Phew! It's been a busy week! Between celebrating the big REBEL WING launch, and frantically trying to finish the first draft of its sequel (I have DEADLINES now, y'all!), I feel like the proverbial headless chicken. But I wanted to take a minute and tell you a little more about how my book deal came about, because folks have been asking...and it's a fun story. :-)
First of all, a little recap of my publishing journey to date: back in 2009, I wrote Moon Child. Found representation pretty quickly with a wonderful agent, but it didn't sell. Wrote By Blood. Same result, though we got REALLY REALLY close. MAJOR HOTSAUCE was deployed in summer of 2010. That fall, I wrote Shattered Veil, which was in part inspired by his deployment...and a great bonding experience while he was away. He helped me with a lot of the military scenes and political maneuvering. I thought this book was special. We fantasized about it selling big. Being a movie one day. When I submitted it to my agent, she suggested some pretty big changes that I didn't feel 100% comfortable with. But I desperately wanted THIS one to sell, so I made the changes. And...no sale. Fast forward a few years, LOTS of revisions, a little more rejection...to when I went indie. I started with my earlier series - I wanted to test the waters before putting Shattered Veil out in the world. And I needed time to revise it AGAIN...to make it the story I really wanted to tell. In February 2014, Shattered Veil was finally published.
One Thursday in April, as I was knee-deep in writing the sequel (MAJOR HOTSAUCE was on toddler duty), I got two odd follows on Twitter, one after another. "Odd" because editors at publishing houses don't normally follow ME. Then, DING! An email through my blog. From a senior editor at Alloy Entertainment. Even though I'd heard of the company (they've been on my radar since the '90s - I was an original fan of L.J. Smith and The Vampire Diaries!), I was pretty sure it was spam. Because, um, the editor was raving about my book. MY book. She even used the word "obsessed". But I thought...okay....and opened an email to reply. Why not see what this was about? Before I had time to finish the email, three more messages dinged through my blog. Apparently the editor was getting an error message from the submission page. And then....a twitter DM. Wow, this person REALLY wanted to talk to me! So I sent the email.
When she replied immediately and asked if we could talk on the phone, I couldn't hold back the tummy flutters anymore. And by the end of that conversation (which I'm pretty sure I'll never forget), those flutters were full-on BATS. Because OH MY GOSH ALLOY ENTERTAINMENT WANTS TO BUY MY BOOK.
Not just my book. THREE BOOKS. They ended up buying the whole trilogy.
Guys, that day was everything I could have hoped for. It's what I had been working towards for years, the culmination of a life of writing into the void. Only it was BETTER than I imagined. Submitting to traditional publishers feels a lot like begging someone to like you. You send your stuff to them, hoping they'll deign to read it. Hoping they'll connect with it. Hoping they'll invest in you. Five years of submission is a lot of begging. And, when it happened, these wonderful kindred spirit editors actually CAME TO ME. No begging, except maybe a little on their part. ;-) The reversal was so incredibly unexpected, and so unbelievably welcome.
Ever since that day in April, every time I think about it I get chills. Someone read my book. Someone loved my book. Someone at ALLOY ENTERTAINMENT, the company responsible for most of my favorite TV shows. THIS WAS BIG.
It still feels big. And not because of sales or the fact that, after all these years, there's a (teeny tiny) chance Rebel Wing COULD become a movie. It feels big because of Lanie and Eliza, my editors. They LOVED this story. They read this story about eight times in all its iterations. They had hour-long conversations with me about the characters as if they were real people. They helped me make this story EVEN BETTER. (For those wondering, yes, REBEL WING *is* different from the previously indie published version. The plot stays the same, for the most part, but we did a ton of work on pacing, world building, etc., to help clarify and streamline everything. If you've read Shattered Veil, the new version is worth a read, especially if you plan to check out book 2, as some of the character names changed).
Lanie and Eliza's passion for this project, and their insightful feedback, was exactly why I'd originally pursued traditional publishing in the first place. I wanted to be part of a publishing TEAM. And let me tell you, I hit the jackpot as far as teams go.
Back in June, I had the opportunity to visit a dear friend in NYC (hi Helo!! *waves*) and while there I also got to meet Lanie and Eliza in real life. It was AMAZING. Here's the photographic proof - check out our goofy grins.
(Also, they have really pretty hair, don't they?)
Suffice to say, the last few months have been a whirlwind, and it was SO HARD keeping quiet about everything. I'm so so excited that REBEL WING is out in the world...and that I can now sing Lanie and Eliza's (and Alloy and Amazon's) praises publicly. Yay!
If YOU are interested in working with Alloy, here's more information on their submission guidelines.
There's still time to enter my giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!
Aimee (Every Ugly Word), Heather (Imitation), and I are hosting a twitter party this Thursday (Aug 7th)! Use the hashtag #YAauthorparty to learn more about our books, get behind the scene insights on working with Alloy, and enter to win awesome prizes!
And if you haven't had a chance to check out REBEL WING yet, here's the link to its Amazon page. I hope you'll take a look and let me know what you think. :-)