I wrote my first novel in 2003. It was amazing, beautiful, creative, unique… and terrible.
I didn’t realize that for quite some time, sadly, and I tried to query agents with it. I received enough rejections I could have fashioned them into a respectable doorstop. At that time, queries were still sent out via US Mail, and a SASE, or Self Addressed Stamped Envelope had to be sent out so that the agents could shove a photo-copied rejection paper into it and mail it back to you.
I wrote my next novel when my son was a baby, predominantly at Panera Bread, and thanks entirely to a supportive husband.
If possible, it was even worse.
I should have quit writing.
I should’ve given up.
But if you’re a writer, you can’t do that. Your fingers itch, and your mind dings you over and over until you try again. It’s like my neighbor’s parrot who kept plucking its own feathers. You can’t help yourself. Over and over, head against a brick wall, you keep writing.
My third book was markedly better. (And, incidentally, titled MARKED.) It got me an agent, and I thought I’d made it. Because we all know that with as amazing as our writing is, it’s just the gatekeepers standing in the way of our fame, money and accolades.
Except that book wasn’t quite good enough either. It went to something called “Acquisitions” at a publishing house, but ultimately wasn’t purchased.
I wrote two more books, and shopped them too. They also went to the cursed “Acquisitions”, and were also ultimately not purchased.
I wrote three more books. Yes, you heard me right. Three more. And then I lost my agent. She left her agency and left me back at square one: querying.
Except this time, I had met some friends. People whom I admired, and they were… *gasp* self publishing. I decided that although I had eschewed it for a long time, perhaps I should look into it some more.
I queried while looking into self publishing. I received 32 full manuscript requests off of 75 queries on the same novel. (Book Six, if we’re keeping track, a book my agent never even saw.) And then the glowing rejections on the book began rolling in. They’d sold a book that sounded too close to mine. They loved the first 95%, but hated the ending. They loved the voice, the characters and the plot, but didn’t love my structure. They liked the ending, but didn’t connect with the character. No consistency, no rhyme or reason. They all asked to see anything else I’d written. I should have jumped on sending them one of my other SIX books.
By the time I’d heard back from half of them, I was kind of done waiting. Even if I sold one of my books to a traditional publisher, I’d be hard pressed to do two books a year. Most traditionally published authors only do one a year. I’d also have no control over my cover, my blurb, or my marketing. Someone else would do it for me, but if they didn’t do a good job… I was stuck. With only 10% of my book’s sales coming back to me, it wouldn’t make monetary sense for me to spend much time self promoting.
Self publishing was starting to look better and better. I began making friends. The process is time consuming and scary. Hard and risky. Expensive to do right. I recoiled in horror! What do I do?
After a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to give this a try. I’ve been working on books two and three of my first release (you only ever write the first book in a series before you shop traditionally because they’ll always want significant changes and you won’t want to overhaul book 2 & 3 until you know what those are!)
I’ve paid for three rounds of edits on book one, and I’ve drafted book two. I’m working on book three, and waiting on the first edit for book two. It’s an exciting time and I am moving forward to prepare for releasing my new book babies into the world. If you’d like to hear about my new releases and developments as they arise, please join my newsletter. You can find it by clicking on the home page below to sign up! Thanks!
Lacy Shelton and her sister Hope couldn’t be more different, despite being less than a year apart in age. Lacy is captain of the debate team, poised to be Valedictorian of the high school and waiting for an admission letter from Yale any day. Hope is captain of the swim team, but will be happy if she gets into community college.
Hope has taken everything Lacy ever wanted, from pacifiers to high heels. But Lacy won’t let that happen again, not this time. She won’t let Hope take the new guy in school, and she sure as heck won’t let Hope ruin her chances with Yale. Until a shocking death changes all of Lacy’s plans. Now stuck in a court-mandated psychiatrist’s office, she’s forced to relive the months leading up to the tragedy to determine whether Hope will take her future, too.
Alternating between Lacy’s and Hope’s points of view, Already Gone pieces together a tense puzzle of sisterhood, betrayal, mistakes, and ultimately forgiving someone who can be gone in a blink.