MY PUBLISHING JOURNEYSeptember 23, 2022
I’m delighted to announce that I’m ~ officially ~ a soon-to-be-published author!
It feels unreal saying so — but now that I’m here, I can finally reflect on the rocky road I took to get to this point; and speak a little bit about all the twists and turns involved in finding the right home for my story in the midst of a market that seems to hates writers.
The state of publishing is no pretty thing; I don’t know, really, if it ever has been — but especially now, it feels dismal. I know this and I speak to my experience with the knowledge that this industry gives me access, as an able-bodied white woman, to things that many insanely talented writers don’t get — and I know that I’m extremely privileged to be where I am. My querying experience was by no means an easy one but I want to acknowledge my privilege prior to talking about my story and reiterate that no one author’s journey is the same; and that it is my belief that no writer should have to sacrifice or even have their own identity dismissed in order to have their stories heard.
GIRL, DID YOU NOT LEARN FROM S*GE & S*ARROW?
No scamming here — we’re in the clear.
Let’s be very clear — Indie Publishers are not the problem here! They never have been. Honestly, I would be surprised if any of the people who witnessed the whole situation unfold took that away from it. But I wanted to reiterate that here.
Lake Country Press is a good egg; I made sure of this before signing with them. None of the red flags I had with S*ge & S*arrow were present during the process I experienced with Brittany, the founder. She was transparent from the get-go, and with her offer, she provided a blank contract for me to review so that I understood everything and to ensure that we were both on the same page. This is the standard and no one should have to settle for anything less. Every day since the initial offer was made to now, Brittany has made me feel seen, heard and appreciated. I’m no longer in the dark, feeling unsure and unsettled — now, I can see the future for THOSE WHO BURN THE BRIGHTEST laid out before me — and man, it looks gooooood. So I feel the need to brag, truly, because I’ve hit gold with LCP.
Indie Publishing, without an agent too, is not the right path for everyone. But if you’re feeling discouraged by the current state of querying (because it’s really not easy) and are not sure about Self Publishing (which is also a totally valid route if you have the means), then I suggest trying out submitting to Indie/Small Publishers. You really never know what can happen!
That being said, I’m extremely grateful for the experience I’ve had with TWBTB. As my first manuscript, the querying process of this story taught me a lot about both myself and the industry. It was a lot of up and downs and learning along the way. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world; because today, I not only feel extremely grateful but I feel grounded, like this is where I’m supposed to be. Now that TWBTB has settled in its rightful home, it’s like a mass of uncertainty no longer clouds my vision. The imposter syndrome will have its time in the light soon enough, but for now, all feels right!
SO, WHAT NOW?
Time flies when you’re having fun, y’all! 2025 is sooner than you think.
Seriously though: a massive part of being a writer is the wait associated with every part of the creative process — drafting, writing, querying, and publishing included.
You’d be surprised at just how long how it takes for authors past the point of being agented; querying editors, going on submission, waiting to get your book bought by a publisher — no matter the path you take, the wait is inevitable. On my end, I know TWBTB needs work. I want it to be the strongest version of itself and I know the editorial process will take a bit of time. I’m more than okay with that, too, because I work full-time and my life, unfortunately, doesn’t get put on pause when I write. I do my best to balance everything and still give enough time to my stories; so that extra time to do things right is not a bad thing.
Besides that, I respect the timeline LCP has established for itself in order to give the most care and attention it can to each and every author because they deserve it. If things get moved forward, great — but if not, I hope you’ll all hold tight and wait in anticipation for my story.
In the meantime — when I’m ready to do so — I will continue to query my other stories. A majority of my time will be spent on TWBTB, but during the quieter ebbs and flows that come with an extended publishing timeline, I would still like to pursue the possibility of being agented for future manuscripts. I have other stories to tell and whilst I know TWBTB has found its home, I still believe my others deserve that too. I can’t say for sure what lie ahead for my other manuscripts but I hope the future is bright!
SOME REJECTIONS I’VE RECEIVED
Sometimes, rejections aren’t always bad — but damn, they’re confusing.
I’ve gotten some heartwrenching rejections from agents and publishers alike. It always sucks that little bit more when it’s from someone you really like/are holding out on. But I think the worst genre of rejections are those that just…don’t make sense? The open-ended ones or things that could’ve as easily be brought up earlier.
By no means are agents’ jobs easy — and more often than not, I’ve had amicable experiences and regular, warranted rejections. I don’t blame them for their uncertainty. But some of these are particularly amusing, especially because they didn’t give me a lot of wiggle room when it came to revisions or improving the story. That was the worst part for me.
I think only a handful of times have I gotten a rejection that actually gave me direction for edits going forward; agents/publishers are not obligated to do this, but it is rare, and I suggest doing your best to take whatever you can out of it — because 99% of the time, the rejections you do get are disheartening at best.
“Thank you for your email. Based on your synopsis and sample chapters, Eira is carrying the story, and the most interesting character, so I’m having a hard time understanding why additional POV characters are necessary. I’m going to have to pass, but I wish you luck in your publishing journey.”
[[ Told me that a dual POV wasn’t necessary after reading all of two chapters 😭 ]]
“Your premise made me excited to read, but I felt the worldbuilding took too long to wade through, with so many names and political alliances, etc. Since I have to choose between several amazing projects which one I’m going to champion, I have to be really passionate about every aspect of the manuscript. So I’m afraid I’m going to pass.”
[[ Requesting the full manuscript of a book you know is pitched as having nine heiresses, nine courts, etc — tells me you’re rejecting it because there’s too many names?? ]]
“If I can suggest some reading to you although you most probably have read her writing - anything written by Sarah J. Maas, as she jumps straight in and her stories move forward in leaps and bounds.”
[[ This is all I have to say to this:
“His growls of pleasure filled the tent, drowning out the cries of the injured and crying.”
I’m not trying to come across as ungrateful here, either. I know a lot of writers have had it a lot worse when it comes to their querying experience. But I hope this helps with perspective for a lot of you who are feeling a little helpless! It takes time and a lot of rejections, even ones that say contrasting things. Take everything with a grain of salt and do your best to keep growing. Someone wants your story, I swear.
MY QUERYING STATS
Because they’re pretty sad, and yet, I still got my happy ending!
I’ve never not been transparent about how dismal my TWBTB stats were at the start of querying and for a long time thereafter. To be fair; the story was not ready to be queried for the first few months (you can read more about that here) but the rejections came in even after strenuous revisions — and they continued coming, all the way to the last week, when I was waiting to announce my offer. In the end, give or take a few older queries that I’ve forgotten to include, this is what my stats were:
The first draft of THOSE WHO BURN THE BRIGHTEST was finished in December, 2021.
FIRST QUERY SENT IN: January, 2022
LAST QUERY SENT IN: August, 2022
🌟 QUERIES SENT: 130+
🍊 REQUESTS: 11
🧩 REVISE & RESUBMIT: 1 (that ended in rejection)
🧵 REJECTIONS: 100+
💓 PUBLISHER OFFERS: 2
🔮 AGENT OFFERS: 0
As a final note, I hope that — if anything — my experience with THOSE WHO BURN THE BRIGHTEST is a learning point for others and a reminder that it’s okay to be hopeful. You will get there, and no matter the time it takes or what path you take, you deserve to feel proud of yourself once you are there. Finishing a story, or even writing on in the first place, is an absolutely insane feat. I’m very proud of you all and hope that we can continue on this chaotic, confusing journey together 💌