cut–I’ll be pleased. Quarterfinals are the top 50–a 1 in 100 shot. Yeah, if I get that far, you can pretty much guarantee my heart will stop. 😉

Anyway, this is starting to digress, and I apologize… it’s just I’ve never really done anything like this before! Sure, I’ve sent my work in to a handful of agents… sadly, I was ill-prepared, and did it a little too prematurely. Now, I think I may be ready, and I’m getting all jittery about the possibilities and options. Am I really ready? Really??? Do I get this thing out to agents’ inboxes, or do I wait and see if I pass the first cut or not?

There are too many questions… Ugh!

Of course, the lateness of this post probably doesn’t help… The more I think about it, the more uncertain I become.

Oh well. I’m sure I’ll feel different in the morning.

Until next time,

Liberty