The intense frustration of waiting for a house to take my book is really starting to gnaw on my right hemisphere. Let me first state that I am SUPER grateful Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly offered me a contract. Frankly, this is still a house I want, but is something I will be thinking over now that I’m in a clearer mindset. I also want to admit that I am SUPREMELY grateful that Bookfish Books has let me know they’re going to get to my manuscript in April. Not a lot of houses will let you know the wait time. If neither of them choose to take on my book, I have Pandamoon Publishing I can submit to. I’d love to sub to them right now, but I promised Bookfish that my book is not a simultaneous submission, because it would be very unprofessional of me to withdraw it a second time. Plus, I am so impressed by everything they have to offer that I know my novel will be a good fit if accepted. You should check out both Bookfish and CHBB. I’m certain you will be impressed. Check out Pandamoon as well. They’re still small, but they seem to know their way around the small press business.
But I’m frustrated. Two AEC authors have found homes for their books. I will be honest, of course, that they are houses I don’t want my book to be with. I did submit to Cleanteen Publishing, but I later realized that my book would not be a good fit at all, simply because I think my book needs to be with a house that dabbles in dark young adult novels. Another publisher an AEC member was accepted by was an automatic write-off for me because it doesn’t allow you the rights to your own book during the duration of your contract. That was an immediate no for me. This isn’t to say the latter book won’t find success. Some authors are willing to accept clauses such as these–and it isn’t always a bad thing. If this author’s book is successful, who am I to bash this house? I have no right to. That house just isn’t for me, as I’m more conscientious about houses I think would treat my particular book well. This house wouldn’t ruin it by any means, but there are particular clauses I’m not willing to forgive. Others are willing to, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you’ve got to be willing to compromise, especially if you know your book will do well. Not all houses are going to be compatible with every book, and that’s okay. Not all authors are going to like the terms, and that’s okay. This does not make the publisher bad. They are simply working off models that are likely successful.
My frustration stems from the fact that it seems I’m the only one struggling to find my book’s place in the publishing world. And, of course, I’m impatient, waiting to hear back from a publisher I pray accepts my novel. If not, I pray the other house accepts my book. If not, I hope CHBB will give it another chance. If not, I’ll have to take a different path.
Frankly, I don’t want to go at this alone. My book has excellent ratings on Goodreads. Most of my readers have enjoyed it. If you’ve been a reader who has enjoyed it, it would be great if you could give my book a boost to any publishers you happen to stumble upon. In fact, give me recommendations for publishers I can submit to. I won’t accept any wait times more than two months, and that includes querying before being asked to see a full.
It’s frustrating because I’m doing all of this on my own. I don’t have a team of people helping me, guiding me, persuading publishers to take on my project, or anybody except for a few people cheering me on, hoping with all of their readerly love that my book finds something new. I suppose this is my fault for not reaching out to readers more, but I plan to change this. I have fans on Tumblr rooting for me, but I’m stuck doing this all over again, and it’s truly mind-numbing.
This sounds like a ranty, ungrateful post, as every publisher I’ve subbed to has wanted to see a full. I am grateful for this opportunity. It’s just irritating, almost jealousy inducing, that two AEC authors have found publishers in a snap while I’m still stuck with the waiting game. I’m proud of them. They’ve written incredible books AEC loved, and any other house out there should be envious they didn’t take these books on.
I hope all of you will help me out. I can use the support. My book is loved by readers, so I know there has to be a publisher out there for me that loves it just as much as my readers do.
When a book is published, every author feels like he or she could have made that book better. Yet, by the time that book hits the shelves, it’s too late. Well, my book has a second chance, so I thought it’d be interesting to write a post on changes I’d like to make to When Stars Die, even though I know–or am hoping–my publisher, or whatever path I choose, will have edits for me. (Of course, I’d still like to make these edits regardless.)
- I would like to edit some of the dialogue to make it richer and give the characters more unique voices than they already have.
- I want to make Nathaniel’s–Amelia’s younger brother–character much stronger, primarily through dialogue, emotion, and action.
- I want to sweeten the romance between Oliver and Amelia more. Though this is not something I originally wanted to do because I didn’t want the romance to be the focus, I don’t think it’d kill the book to add some nice sugar to it.
- More back story for Amelia. I’d like to reveal bits and pieces of her life before Cathedral Reims. It won’t be too much, as she’ll have plenty of this in the third book, but it can serve to make her a richer character than she already is.
- Darkness. The book is already dark enough, but perhaps adding a smidge more will add more literary depth to it. I’m a combo commercial-literary writer, so it makes sense to me. I already have a few ideas in mind, such as focusing more on Amelia’s psychological state. I want to show her instability more, because she isn’t stable when the book begins, which is obvious, of course.
- My own experiences. I’ve gone through so many things this year, one of those things being a suicide watch at a mental hospital. I understand Amelia more now, and I feel like I can make her much richer by being able to use these experiences and feelings I’ve gained to add more to the situations she finds herself in. After all, I understand those situations now because I have been in them, when, before, I hadn’t been.
- Beauty in darkness. There is a lot of darkness, but I’d like to show that beauty can exist in it, even if there are no lights.
- More relevance on a certain character. Yeah, I want to shine a spotlight on a certain character a tad bit more. After all, she will be the protagonist for The Stars Are Infinite.
- The trials at the beginning of the book Amelia goes through. I want to make these more symbolic, possibly a way of beating the Seven Deadly Sins out of the girls going through trials to become professed nuns.
Well, these are pretty much all of the changes I’d like to make. Hopefully you guys find this interesting. And hopefully if you’ve already bought the book and enjoyed it, you’ll snag a copy of the second edition!
Although my novel is still in publishing purgatory, this doesn’t mean I can’t entice you with a few quotes. I hope you’ll add it to Goodreads and follow my newsletter. You’ll find the link to that on the home page of my website. This newsletter will keep you updated on my publishing journey, offer writing advice, recommend books, and have a main article helpful to both readers and writers
Colette to Amelia: ‘”You have to clear your mind of everything, every bad feeling, every good feeling, every doubt.”‘
Oliver to Amelia: ‘”This is why I love you Amelia, your ardent passion, your willingness to do something. So you should understand why I will not turn back.”‘
Nathaniel to Amelia: ‘”Why did you take us away from Mother and Father three years ago?”‘
Amelia: “My life should fly out on a film reel. It stays locked in the prison of my mind.”
Mother Aurelia to Amelia: ‘”If I didn’t care, I would have kept you here [Cathedral Reims], making you endure trials with the knowledge that you weren’t ready for them. I don’t put my girls through the trials knowing they can’t handle them.”
Amelia: “The nuns are allowed to beat us. Most don’t, but some do.”
Keep in mind that no matter what path my book goes through, there will be some editorial changes.
Frankly, there isn’t much to report on this end; however, I did receive another full request from Clean Teen Publishing. Bookfish is still reading over my manuscript, but I’m heavily leaning toward Clean Teen, as they are more established, have a bigger catalogue of books, impressive covers, a strong staff, and a beautiful website. In fact, when I subbed to them, I heard back from them the same day, most likely due to a tip from an author I know who was accepted by them. I’m very excited. Two fulls from two houses is a big deal. I’ll also starting working on second revisions for a book I plan to submit to Harmony Ink Press, one I think will be ready after these final revisions–and proofreads and all that junk.
I just can’t wait to hear back. My gut says at least one of them will want it. It’d be great if both could offer me a contract. Then I could read over both and choose the best one.
In any case, I think it’d be interesting to write about why I’m still continuing with small presses, despite their fold rate.
- I like small presses. This is a no-brainer. You’re closer to its publishing staff and authors. You can support one another.
- The wait times aren’t ungodly. It should take about 6-8 weeks for me to hear back, but Clean Teen could be sooner, as my tipped-author seemed to have received representation in less time. I know I sent off to Bookfish sooner than she likely sent off to Clean Teen, as she was still working on preparations by the time I was done. But finding an agent? It could take a year. Then you’re still waiting to find a publisher. I have an author friend with a lit agent. Her book still hasn’t found a home. Personally, I’d dump the agent and either self-publish or go the small press route. I know another too who’s book is still floating around after five years. I wonder if she dumped her agent?
- You can still become a bestseller. Just as you can become a bestseller in the traditional market, you can become one as a small press author. It’s rare, just like bestsellers among the big leagues, but it does happen.
- More control. You can help in the final decision for a cover and edits. The big houses offer no such deals. You have to gently argue with them about edits.
- Less stressed. You aren’t pressed for time like you are with the big leagues.
- Better chances of being accepted. It’s not any easier, but small presses are open to a variety of books big leagues are tired off, like paranormal books. So small presses are far more willing to give done-trend books a chance.
- Support. I want to support small presses because they can change the face of the industry and allow more authors access to their dreams. Small presses are usually very friendly and inviting. There is full transparency.
- Royalties. Your royalties are bigger, sometimes taking the place of an advance. Some presses offer advances, but your royalties are still higher than big-press books. When I was with AEC, I earned a little over a dollar per book and about 3 for print. That is SUPER good.
- They’re more willing to give folded books a chance. The publishers who have accepted my full know I’ve been published before; yet, they are willing to give it a chance. Agents wouldn’t do this. Not even medium-sized publishers would do this.
As you all know, When Stars Die is now an orphaned book due to the unfortunate closure of AEC Stellar Publishing. It wasn’t as heartbroken as I imagined it would be. It still sucks, but I’m trying to see the bright in the bad now. All this means for me is that my novel will receive a fresh start at another home that will hopefully treat it just as well as AEC did. When Stars Die will start over and hopefully find a wider audience. Who is to say? I can’t assume anything right now.
When Stars Die has already received one rejection from Month9Books, but only because Month9 doesn’t accept previously published books from publishers that haven’t been in the game long enough. However, its publisher did love my query letter, so that is a step in the right direction. I’m waiting to hear on these remaining houses: Curiosity Quills Press, Pants on Fire Press, and Bookfish Books. The third one is relatively new, but they’re already pretty attractive in my eyes. Writers AMuse Me Publishing is also on my list, but I’ll submit to it once I hear back from the other three houses. Apparently there isn’t a long waiting period, however, to hear back from them. From what I’ve been told, it can take up to two weeks. With Month9, it was about three days.
It’s unfortunately not uncommon for newer presses to fold within the first few years of their lives. AEC didn’t fold due to any financial reasons. That much I can at least say, as most do fold for that reason.
I think a lot of people would have probably gone ahead and self-published, but since only one book was published in the trilogy so far, I see it fit to find a new home for it. Curiosity Quills most definitely takes previously published works from other houses. I’m not sure about the latter two, as they didn’t specify in their guidelines, but I gave them a chance anyway. With Writers AMuse Me, I’ve already got an “in,” so to speak, but as a courtesy, I do want to wait and hear back from the other publishers and see what they offer, and then I’ll submit to Writers.
So now it’s a waiting game, but I will be updating as each publisher gets back to me. I hope you all will follow me along this tough journey. The good news, however, is that I have finished revisions on another novel of mine, and I’m just waiting to get it submission ready.
And shipped straight to your e-readers. I’m still working on proofreads for the sequel, but The Stars Are Infinite will definitely have a 2015 release. If you haven’t had a chance to see its cover, here it is! Just check out my website to find out more information on these books. Happy Holidays, Stars!
The Caelimane Operation
When the Temples to the Goddess north of Southwatch are burned and followers of Dione are murdered, Hierocrat Catherine, a bard of the Caelimane Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed, but will she succeed when she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogue members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead?
About the Darkside Codex
The Caelimane Operation is part of Musa Publishing’s Darkside Codex, a shared world series with a steampunk setting. Although steampunk forms the basis, the novels in the series explore science fiction, high fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, paranormal, romance, mystery, and noir themes. At the center of each story is the city of Southwatch and the dark cloud (a toxic stew of chemicals and pollution) that bisects not only the city, but the people who live in it. Segregation is quite literally built into the structure of the city with the rich and the powerful citizens living “sunside” while the poor and downtrodden live beneath the dark cloud.
The higher up you are in the city, the wealthier and more powerful you are.
The Caelimane Operation is scheduled for release on January 16, 2015 by Musa Publishing.
You can learn more about this at http://www.chrispavesic.com
Leading up to the publication date there will be special posts, pictures, and contests. Please check often to make sure you do not miss anything!
About the Author
Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.
Here is the what I think is the gorgeous cover of The Stars Are Infinite!
It is the sequel to When Stars Die. There will be a third book that I plan to call All Stars Align, which will be the final one in The Stars Trilogy. Here is the blurb for this novel:
Alice Sheraton is slated to be executed as a witch; however, her father spares her. He sends her to Finight Hill, a safe house for witches. Here a Shadowman begins to pursue her, and from this Shadowman she learns she has been bound with a terrible fate since birth: either be a martyr to free witches from their misery, or choose to live knowing her existence will bring on more chaos.
This novel has a December release , and you will know more information later, especially when you sign up for the newsletter.
Now here is an interview with Alice Sheraton so that way you get to know a little bit about her before you begin to read this sequel. There are no spoilers. However, make sure you read the first book before buying this one, or else you will get confused:
Hello, Alice. It must be strange being in an interview for you, especially because you’ve spent much of your life never having any attention drawn to you.
Alice: It’s true. Much of my life has been spent preparing me to find a suitable husband. I did go to a finishing school before coming to Finight, so I do have a great deal of education. At the same time, when I was in the other school, I was taught to never draw any attention to myself. So I am nervous about this. What will my mother think? I used to love painting, until my mother took that away from me. I am well-read, and I had my own collection of books in my room. I loved being with Sara, who liked to get into all sorts of trouble I never agreed with, but did so anyway. These things are memorable, but if my mother ever found out about them, she would beat me with a wooden board.
What are your parents like?
Alice: My father has been nothing but supportive, and I’d like to think that if I had said something about wanting to own my own life, he would have been supportive. My mother, on the other hand, is an alcoholic, which is why I was born as a witch. The Seven Deadly Sins give birth to witches, and I suppose my mother’s continual sin is gluttony.
How has being a witch impacted your life?
Alice: Dreadful. I don’t even want to think or talk about what led up to my discovery. I was imprisoned in a small, dirty room in Governor Branch’s home. He is a horrid, perverted man married to my best friend Sara, who is around my age: I am fifteen. I was slated to be executed, but my father saved me by paying a handsome sum of gold to Governor Branch. He couldn’t refuse the money, so he and Father decided to send me off to a safe house called Finight Hill. It looks like any other finishing school, and it is in a secluded area.
What were your reactions to Finight Hill?
Alice: I was paranoid at first. It’s lovely on the exterior, but it’s rather bland on the inside. My other finishing school was richly furnished, with original paintings, marble sculptures, fresh flowers. It was, I suppose, like the inside of a rich man’s home. Finight had no such decorations. So I was scared. I thought I was sent there to be executed, that my father truly had no idea where he was sending me. Governor Branch wanted me dead, but when I met Pastor Brandon and a boy named Nathaniel, their presence and kindness swept away any paranoia I had.
Tell us about Pastor Brandon and Nathaniel.
Alice: Pastor Brandon is nice but strange. He falls into these fits where he cries out, “Curse is everyone who hangs on a tree!” This is a sentence commonly used right before witch executions. He also coughs up some substance from time to time. I don’t know what it is, but it’s black. Even so, he has made me feel welcomed.
Nathaniel, on the other hand, is beautiful, and I saw that right from the start, though I couldn’t admit it to myself. He’s also troubled. He smokes a lot, he scratches himself, and he’s reckless, but he has made me feel welcomed at Finight, and I accepted his friendship. Master Akilah isn’t too fond of him because of his reckless behavior.
How do you feel about Master Akilah?
Alice: I can’t stand him. Neither can Pastor Brandon nor Nathaniel. He was rude to me my first day there when he introduced me, complaining that I was late, not even welcoming me. He is the one who created the unnecessarily strict rules rules for Finight, where we are watched at all times, as though we are in an asylum. We do have certain activities that we have to do throughout the day, like studying. We can go outside once a week–under strict supervision. Nathaniel is smart enough to evade some of these rules, but it eventually becomes our downfall. After a certain event takes place, the rules become worse. At that point, we can’t even have doors to our rooms.
You hear voices?
Alice: I’m unsure if the voice is real or not. It sounds real. She at first told me Pastor Brandon killed her. Then she told me I should kill him. She said he knew who I was, and I couldn’t make any sense of that. He apparently knows the future. When I fainted and woke up in my room, her final words to me were, “You will be mine.” We all thought it was stress and nerves. I thought I was insane, but I was so certain the voice was real. And it is. It truly is.
Can you tell us who the voice belongs to?
Alice: Her name is Annarelius, a Shadowman, a dead witch. She wants me because I can set the world free from sin, allowing everyone, even witches, into Paradise.
Tell us about this Shadowman.
Alice: I would rather not.
Are there any final words?
Alice: My story…it is mine and mine alone, rife with the darkness that is innate in the life of a witch. It was a very hard story to tell. If witches are not freed, at least my account will make them feel less alone, if my account will even be allowed to exist. Witches are insignificant. We are nothing. Those who used to love us betray us and automatically hate us when they find out we are witches. This was the case with my best friend, Sara. The Vulgate, our bible, indoctrinates people into hating us, which is why they can hate so easily. I am not sure if this hatred will ever be erased. I have never known any allies to stop the hatred. I have never known any witches to start a rebellion. But our world is filled with nothing but cruelty. The ugliness of our world surpasses its beauty. Love is the only beauty that exists, but there isn’t enough of it.
Those are some very harrowing words, Alice, but I know you will be the one to make that change. Thank you for letting me interview you.
I hope you enjoyed Alice’s interview and will pick up the already available When Stars Die and the not-yet-released The Stars Are Infinite when you are able to pre-order it or buy it on its release day. Remember it will have a December release date and will be mentioned in a future newsletter.
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Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.
Hello all readers and followers! My publicist, Sebastian Starcevic, wanted me to inform all of you about the anniversary book blast of When Stars Die that will be taking place on October 22nd on various book-related blogs.
As you can see from the graphic on the right, it will include a prize, some interviews, and a lot of other awesome things that you’ll only know about by following the book blast. There will be a $20.00 Amazon gift card giveaway. There are a few ways you can go about being entered for it and racking up points to win the gift card. Signing up for the newsletter will earn you the most points, but you will have to wait for the 22nd to see what all the fun will be about!
If you want to be a part of this book blast, direct all inquiries to email@example.com. By participating, you will automatically be entered into the $20.00 Amazon gift card drawing. You will receive a media kit upon desire of wanting to be a part of the book blast.