How I Met My Publisher (And Other Writer Questions Answered)

Upon learning that I am a Published Author, fellow writerly types often ask How I Got Published. I’m happy to answer, and to save on even more time, I thought I’d trot this out as a link that can be referenced anytime the story is prompted.

“How did you get published?”

In 2012, I was up to my waist in short stories, ideas for short stories, and the never ending hunt for places to submit them. Twitter was my happy hunting ground, finding contest after contest, anthology after anthology, and calls for submissions left and right. I would bookmark things diligently, schedule things out for myself so I had deadlines and opportunities scrawled all across my calendar. Amid the small lake of rejection emails (or lack of communication altogether) I finally got a positive response – Xchyler Publishing’s steampunk-classic literature anthology wanted my short story!

“Lavenza, or The Modern Galatea” was published in Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology in April 2013. I was thrilled to finally have gotten something I wrote into a real live book that people could order and buy and read with their hands and faces. It was thrilling. A few weeks after the release of Mechanized Masterpieces, I got an email from the editors at Xchyler (whom we lovingly refer to as The X) – they had liked my work, and liked working with me. Did I have anything else ready to publish? A novel, perhaps?

Well, the truth is, I had three novel drafts that could potentially be worked on and prepared for publication, but of the three, there was one that stood out to me as being “more ready.” On the Isle of Sound and Wonder was a fantasy, kinda steampunk retelling of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest that I had written only a few months before, as my National Novel Writing Month project in November. It was poised to be reworked into something cohesive and really fun. So I sent them a note back and pitched them a synopsis and an outline of OISW. They liked it – a lot – and the next thing I knew I had been sent a contract and off we went.

Of course, I had a good friend who worked professionally as an editor/contract person for a big house educational publisher look over my contract with me and make sure I wasn’t about to get taken for a ride. She assured me it looked like I was in good hands, and so I signed it and the game was on.

Hours and hours and weeks and months of work and editing and revising later, OISW came into the world, and I unlocked the achievement of Novelist. Like any debut novelist ought to be, I was/am aware that my book has flaws, but it will always be special because it is my first.

Now the secondary question that inevitably follows:

“What are you writing now?”

Or perhaps worse:

“When does the sequel come out?”

Or even:

“When can I buy the audiobook?”

Shudder.

The answers currently are as follows:

  1. Yes. Several things. Slowly… Verrrrrrrrryyyyyy ssssslllllloooowwwwwlllllyyyy.
  2. Never. OISW is a stand alone. I may revisit the world or feature some characters in short stories. But no sequel.
  3. Uh. I love doing audiobooks – and I love listening to them. I would love to have someone amazing do this audiobook. I would likewise love to do it myself. I don’t know which I’d love more. But also, I have zero time to dedicate towards recording and producing it, and I have zero money to spare towards hiring someone else to do so. So, as of right now, never. Or at least no time soon.

Other queries of the burningly curious public include:

“Do you have an agent?”

Nope. I would LOVE one. As soon as I have another manuscript ready to shop, I will be querying for an agent. But I’m 100% open to suggestions and introductions between now and then.

“Can you get me published, too?”

Nope. That would be awesome if I could. But I don’t have a publishing company, nor do I hold any real sway in The X – except for whether or not confetti cannons will be used at our next convention booth.

“Will you read this thing I wrote and provide detailed feedback?”

Mmmmmm. Again with the not-enough-time thing. I will usually politely tell you I am unable to read it because of time constraints and scheduling. Sometimes I will make an exception because I Really Really Really Want To Read That Thing You Wrote. But I’m not an editor, and I’ve never been a terribly structured Critique Partner… I’m probably not your best bet.

“Why isn’t your book in stock at Barnes & Noble?”

If you ask a bookseller to order it for you, they can and will. It will probably make them happy that you are asking for help with something, if you are super nice, and it will make me happy because you’re shopping in a real book store. Better yet, go to your favorite indie bookstore and ask them to order it. Most bookstores will not have it in stock automatically because our press is so small that we don’t have mass produced stuff yet. But you can always ask, and they can always try to order it for you. Otherwise, you can go to my Published Works page, and click on the book to buy it from Amazon. I get extra bonus money when you order it through clicking on my site! Amazing!

“Your first short story is based on Frankenstein. Your novel is based on The Tempest. Will you be adapting other classic literature for modern readers?”

Currently I have no plans to adapt anything else… but the lure is always there. I am really hoping to do something “completely original” soon. There are just so many options!


 

I am fully aware that my path to publishing is not the same as everyone else’s paths. And vice versa. Everyone seems to do things differently, and that’s okay. I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have, to the best of my ability. The other thing to remember is that just because I got published doesn’t mean I’m ‘done’ or I’ve ‘made it.’ I have so much further to go, and so much work to do! Also I just read Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and now I’m a hollow shell of a human being that thought she was a writer…He’s too brilliant. I’ll never live up to that. 

At any rate, that’s pretty much it. And there’s a long way yet to go. 🙂

Slice of Pie: Danielle E. Shipley’s Wild and Sweet Fairy Tale Journey

For my next trick, I’ll pull a Danielle out of a hat! Or a Danielle-flavored piece of pie. Or a pie. Pie from a hat?

~A Slice of Pie!~

A tasty sample of something fresh cooked up by an artist of my choosing.

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Who are you?

The jury’s still out on that. Our best guess involves aliens and cybernetics, elemental magic and England, an alternate reality or two, and a few dozen people clamoring for control of a single mind. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll go with the name I use when trying to pass for human. Call me Danielle E. Shipley, wordsmith.

LE AUTHOR

Danielle E. Shipley

What’s your thing right now? That thing. You know. That thing over there. What is that?

Ah, this. I was just admiring the newly revealed cover of my next publication. I’ve been cranking out this series of fairytale mash-up novellas since mid-2013, and it’s all scheduled to come to a close this October with “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”.

story

What do you love about this thing?

Well, for one thing, we’re talking about my book baby. That means I’m going to love it on principle, for it is the work of my hands – of my head – of my heart. Beyond that, the book belongs, in large part, to a minstrel. And a minstrel tale means music wafting through every page. Such stories as these delight me.

What do you hate about this thing?

It’s sad, dang it. And I mean, part of me likes sad. “Sad is happy for deep people,” I’ve heard it said. But good pain is pain nonetheless, and I’m not quite so far gone ‘round the bend that pain is my favorite. It’s also aggravating that I’ve still got several weeks to go before I can share my beautiful agony with the public!

When/how/where can people read the thing?

The official launch date is October 13th, 2015, though chances are people will be able to get their orders in at least a few days early. It will be available in both paperback (via Amazon and CreateSpace) and e-book (Kindle and Nook). And there’s going to be a multi-day online extravaganza party for the book’s release and the series’ farewell, to which absolutely everyone with a Facebook account is invited.

What thing would you do if you had all the money and time in the world right now?

I’m going to Disney World! I’m going to Broadway! I’m sailing the seas on my own pirate ship! I’m building a castle in Sherwood Forest, complete with a private library full of all-ll-ll the books! And I had better save that stop for last, since I’m probably never stepping foot outside that door again. Unless a wizard drops by with an invitation to adventure. Then I might. (Which reminds me, I also need to visit Hobbiton, New Zealand…)

What’s your new favorite thing that someone else has done/made?

My current aural obsession is the soundtrack from Dreamworks’ “The Road to El Dorado”. I’ve been playing the songs into the ground for months, and I’ve yet to get sick of it. So, congrats, Sir Elton John!

ALSO! One Megan Ann Jacobs (we were once Town Criers together at the Bristol Renaissance Faire) has written, directed, and is soon to present an original play! To quote the info on the invite I received:
Alone in a New York apartment, the god of comedy is melancholy, and he wants everyone to know it.

Though bound to find a new person to inspire and complete an unfinished story, Sebastian, the last remaining Greek Muse, mourns the passing of his latest instrument and friend, amusing himself by successfully spooking, pranking, and sabotaging every opportunity for a potential replacement.

Until Nikki.

Driven by her own personal demons, Nikki stubbornly battles with Sebastian for mastery of the apartment. Though fully engulfed in their feud, things get all the more complicated when the two are plagued by an over-involved landlord, a well-intentioned fiancé, and a dramatic Sebastian-orchestrated duel between the two that results in good old-fashioned police intervention. “aMUSEd” captures and explores our tendency to honor the dead by refusing to live, and leads us, through the ancient art of comedy, to live with the past and move forward.

I had the privilege of reading an early draft of the play, which was a delight  – doubly delightful, in fact, because Megan tells me the first spark of inspiration for “aMUSEd” was my very own novel (serendipitously titled “Inspired”). The play’s scheduled to show at Brumder Mansion in Milwaukee, September 25th – October 17th. You can bet I plan to be there!

Possibly the most important question… If your thing was a pie, what kind of pie would it be?

It can only be blueberry. Plenty of tartness amidst the sweet. The deep, dark blue of the sky in the night. And bleeding its juices all over the place, much like the mess it made of my heart.

YE OLDE REN FAIRE PHOTOBOMB of Danielle by me

YE OLDE REN FAIRE PHOTOBOMB (of Danielle, by me)

Danielle is one of the most pleasantly off-beat people I’ve ever met – and we met at the ren faire, so that says a lot. Her tales are fun and lavish and her words are always chosen with mischief, love, and delight. She plays the lute because she’s a hardcore bard, and she rocks out new fairy tales like it’s her job. Which it is. Check her out at Ever On Word and her Facebook author page for more sweet stuff!