I am coming to you as a failure.
Now, before you berate me, or beat me over the head with “all the way I am great,” let me explain. When I started this publishing journey 4 years ago, I had literal stars in my eyes. I knew very little about writing and even less about publishing. All I knew were the books on the shelves at my local book store. I wanted that. I wanted my name nestled between bestselling authors I admire.
With little to no experience in writing (I was still flailing around, learning, FINALLY joining a critique group), I dove in, head first.
And I settled.
I sent one book off to a small publishing house. I can’t say exactly that I have regrets, because this was a learning experience. I’m still learning from it. From there, I self-published, impatience getting the best of me. Having control over every aspect of my writing was enticing. It was fun. I loved designing covers and learning how to format. Still, with every publication, I saw those dreams of having my books on the local shelves dwindle. Disappear.
I told myself it was because I suck at marketing (it’s true). So I shelled out cash for Amazon ads, Facebook ads, book tours, Netgalley, paid promotions, giveaways, and contests. I spent countless hours scouring the internet for marketing strategies and attempting to create graphics that would sell my books (I’m not so great at this, either). I watched my time spent writing (and my MONEY) dwindle. Disappear.
The fact is, young adult is an extremely hard market to sell when you’re indie. Sure, people do it, but it’s like winning the lottery. You have to be in the right place at the right time and be wearing your superhero underwear. Then, MAYBE, the chances are about as equal as getting struck by lightning.
If it seems like I’m frustrated, it’s because I am. Have the past 4 years been for nothing? Of course not! I’ve met people, my writing has grown by leaps and bounds, I’ve had a lot of fun with readers and traveled to some cool places to sell my books.
Financially, trying to sell my books is killing me. With my family expanding, I can’t continue spending ungodly amounts of money earned at my day job to market my passion. It just can’t happen. Not to mention, my creative time has massively suffered from spending so much time trying to sell my books to everyone and anyone who would listen to me. It’s like neurosis, and I need to be free from it. And why would anyone spend $2.99 on an ebook when there are MILLIONS (LITERALLY MILLIONS) of other writers just like me stuffing FREE EBOOKS down everyone’s throats. Everyone wants something for nothing, and I just can’t work like that anymore. It’s too stressful. Too demeaning. And I need to be paid for my time.
See, here’s the thing. I am an artist. I create worlds for others to enjoy. I’m like the cook at the restaurant who builds you the perfect meal. I am like the mechanic at the auto shop who listens to your car clunk and knows exactly what magic will fix it. I have studied. I have learned. And I deserve to be paid for my services.
This isn’t entirely about money. It’s also about time (which, as the saying goes, time is money). I haven’t lost sight of my dreams. I still want that little (or BIG) space on my local book store shelf, and to achieve this, I can’t keep splitting myself in two. I must either be indie, or I must be traditional. Trying to be both makes each side suffer too much. Either I don’t have enough time to write or I don’t have enough time to market.
And this time I’m choosing me.
As of now (because I always open a window when I close a door), I’m shutting that indie door. This may not be forever. It may just be a hiatus that allows me to focus on my writing. It may be permanent. I just don’t know at this point.
What I do know: I’ll have more time to write, and more importantly, this singular focus will be a major relief.
What I need from you, dear readers: Support. I’m not going into hiding. My books will still be on sale. If you read them and loved them, tell a friend. Loan a paperback. Leave a review. Leave reviews for every book you read. Support authors. Stop expecting things for free. (Yes, I know it’s hard to hear, especially when so many of us authors are so desperate to get our work out there. But you wouldn’t expect your gourmet meal for free, would you? Or that magic mechanic? Of course not.) However, (as ironic as this is), I do have one more scheduled promotion for Reflection Pond coming up August 22-24 where the ebook will be free for kindle. Tell all your friends.
Lastly, I need your patience. The traditional publishing world moves at the speed of a snail crossing the desert in the midday sun. I don’t know when I’ll have news again. It may be next week. It may be in 2 years.
I hope you’ll stand beside me as I enter this new phase of my publishing career, and that you’ll still be here when I find that space on the book store shelf.
All the best,
Just minutes after hitting publish on the final installment of the Reflection Pond Series, Torch Rock, I received calls for MORE. (Okay, maybe minutes is an exaggeration, but it didn’t take long!) These requests are of course exciting but also daunting. The good news is that I already had some “more” written in the form of outtakes from the original Torch Rock novel…and “more” good news is that I already published the first outtake and am working on a second.
Ash & Ember features scenes from the middle of Torch Rock, just when things start getting sticky. Initially, I intended to write the conclusion to the Reflection Pond Series using four point of view characters, Ash, Ember, Rowan, and Callie, but Ash and Ember’s voices were drowned by the strength of Rowan and Callie’s story. (Which surprises no one, I’m sure.)
However, they still deserve their fifteen minutes of fame! (Just check out that amazing cover created by the ever impressive Julia at Bioblossom Creative.)
Abandoned by their friends outside of the City of Honor, Ash and Ember fall into Elm’s hands.
*This Torch Rock Outtake should be read after Torch Rock (The Reflection Pond Series, #3).
So what’s next from the magical world of the fae? I’ll give you a hint.The next outtake will happen post-series, and feature a certain brooding winged faerie we all love…AND the faerie he loves. *Be still my heart.*
If you haven’t caught up with the series yet, never fear, I have a link for you! Recently, the entire series has been added to Kindle Unlimited for your convenience. So, go! Read! And don’t forget to leave a review.
All the best,
Let’s get right to the point: I NEED YOUR HELP.
Stepping Stones is nominated for the 2016 RONE Awards hosted by InD’tale Magazine. The only way to win? Fan votes. Yes, you. YOU decide my future.
You only need 3 things to vote.
- You must register for an account on InD’tale. This takes only a few seconds and allows you to vote in any of their competitions. Do so HERE.
- You must select Stepping Stones from the YA Paranormal List. It’s at the top of the list in the third category! (And, I mean, you don’t HAVE to choose Stepping Stones, but it would certainly warm my little heart!)
- SHARE this with everyone you know. Votes are the only way to win, and while I like to think I’m surrounded by a plethora of people at all times, it might be a slight fabrication of my mind. Share your friends with me! And in turn, share me with your friends. Well…this got awkward.
Do a girl a solid. Help Stepping Stones win and I’ll love you forever.
All the best,
History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera
Available: January 17, 2017 from Soho Teen
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Adam at BEA this year. He was by far my favorite signing. He’s personable, humble, and so SO kind. If you ever have a chance to meet him or go to a signing, DO IT. He’s SO GREAT.
I should note that out of the 140 ARCs I picked up from BEA, History Is All You Left Me is the one I chose to read first. Because, it’s Adam Silvera guys. And his writing is gold.
History Is All You Left Me follows Griffin, a seventeen-year-old boy from NYC who has just lost the love of his life. Twice. Theo was Griffin’s first. First love, first sexual encounter, first everything. The early stages of their relationship is remarkably sweet and will leave the reader full of butterfly feelings.
You know from line one that this book will rip your heart out in the best possible Adam-Silvera-imagined way. The writing is raw, gritty, and impossibly real. The characters are written so beautifully flawed that they could be anyone. I’ll admit it, I wanted to cry from page 13 on.
Take Griffin, for example, our OCD narrator. He suffers from compulsions that force him to count things (in even numbers) and always walk or sit to the left of someone. What I like about him is that he’s imperfect, but through the other characters, we see how loveable he is. This seems to be a direct representation of life that anyone (especially those with low self-esteem) can appreciate. Though we are flawed, we still deserve to be loved. Throughout the book Griffin struggles to overcome his compulsions which leads to tons of anxiety. I loved the patience and concern the other characters displayed for him, even though sometimes their well-intentioned actions were not at all what he needed.
The characters make mistakes. Many, MANY mistakes. Sometimes I found myself hoping they’d make more, just because I knew I’d do the same thing in the same situation. Adam Silvera is remarkable in that way. He can boil down every human emotion and infuse it in the tiniest details until it’s powerful…almost a character in its own right. It will leave the reader with a profound sensation of being understood, something I’ve never really experienced in books until Adam Silvera took my reader heart by storm.
History Is All You Left Me is not a happy story, but it is a hopeful one. Silvera doesn’t shy away from anything—not sex, not mental health, not socioeconomic issues. He writes dangerously, which is perhaps why we love him and exactly what the contemporary YA genre has needed all along.
5 GIANT stars for History Is All You Left Me.
I sit before my computer in a confusing state of satisfaction and sadness. The earliest files in my hard drive for Reflection Pond date back to early 2012, though I think the actual writing started in 2011. There are dozens and dozens of files, if not hundreds. In the grand scheme of writing, four or five years for three books is not a long time, I realize that, but those years defined who I am as a writer. I began the series scared, uncertain of my own capabilities, and I’ve emerged from the other side more confident, more sure of myself and the risks I’m willing to take in my stories.
Today is the release day for Torch Rock, Book 3 in the Reflection Pond Series, the final installment of Callie and Rowan’s story. Much like me, the characters have gone on a journey to find their strength, to heal, and I’m deeply satisfied with this ending. I hope you, my readers, find it just as enjoyable as I do. I’ve already been asked if I’ll ever return to Callie and Rowan’s world, to expand on the secondary characters in the story, to follow the seeds of possibility I left strewn throughout the final novel. The truth is, I don’t know. I do have some bonus content, deleted scenes and such that may become available at some point. But right now, the end is justified, and I like the idea of readers creating their own possible futures for Rowan and Callie. The characters we love live on inside of us, and I hope some parts of Callie and Rowan live on in each of you.
I want to thank everyone who has stood beside me as I completed these books, especially those who encouraged me and listened to my issues (over and over again for weeks, months, and years). You know who you are. Thank you to the bloggers, reviewers, and every fan who has contacted me. Your support and enthusiasm always puts a smile on my face. Huge thank yous to my early readers, ARC reviewers, and everyone who has been cheering on Callie from the beginning. A big thanks to my designer Julia at Bioblossom Creative, who always, always exceeds my expectations with her beautiful covers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The entire series is available on Amazon. If you want some music to read to, check out the playlists I’ve created for Reflection Pond and Torch Rock. And when you’re done reading, please leave a review, even if it’s just an I liked it!
I think as children we look at the world with an innocent wonder. The people surrounding us are meant to be trusted, not suspected. As we grow into adulthood, that wonder and trust is challenged by experience. We get hurt. We have our emotions taunted, our decisions questioned, and we learn that the world is not a safe place. It’s not even a welcoming place.
When I wrote Reflection Pond, Callie’s childhood shaped her character into someone I consider unwaveringly strong. She’s not flawless, but a road map of scars from every experience that nearly broke her. Nearly being the imperative word. She’s a survivor, she’s cautious, and though she’s suffered terrible abuse, she still holds that childlike wonder that the world, in general, isn’t a despicable place.
Throughout the series, Callie’s fragile trust is challenged. She learns that family is not synonymous with love and sometimes friendship come from the most unlikely of places. Most importantly, she realizes that trusting others is nowhere near as important as trusting yourself. I won’t give away the ending of Torch Rock (which releases April 26th! Preorder here.), but I will say that Callie in the final installment is miles away from the scared girl who fell through the Reflection Pond.
Callie’s character is based in part on my own experiences. I’ve seen betrayal firsthand. I’ve breathed it and lived it. It took time and no small amount of tears, but I found a way to drag myself off my bathroom floor and overcome devastation. There isn’t a recipe for climbing out of an emotional hole like that, you only have to have the determination to know that this isn’t the end. After all, if you’re reading this you’ve already survived every bad day you’ve had. Look at you! 100% success rate.
A lot of people have said they can’t relate to Callie or connect with her. Perhaps this has something to do with her horrific past. Violence and abuse leave marks on you. Though hidden, these marks admit you to a private survivors club. Maybe relating to her comes with a price. Maybe I’d rather you couldn’t relate.
I’m proud of Callie. I know that readers love a strong female character, someone who takes no shit and kicks ass. But Callie isn’t that character. Sure, she can fight. Sure, she has cool faerie powers. But Callie’s real strength comes from her unwavering belief that she will find her place in this world, no matter how many times she has to pull herself to her feet.
I think, at the end of the day, regardless of our differing pasts, that’s all any of us hope for.