Or, Confessions of an Author Four Years After Best Day Ever
Four years ago on this day, The Vicious Deep was published. It was my debut novel. I was 24 and had accomplished the dream of publishing before I was 25. I don’t know why that’s a dream, but when you’re young and there’s one thing you’ve wanted to do your whole life, it needs to happen ASAP.
The Vicious Deep is still the book of my heart. It’s a book I wanted to write because it was the book that I wanted to read. A friend and I were browsing through a bookstore, and I said, “I wanted to read a different kind of mermaid fantasy.” And he said, “So write it.” Like, duh.
That’s it. That’s all it took.
I’d written two novels before this. One when I was 17 and got rejected because what did I know about life in general? At 28 going on 29 I still feel like I know nothing, but that’s another blog post. Back then, my query letter was better than my actual novel. If Yoda had been my mentor, I would’ve left him like Luke did even though maybe I wasn’t ready ,?even though I felt like I was.
Then at 19, I wrote another novel. This one faced the “we already have a book about a Latina coming of age.” That was my first brutal awakening when it came to publishing politics. The good thing is that, even if they weren’t publishing my Latina coming of age, they were at least publishing someone’s Latina coming of age. Even if, like the Highlander, there can only be one of us at a time.
I didn’t write for a solid year after that.
I know. Sadness. “Don’t let The Man keep you down” and all that. I felt like I had stories inside of me. Even now, with 7 traditionally published books under my belt, I still have this paralyzing fear that my stories don’t belong because I don’t belong.
Spoiler alert: I wrote again eventually.
I wrote the book that had been waiting for me my whole life (20 years at the time). Tristan Hart isn’t perfect, but he’s mine. In a totally non-creepy way, of course. There’s a lot more to be said about my publishing journey.
Sometimes it feels like the days and years blend together.
Sometimes I can’t remember if an event was last summer or three summers ago. Maybe everything happens in the exact way it’s supposed to. Maybe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. If you’re ever feeling like you’re lost in the Galaxy of Publishing, I want you to remember that you are not alone. That’s what’s helped me a whole bunch. In the past four years, I’ve made lasting friendships, met incredible readers, learned from brilliant editors, and wrote HALF A MILLION WORDS. Half a million words = seven brain babies.
If you can’t appreciate that when you hold a novel you hold the carefully sculpted creation that was born out of someone’s squishy brain, then I don’t know if I can help you.
Back to books and writing and anniversaries.
Books have their own journeys. I thought it’d be cool to show you guys some of the older cover comps for The Vicious Deep.
WE HAVE ARRIVED!
There are some things that never change after your first book. I’ve had these feeling with each one:
- You’re always nervous during a book launch. Always. Maybe that feeling changes when you’re Stephen King. I’ll have to ask him.
- You always feel insecure when you’re drafting. I’m not the kind of author who feels 100% sure of their first drafts. I bask in self-loathing until I edit for the diamond in the rough.
- You’re going to make mistakes. Take this as you will.
- You alternate between thinking you’re genius and shit at the same time.
Going forward I want to try some new things like:
- Write more. Write freely. Write something just for you. I’ve been writing a lot. I haven’t finished a novel a month yet, but I’ve started different ones. They each bring me a different kind of happiness.
- Don’t compete against others. Our writing journeys are totally unique. Compete against yourself if you must, but envy will get you nowhere.
- Tweet and Facebook less. The time you spend on social media can be spent writing. I know it’s hard.
- Be gracious. Publishing is a rollercoaster. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, and sometimes both of those things happen in the same day.
- Julie Murphy wrote a great Facebook about this. “Always say thank you.”
- Be good to your readers.
Speaking of readers!
I’m giving away a complete set of The Vicious Deep trilogy PLUS an ARC of my upcoming witchy fantasy, Labyrinth Lost! All you have to do is leave a comment and record your entry on the Rafflecopter below.
Rules: leave a comment and record your entry on the Rafflecopter below. After that, you can score other points!
1. Leave a comment and record your entry on the Rafflecopter below. Mandatory for entry!
2. You can get bonus points by adding Labyrinth Lost to Goodreads, tweeting, and adding me on the listed social media platforms.
3. Entries will be verified, so make sure you record your entries on the Rafflecopter.
4. The winner will be chosen on May 12th! Contest ends May 11th at midnight!
5. A digital ARC and digital books will be gifted to international winner!