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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The time it worked

This week I have been chronicling my journey to become a published author, and I've told you about my three failed attempts to publish a novel. And today, I get to tell you the happy ending--the attempt that worked.

As I mentioned yesterday, I got very close with Novel 2009, but it had some problems I needed to fix. I revamped the whole thing. Changed the main character, the setting, the title, and much more. I was happy with the result, which was the early draft of The Charge, completed in 2011. I went through yet another round of beta readers and another round of queries. I got a few query replies and blog contest nods, but the response was disappointing.

I didn't really want to shelve The Charge, but I was discouraged and decided to at least move on to something else for a while. So, in late 2011 and early 2012 I wrote a completely different novel (but that's a whole other story). I was feeling very excited about this new novel and was about to start querying it, but then something unexpected happened.

The publishing industry moves slowly and I'm not very patient. So, I had moved on before The Charge had really gotten a chance. I hadn't thought about The Charge in a while, then I learned that it had made it through the first round of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. Then, a month later, The Charge became a quarterfinalist. I didn't move to the semi-finalist round, but I did win a very positive Publishers Weekly review.

My success in the ABNA contest made me rethink everything. The expert judges and the Publishers Weekly reviewer thought it was great! The agents who read my query may not have fallen in love, or thought they would have trouble fitting it into the correct marketing box, but that didn't mean the book wasn't worth publishing. So, with my renewed confidence, I tried something new, I queried small publishers directly.

It didn't take long at all for me to get some full requests, and in about a nanosecond in publishing time, Curiosity Quills Press made me an offer.

Curiosity Quills Press: Literary Marauders

I have to admit, I was thrilled but also discombobulated. Things had happened quickly and not the way I had expected. I had no agent to help me negotiate the contract. Even after lots of research and consulting with friends, there was no way to be 100% certain that I was doing the right thing. But my gut told me it was the right thing to do, and I know I made the right choice.

My journey to publication was long and often painful, but I believe it all happened for a reason. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

I'll save my last post for Saturday, my release date, so come back to help me celebrate!!

In the meantime, you can check out The Charge on Facebook and Goodreads.


Katie Teller said...

Sharon! I love this!

Trekelny said...

Yes, a wonderful tale. Any epic fantasy author like me has to love that things took ten-plus years! More satisfying that way. And one more brick in the wall of the astonishing rate at which trad-pub seems to get it wrong- though in your case, it all seems to have worked out for the best. I am really, really unsure why anyone would want to be an agent these days... nothing but trouble, seems to me. Congratulations, Sharon!

mshatch said...

How exciting it must have been to finally get an offer! I guess sometimes good things DO finally come to those who wait :)

Sharon Bayliss said...

Thanks for your comments! I agree, I like to think of my publishing tale as an epic journey. :)