It's official. My novel, titled THIS FLAME OF GOLD, will be released by Inkyard/HarperCollins next year! (See the announcement here). I couldn't be more thrilled. It's been a long journey and I'm so happy that you will all get to meet Karis and Alix, Dane and Zara, because I put a lot of my heart into all of them.
However, through all this celebration, I've also had a lot of time to reflect on my many failures over the years. I think too often (and especially on social media), we only see other people's successes. When they sign with an agent or get a book contract or land on a bestseller's list. For most of my writing journey, I'd see these announcements and feel demotivated, because I assumed I was the only one struggling like this. That if I hadn't gotten published yet, I clearly wouldn't, because all of these other people had achieved it so much quicker than I did.
But that wasn't true, of course. I simply wasn't able to see their journeys. And recently I've been glad to see authors come forward to talk about their journeys, because no writing career is failure-free. So I thought I'd take a moment to tell you about mine.
I became serious about writing eleven years ago (that's right... eleven). Looking back now, if I knew it would take me this long to get where I am now, I'm not sure I'd have had the patience or courage to go through with it (good things come to those who wait... or something).
In that time, I wrote nine novels (that's right... nine), to some measure of completeness (they all at least had a completed first draft--all but one got at least one round of editing). Of those nine, I queried five.
I wish I still had my querying stats for my first few novels (present Emily weeps at past Emily's lack of organization). I will say though, that just with the last two, I was nearing 100 rejections. One of both my highest and lowest points at the querying stage was when I got thirteen requests from a contest, and not one offer of representation among them.
Then I did get an offer, and I signed with my agent. She is such a fabulous editor and a wonderful person, and she made my book so much better than it was before. I was both nervous and excited when I finally went on submission to editors.
And then the book didn't sell, and it was even more rejections. However, it was also easier this time, because my agent was there to encourage me, and it's always easier to believe in yourself when someone believes in you first.
So I sat down and wrote THIS FLAME OF GOLD (lucky number 10?) and after even more rejections, it sold. I was never that author whose book went to auction, who had agents clamoring to represent me. But in the end, I didn't need that. It only takes a few people to champion you, to sign your book and to sell it. And I was lucky enough to get that.
That's my very quick overview of my publication journey (up until now), both the good and the bad. Hopefully in the future, I'll be able to go a bit more in depth on some of these things. In the meantime, I can't wait for you all to read my book, to meet my characters.
And for anyone who hasn't found that person to believe in them, just remember that the world needs your story, because only you can write it.