2014 – The Year That Was

2014 was a pretty eventful year for me – I had 2 book releases (Earthwalker and To lean on falling Men) and a promise for a third. What I mean by that is I had finally finished my first ever dystopian which had taken 6 months to write and edited it profusely for a few months. I had constant rejections until I was accepted by a known publishing house. All was good for a while. My book was to be released in August 2014 and I was really enjoying the editing process. I had a good relationship with my editor and things were looking up.

Then one morning I received an email from the CEO of the company informing me the rights had reverted back to me and my book was returned. What on earth had I done? Apparently I had refused certain edits with my editor (which I hadn’t) and my book wasn’t YA when they had in fact signed me up knowing my MS was New Adult.

I was furious with this company’s behaviour and disappointed. I had wasted all this time corresponding with them and refusing other offers. Though there was a silver lining. The book had extensive edits and 100% better than before, so I kept plodding along. After a few more months of rejections I ended up submitting to my current pub who accepted after reading the first 3 chapters. I was happy the book had found a home as it took all my blood, sweat and tears to finish it. Though I was still bitter with the original publisher. I dug deeper and discovered this company is known for cutting ties with authors if sales weren’t successful.

With all this drama going on, I had started a new job and began writing my next WW2 WIP Unspoken. Things were finally looking up. But as usual life gets in the way. I quit my job after having a pretty traumatic experience and put my WIP on hold.

My passion for writing wilted. I fell into a dark place and even questioned if there was even purpose to write anymore. Who was this person I had become? I found work pretty quickly again and was finally happy. I continued writing my WIP while preparing for my next release To Lean On Falling Men.

In July, I lost my job (go figure) and fell into my seventh month of writing my WIP. It was proving to be the longest length of time to finish it and I was wondering if it would ever be complete. During this time, I started research on my first sci-fi novel just to give my head a break.

In October, Unspoken was finally finished it’s first draft! I couldn’t tell you the weight that was lifted. It was hindering me – I couldn’t go on without finishing this book.

The events of the year was something I never anticipated. They tested and challenged me and made me a better person and writer. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – it was truly my mantra for 2014. As the year came to a close, I felt I had accomplished a lot.

Unspoken is now finished, ending its beta stage and currently in submission. I hope to find a good publisher or even an agent. For a nice end of year surprise, I received a check from my publisher with a surprising amount!

I am very hopeful for 2015 and hoping it will be a successful year. Have a prosperous 2015 to you all!

Earthwalker for only .99!

Earthwalker will be on sale for only 99cents on Amazon for one week from July 20- 27th. Pick up yours at  a discounted price and let me know how you enjoy the story. I love hearing from my readers!

Publishing advice

When I tell people I’m a published author I usually get the typical ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’, but to me, writing a book is normal. It’s been such a massive part of my life that I see it as the norm. So when new writers ask for publishing advice I try to give them the best I can. Recently my grandfather asked me to contact a friend of his who was looking at publishing a non-fiction book. I was flattered that someone of his age was seeking advice from a twenty something.

Here is what I told him:

Note: Before you read this, the text is of my own opinion and experience and representing no one’s views but my own.

I’ve had three fiction books (soon to be more) published traditionally over the years. I’m not an expert at it but I hope I can provide you with some good advice. Ian informed me it was a non-fiction book you were looking at getting published. Have you written it? If you have and you’re content it’s completed, I suggest having someone who’s not affiliated with it, such as a friend or work colleague, read over it. Beta readers are great because they can offer fresh ideas and suggestions you normally wouldn’t think of yourself.
I haven’t written non-fiction, and the submission process is a little different but I hope I can help either way. There are two routes you can take: self-publishing or traditional publishing. I’m not sure if you have looked at either, but self-publishing has become quite popular, but it is pricey. You do have to pay to have your book published. I used Zeus Publishing in QLD. I paid at the time $2200 to have my book published, and it didn’t sell. That’s a risk you take, but I also didn’t do any marketing. Traditional publishing is free (you never have to pay a cent to have a book published). Be aware of vanity publishers. These companies pose as traditional publishers, but have secret fees that catch you. Always read the site carefully. They provide false hope because they pretty much take anything – bad or not, so beware. If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is.
There are many non-fiction publishers in Australia, but they are generally hard to get in to, unless you have an agent. I suggest you look at an agent if you wish to publish traditionally. Visit http://pred-ed.com. This site has a network of global publishers (non-fiction and fiction) and agents as well. The site also warns writers of bad apple pubs and agents. I’m afraid people learn the hard way and get burned. It’s a good site to have bookmarked.
There are some good Aussie publishers who don’t need an agent, such as Pantera Press, and I believe New Holland. I went overseas for my books. My publishers (I have 3) are based in USA. If you do chose an overseas publisher, particularly in the US, please be aware of their tax laws. You will have to go to the IRS and get certain forms. I got an ITIN (which is hard to get) but its like a tax file number for overseas writers. Don’t let this dishearten you. For your first book, I do suggest looking at an Aussie publisher to minimize this hassle. Google ‘Australian non-fiction publishers’ and it will come up with a good selection.
When you do come to selecting a publisher, I suggest to keep note of all the ones you submit to. It’s not uncommon for some publishers to take weeks or months to get back to you (I’ve waited 6 months before). Writing a book, non-fiction or fiction is a long process, and sometimes it can take up to a year from the moment you submit it for it to be released. Another piece of advice I’ll give you is to read the submission guides carefully. These always take authors by surprise. They weed out people who don’t take direction. Some publishing submissions guidelines can be long and arduous, while others are short. For non-fiction, I’m not too familiar with submission guidelines but you generally need to submit the first 3 chapters, contents, why you wrote the book, what makes you qualified to write it etc.
Most publishers that aren’t Harper Collins, expect their authors to do their own marketing. Look into getting a website built, do blog tours and delve into social media. I have a little network that I use to promote, such as Twitter and Facebook. Also take the time to join a writer’s site such as authonomy.com and Absolute Write. I am on both and have met other authors and publishers. Its an excellent way to promote your book, but also be around like-minded people. Sites like Authonomy is run by Harper Collins, but they mainly do fiction novels. Absolute Write features both. Scribophile is a good one too where you can feature and provide feedback to other writer’s works.
If you have any questions about this post, please contact me. I am not an expert in book publishing and the above text is only from what I experienced.

New year, new start

After a turbulent start trying to find a home for my novel Darkness before Dawn, it has found a lovely home with Soul Mate Publishing. I am keen in publishing with them because they seem like a good house for my book, and I trust they will give DBD the exposure it needs. No release date has been announced yet, but I am hoping it will be released this year.