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. 🙂