Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Big Deal

Some months ago I posted that an opportunity had come up, a big one, one that I was very excited about. Back in October I was on maternity leave from my job at the puzzle factory and had just gotten back into subbing agents with my YA fantasy Elixir Bound.

This was the first full novel I had ever written. Back when I first thought I had "finished" this manuscript, I started sending it out to a few publishing houses, mostly to editors I had met at conferences or ones I had been following online. I got a few bites (and waited a very, very, very long time to get a heartbreaking rejection from an editor I would have loved, loved, loved to work with), but nothing came of them. I put the manuscript away and worked on a new project.

Time passed and I started thinking about that YA fantasy again. It just so happens that this manuscript was very close to my heart, originally written as a way to mourn the death of my sister. Then it became more than that and I was hooked on writing. I attended a seminar with an agent who offered a ten-page critique. She like the pages, offered some very good advice on revisions, and wanted to see the whole thing after I worked on it. She was very kind and praised my writing, but ultimately passed on offering me representation.

Another close call. The manuscript was better than ever. I was ready to start submitting hardcore. But not to editors. The world of kidlit publishing had changed since my first round of subbing and most editors wouldn't even look at unagented material and even when they did, it took forever to hear from back, if you ever did hear back.

I said to myself, "No more submitting to editors. I am only going to query agents. That's the route I want to take to publication." So I did a ton of research to find the right agents. I wrote, rewrote, and rewrote my query letter. I had other writers critique my letter and rewrote some more. Finally I started subbing. Again, there was some interest, but no offers.

Then I gave birth to The Boy. And that brings us back to maternity leave and subbing to agents...only agents. Somehow, though, I ended up on the Muse It Up Publishing website. I did some research, heard some good things about this Canadian e-book publisher. They had a buzz about them. I broke my rule and sent in Elixir Bound.

A few weeks passed and I got an e-mail from Lea Schizas, the founder of Muse It Up. She wanted to publish Elixir Bound! A myriad of emotions overwhelmed me. I was excited, shocked, nervous. I still had no agent, but one offered to take a look at the contract for me. She said, "Go for it!" And I did.

You'll be able to buy your very own copy of Elixir Bound for your Nook, Kindle, PC, or any other e-reader device in August...of this year! I first conceived of a there-and-back-again tale of two sisters nearly ten years ago. It took a very long time to get to this point of publication, and now it's moving very fast.

My son will grow up most of his life knowing his mommy is a published novelist. My sister will live on in the pages of a story, my story, our story.