A few weeks ago on Twitter, there was a tag floating around–#authorstats–to help show aspiring writers and authors some of the realities of publishing. I did answer the questionnaire on twitter, but even with the new 280 character limit, it wasn’t enough space for me to really get in-depth, since, like a lot of writers, my path to publishing didn’t really go in a straight line.
Some of you might be familiar with bits of this story if you’ve been following the blog for a long time, but I hope the writers out there will find this interesting nonetheless.
- How long have you been writing?
I started telling stories in kindergarden, and wrote my first short story in first grade over Christmas break. While I had a few pieces published in school magazines or other small publications, I wasn’t professionally published until 2012, when Torquere put out my short Birds of a Feather (check my bibliography if you’d like to read it; like everything else from Torquere, I’ve re-released it since they closed).
- How long did it take you to get an agent?
I am still unagented at the moment. I started querying when I was thirteen, and sent out sporadic queries through high school and college, but didn’t start querying regularly until about 2013, which is when I discovered QueryTracker.net, which made things SO MUCH easier than trying to sift through the thousands of entries in Writer’s Market. So far I have “trunked,” or set aside, one novel that was not getting responses and am slowly revising it yet again. Between that and the novel I’m currently querying, I’ve gotten a total of about 135 rejections.
- How long did it take to get your first contract?
My very first contract (for something other than a short story) was in 2013, and it was for a knitting book. A month later, the publisher decided to dump the project with no explanation.In 2015, I submitted THE SPIDER’S WEB to Torquere. They already had all of Missouri’s books, and Evie’s books overlap into her Night Wars universe. Torquere happily took them on, and the first book came out in May 2016. Unfortunately, they closed six months later.
- How many manuscripts did you write before getting your first deal?
At some point between the first deal falling through and Evie being accepted at Torquere, I shelved that first book that wasn’t getting any bites on the query. I also finished the first draft on the book I’m currently querying. I also started several others, but I don’t recall the exact number or what order they were in.
- Which number manuscript was your first deal?
Technically, THE SPIDER’S WEB was the first manuscript I started that ever reached novel length. However, seven years passed between the time I started it and when it came out with Torquere. In between, I wrote at least two more novels, start to finish, but I also did seven complete rewrites of TSW, not counting the revisions with my Torquere editor. So if we’re going by start date, it was #1, if it we’re looking just at date completed, it would be #3. I did send out 2-3 queries for that other manuscript just to test the waters, but didn’t get a good response and have since decided it needs more revisions before I can do anything with it.
So there you have it. I hope if you are pursing publishing, that this information has been helpful, and I encourage you to look up the original twitter conversation. And a big thank you to Caitlin LaRue for asking these questions.
This also seems like a good time to mention that I’ve recently made changes to my Patreon page. Most notably, anyone donates $20 or more per month will be able to download all of my novels (current and forthcoming). Higher level subscribes will get things like signed paperbacks every year. The more you subscribe, the more books you get!
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