Usually, when the topic of luck vs. perseverance while on the quest toward publication comes up, it’s to reinforce all the hard work that goes into getting published. I mean, first you have to wrench this story out of your soul, get in on paper in a way that makes sense, revise, edit, re-revise, re-edit…and that’s before you ever get around to querying an agent or knocking on an editor’s door. So, yes, there is a crap ton of work involved, and if one doesn’t have the perseverence to see it through, they will fail.
I, however, have had the obvious benefit of luck. Gather round, and I’ll tell you about it.
I began my first book, Latera’s Song, in the eigth grade. I loved the world and the characters so much that I wrote about them for years. I even drew them, along with complex scenes from the narrative. Eventually, life happened, and all my notes and drawings were packed away.
Fast forward a few years; I owned my own home, and the box that held all those notebooks and loose leaf binders was unceremoniously dumped into a closet on the third floor. A few years after said dumping, I was cleaning out the closet, and the box in question saw the light of day yet again. Being that I didn’t really want to clean, I reread Latera’s Song.
I fell in love all over again.
I rewrote the novel, expanding some aspects, completely chopping out others. I changed the name from Latera’s Song to Rise of the Deva’shi. I worked on it day and night for months, obsessed with perfecting it. When the day came that it was as done as it was gonna get, the question became, what the heck should I do with it?
I had never wanted to be a writer. I never tried to get anything published, and I had no idea what to do or who to ask. Heck, I had never even taken any literature courses beyond the requirements, being that my degrees are in environmental science and marketing. Then, I remembered that a friend of mine was a published author. So, I dug out her book, looked at the logo on the back, called the publisher and asked them if they’d publish my masterpiece. They said yes.
Well, it turned out that the publisher in question was Author House, one of the largest vanity presses out there. So of course they published it! For a wallet-lightening fee.
Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against self-publishing. I think it’s a great option for writers, and something that you should at least look into. I, however, stumbled into it like a blind rhino in a china shop. But, an even crazier thing happened: people started reading Rise of the Deva’shi. Even crazier, they liked it.
When I started shopping around my next novel, set in the same world as Rise of the Deva’shi, I was pretty much starting from scratch. I had no idea how to query, who to query – I could barely even write a query that was worth reading! While I was embroiled in query hell, my husband revealed that he knew someone.
Now, I will not mention this someone by name, since I write these posts mere moments before they’re due and I have not secured his permission. Suffice to say, the someone is quite a well-known, award winning spec-fic editor. He also happened to have been in a band with my husband almost 20 years ago.
Mr. Editor had a look at my novel, Heir to the Sun, and agreed to publish it. He even agreed to take on the sequel! To say I was over the moon would have been an understatement. I felt like his willingness to take a chance on me was my big break. In many ways, it was.
There was a bump in the road, and the sequel wasn’t published. (But it will be. Stay tuned.) Still, I was confident that I could do this writer thing. I was even comtemplating self-publishing the right way, when another series of events unfolded.
At the launch party for Heir to the Sun, one Vikki Ciaffone picked up a copy. A few weeks later, she found me on FaceBook and sent me a message, telling me how much she was enjoying it. We started chatting, and struck up a friendship.
Meanwhile, I started working on a story about eleves and Elementals, missing brothers and evil governments. Its working title was Dreamwalker, and I wrote it as a paranormal romance.
That was not its genre.
So, I rewrote it as a YA fantasy. Sadly, this was also not its genre.
I made the main character a bit older, added a bit more story, and it came out an urban fantasy. I was feeling pretty confident that the story had found its sea legs, so to speak, so I shipped the manuscript, now called Copper Girl, off to my new friend Vikki for a critique. We met for lunch at a diner in the wilds of Connecticut, and she told me that she loved it.
And, that she was going to be editor in chief of a new urban fantasy imprint, Spence City.
Then, she told me she wanted Copper Girl.
Then, she asked if I would be her marketing coordinator.
Then, she kindly whipped out the smelling salts and got me up from where I’d fainted.
Have I worked hard? You bet. I have worked my butt off on every novel, every short story, every blog tour. But, based on how all this came about, I also realize how lucky I’ve been.