Deep Frustration: Publication Journey Part Three
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.
Edits I’d Love to Make for When Stars Die
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!
Being a Bad Author–But for a Reason
I’m going to admit I have been a bad author lately. Not bad in that I’m not doing any writing, but bad in that I need to do content edits for The Stars Are Infinite, the sequel to When Stars Die. I got them from my publisher and the C.O.O. However, while I have three projects–including this one–going on, I can’t juggle all of them at the same time.
AEC recently advised we submit short stories to magazines that fall in our genre, and that they would do a complementary copy edit. The truth is that I don’t want to do any more paranormal stories after The Stars Trilogy, and I was not in the least bit interested writing a paranormal short story. (I will be doing a novella pertaining to The Stars Trilogy.) Even so, I said I wanted to do it, with a story already burning in my mind. When I looked up who I wanted to submit to, Harmony Ink Press immediately made my list because some magazines do consider 15,000 words short stories, but they consider that a novella. I thought, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity to get my foot in their door, because I have this other, bigger novel I’m also doing that I want them to consider, and if AEC approves of doing a complementary edit for a 15,000 word thing, then that’s great!’ But as I began to outline it, the more I began to realize I wanted this to turn into something more because HIP put out a call for a very specific type of work they’re looking for: books with asexual/aromantic characters.
When I saw that on their blog, I knew it was going to be longer than 15,ooo, that it had to be, because I want to represent some of the struggles asexuals face, some of the struggles people are completely unaware of, even among those who are asexual. But the book is far more than that. In fact, the MC finds out she’s asexual not even a quarter of the way through the book, and even before that readers know just what is going to define the book, that it is not her asexuality. However, I’m going to start talking more about this in issue 3 of my newsletter and will not start talking about it more until I hopefully get a contract from them. And even if I don’t get the contract, I will be subbing to other places seeking material along these lines. So if you want the scoop before anyone else, it’d be awesome if you signed up for my newsletter. Issue 2 comes out tomorrow. I am super crossing my fingers at this time because I have more faith in it than the other book with an asexual character. I have so much faith in it that I’m going to send Mariah, now a freelance editor, the draft of it when I start content edits for TSAI. I usually revise a book before sending out the draft, and while it’s definitely not perfect, I think it’s something she can handle without her eyes bleeding.
In any case, as I began delving into this book, I was originally going to make it a novella, but HIP doesn’t pay advances for novellas–and you only get published in electronic format and not print. This is when I knew I could push it to be a short novel. This is when I knew that I had to, partly for selfish reasons to get an advance, but also because I really wanted to develop the characters and the main theme of the book. I want to make it just as sweet and heartbreaking as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. (For the record, there is no cancer.)
But I am also binge writing about 8,000 words a day, so I’m ALMOST 40,000 words into the book, having started it just last week. Just 3,000 words away. The climax will be coming in about a chapter or two, that will last probably one or two chapters or so, and then the resolution, which will be about 2 to 3 chapters. I am absolutely positive that I can get it finished this week. Then content edits for TSAI WILL absolutely occur, because they have to occur, especially if I hope for an end-of-year release or at the most the beginning of 2015.
So I am ultimately prioritizing the draft of this book because HIP put out a call for these very specific characters that I’m writing about. They don’t have any books with asexual characters. In fact, YA doesn’t have too many books with asexual characters you don’t have to analyze to know they’re asexual.
I will I will I will start content edits for TSAI and try to get those done in a week, too.
In other news, I just want to mention that When Stars Die has 78 ratings and 49 reviews, on Goodreads at a 4.29 rating. If you haven’t picked up your copy, what are you waiting for? It’s a YA paranormal that can be best compared to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, especially because of the extreme religious fanaticism expressed in Amelia’s world.
The sequel, I am most positive, is going to be absolutely stellar.
Paranormal Issue, Giveaway, and Misc. Info
So I’m still feeling on the blah side of things, but I’m still getting stuff done, which is good news, but it might be some time before I get back into topical blog posts. So here are just a few updates. For one, The Corner Club Press is having a paranormal themed issue and wants paranormal stories in celebration of When Stars Die’s release. I also want to remind you about the YA paranormal romance book giveaway going on.
I am doing a YA Paranormal Romance book giveaway as a thanks for all the Stars out there who have supported me in the cover reveal of When Stars Die, which you can find here if you have not yet seen it.
The above books are the books you have to choose from in the giveaway. Should you win, you can choose three of them. Yes. Three books. I will be giving away three of the above ten books: Clockwork Angel, Evermore, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Paranormalcy, City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures, Minutes Before Sunset, Fallen, Wake, and Hex Hall.
So what do you have to do to get entered for this giveaway? Simple, really. All you have to do is add When Stars Die to your to-be-read list on Goodreads–that is assuming you are interested in YA paranormal romance; I simply don’t want you to add it if you are not interested. That will be your entry. You can find When Stars Die’s Goodreads page here. ONCE I HAVE 100 ADDS, I WILL DRAW FOR THE WINNER.
Note: I do buy these books myself. They are not books that I own already. They will be brand new books. You can choose to either have a physical copy or an e-book copy should you win this giveaway. I will follow up with more information for the winner.
Last, I am having a short story appearing in an anthology AEC Stellar Publishing is putting together. This short story will be my first time writing anything that is literary. It is also the direction I want to take my writing in after all my genre stories are done.
Help With Cover Reveal for When Stars Die
Yesterday I received the mock covers for When Stars Die (they’re gorgeous!), so it’s getting fairly close to being done. I don’t have a formal date for the cover reveal. I’m pretty much going to do it once I get the okay or whatever, but I would love some help with doing it. Basically, should you decide to help me, I’ll e-mail you with a small media packet with like the synopsis and all that (and hopefully a release date with it), and you can post it on your blog or whatever social media site is most convenient for you, or whatever has the most followers. Twitter probably isn’t the best site to use in this case, but things like Tumblr, Facebook, ect…
In exchange for helping me with this, I’ll enter you in an Amazon gift card giveaway I’ll do, that way you can buy whatever books you want–or whatever you want, really.
All you need t9 do is comment below that you’d like to help, along with your e-mail address. Or you can e-mail me at email@example.com that you’d like to help if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your address in the comments below.
Thank you so much everyone!
Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys
The other day I was going through my Twitter feed, which re-introduced me to Steph Bowe, a young author who had her first book published at 15 titled Girl Saves Boy. She’s nineteen now, but I once obsessed over her at one point because I wanted to be among the elusive breed of teen authors, but now I’m just among the elusive breed of authors under 25 since most find they don’t receive their first publication until they’re older than 25, I guess. But I did start When Stars Die at 15 before shelving it for about 6 years, so I guess that counts for something. But you guys should check out Steph Bowe’s blog. It’s where I got the idea for today’s post since she mentions paranormal tropes she’s stumbled upon in published YA paranormal books.
Let the troping begin!
- The male interest is often hundreds of years older than the protagonist. Oliver is only a few years older than Amelia, but Amelia is 18 at the start of the book. If it weren’t for a certain something, technically Oliver would be Amelia’s age.
- Special eyes, being ridiculously attractive. Nope. Oliver is very average, and I make that a point when Amelia describes him. But as her feelings deepen for Oliver, he becomes more attractive. I do this to show that our burgeoning love for someone can make that person more beautiful. Also, Oliver’s eyes are a grayish color, so there isn’t exactly anything special about them. But those eyes do become more beautiful as Amelia begins to fall in love with him.
- Creepy, stalkery supernatural creatures. Nope. Not Oliver. Amelia and Oliver already have feelings for one another right when the book begins, which is probably a first among the paranormal genre. Oliver wants more and makes it known, while Amelia really just wants to be a nun in her fervent attempt to save her brother, who is a witch, the ultimate sin in her world. But Oliver isn’t stalkery or pushy about it. They’re best friends, for crying out loud, so they know each other very well. If Oliver’s pushy, it’s only because their interactions suggest both of them want more than what’s already there.
- Supernatural creatures being at war with one another. Not in my book. Witches are victimized by humans. Another supernatural force wants to victimize humans for revenge.
- “But it can’t be real!” and then the MC suddenly believes it a few sentences later. I make it a point to have Amelia believe she’s hallucinating about a certain supernatural force she sees. It takes some building up for Amelia to realize her supernatural force is not a product of a hallucination. Also, I do this for His Vanity. But Gene struggles with hallucinations anyway.
- “You know he/she loves you, right?” Again, feelings at beginning of book. Amelia’s best friend had nothing to do with this. In fact, she discourages the relationship because of where Amelia and Oliver stand.
- “I don’t trust you.” “You shouldn’t.” This would be a spoiler for me to explain, so I’ll just say Amelia and Oliver have a deep-seated trust for one another.
I did write When Stars Die with the idea that I would eliminate all paranormal tropes. I am very much burnt out on reading paranormal (unless it’s recommended to me and lacks the usual tropes), so I decided to write When Stars Die as the ideal paranormal book that I’d like to read. So I hope you guys enjoy WSD. Also, I just want to say that WSD is actually more heavy on the paranormal than the romance aspect, in spite of the tropes I chose to throw down. Granted, I highly doubt WSD is free of tropes, but it’s certainly original in its own right.
Yes, I finally got my own website separate from this blog! It will contain updates about my book, media updates, my vlog archive, and other fun, exciting tidbits that I am still working on which will likely appear around the release date of When Stars Die. Just click on http://amberskyeforbes.com to check it out!
Also, Sister Evelyn Part II is out! Well, it’s been out but I’ve been too busy to share its release.
So check out the website and the fiction piece!
I also have a burgeoning Facebook Page I would like you guys to check out. You can receive lots of updates from there, as well as links to things I find interesting and general ballet craziness.
Sister Evelyn is now out. You can either go to the Sister Evelyn tab or download the .pdf here. Sister Evelyn’s story will introduce you to the world of When Stars Die, but keep in mind this is not necessarily canon to When Stars Die because there is no evidence of Sister Evelyn in WSD. Her story simply exists as a way of giving you a taste of what you’ll be reading in WSD. Part two will be released next week!
Stupid Writing Advice
There are a few rules on this list to the right that have me seething out of my writerly mind. Some of them are good, but some of them are outright ridiculous, whether or not you have the experience to know when to break them. I’m going to pick at the ones from this list that I find extremely stupid.
1. Write what you know.
I hate this one because it’s impossible to write what you know. And really, I should only break this rule in an emergency? You’re not going to know every facet of your book, hence why many a published book was written with research in mind. If you write what you know, your story is likely to not be that interesting. I had no idea about the workings of a convent when I wrote When Stars Die. I did research on the Salem Witch Trials. The point is, I had to do research, and you likely will too. I suppose if you took this rule literally, write what you know includes writing what you know from research, but in this list, this list that says to only break these rules in emergencies, write what you know likely doesn’t include the research aspect.
2. Kids and animals can’t die.
Just what? I get killing off a kid or an animal can be a cheap way to arouse sympathy, but this also suggests that the lives of animals and kids are too valuable, and that the lives of adults don’t hold enough value, so it’s okay to kill off adults, but, by god, you kill off a kid or animal and you’re stepping on sacred ground. I’ll kill off kids or animals if I want to, especially if it’s relevant to my plot. They’re not immune to death.
3. No multiple points of view.
How are you going to learn to use multiple points of view unless you start writing from multiple points of view? If you find it’s pointless later, that’s why you can edit it out. But you’re never going to understand how to use them unless you actually try to write with them. So break this rule. Kill it, if you’re interested in experimenting with multiple POVs. Shannon’s Minutes Before Sunset uses two POVs, and I think she does a marvelous job, and it’s only her second book. I can tell she didn’t care about this “rule.”
4. Happy endings are required for commercial fiction.
No they’re not. Have you been reading commercial fiction lately? A lot of the endings are bittersweet. I don’t consider bittersweet endings happy endings because the MC is often left with some sort of trauma that is going to have to be sorted out. And trauma is painful. It’s not happy.The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray has a bittersweet ending. Mockingjay has a bittersweet ending. I don’t know what commercial books you’ve been reading lately, but I haven’t been reading any with happy endings.
Write whatever ending you want to write. Even if you’re writing commercial fiction. The only books that require happy endings are Harlequin romance novels.
5. If you want to sell, write to current trends.
Just what? Okay, When Stars Die is a paranormal romance, but I didn’t do it to jump on the paranormal bandwagon. It’s dangerous to force yourself to write to current trends because what you write can turn to crap. Also, I’ve seen plenty of books selling that aren’t along current trends. Write whatever the heck you want. Moving on.
6. Write 1000 words a day.
No. Try to write every day, however many words you can get in. Don’t tell me what to do, especially because you don’t know my life.