You’ve written a book! That’s fantastic. And now you’re at the point where it’s all polished and shiny and ready to be out in the world.
Which means you’re facing one of two scenarios: you’ve signed a contract with a publisher who will be releasing your book, or you’re getting ready to self-publish your book baby. Either way, you’ve got a Launch Season ahead of you, and that’s both exciting and scary!
So, what do you need to have a successful launch? Aside from an awesome story (which we know you have since you’re at this point), you need a plan. But don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds!
SP:Hey Gillian! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen. 🙂 Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing?
Thanks for having me here! Growing up, I always had a book in hand, whether I was doing chores, climbing a tree, or riding my horse. (Yes, my sweet old horse let me read on his back while he grazed.) My older sister and I would act out our favorite stories, which morphed into creating our own characters and plots for our play time in the woods, which eventually morphed into writing down those stories. So, the transition between reading to writing felt like it happened naturally, and I always had a story that I was working on. But it wasn’t until I was in high school and stumbled across an author’s blog that I realized authors were normal people who wrote books (as opposed to strange and magical creatures) and maybe I could be one. That’s the moment the dream sparked! What kept it alive was the hope that I could tell stories about characters like the ones that had shaped, encouraged, and inspired me growing up!
Fun fact about me? Just about every pet I’ve owned (other than my horse) has had a literary name of some sort—most of them from the Lord of the Rings.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the news. Traditional publishing took a one-two punch from 2020. Already over-worked, skeleton crew publishing teams faced even more layoffs and had to scrap much of their 2020 marketing plans when all in-person events—including the now-defunct Book Expo and Book Con—disappeared for the foreseeable future. Indie publishing didn’t fare much better in 2020 thanks to paper shortages, supply chain breakdowns, and even their #1 fans being so stressed out that they didn’t have the attention span to read a recipe, much less an entire book.
I’m self-publishing my debut novel, THE WATER CHILD, in March 2021! And has it ever been a journey! I started this book almost 10 years ago. I queried, won contests, found an amazing agent in Kaitlyn Johnson, had positive feedback from publishers, and now I’m self-publishing it as my debut.
Well to answer that I’d have to go into why I wrote THE WATER CHILD which you can read about here. Or the mini version: This story started on a horrific day, March 3, 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami struck the coast of Japan near where my in-laws were living. I didn’t start out trying to write a book about the tsunami, but I’d learned how to deal with PTSD from other events in my life like 9/11 by writing. The writings from that year turned into a book after critique partners read a short story I wrote and encouraged me to turn it into a novel. Now that novel, after 10 YEARS, is finally going to be in my hands and hopefully in yours as well!
SP: Becky, welcome! We’ve been dying to hear from you! Wow, you got TWO book deals in TWO weeks! That’s practically unheard of. Tell us, what’s your secret???
BD: Thank you for having me! It was definitely a wild two weeks. I guess the secret is to keep writing, be patient, and have lots of books on submission! My agent has sent out four novels over the last couple years, and throughout the waiting, I keep writing something new. It just worked out that we heard back on two books at the same time, from two different publishers!
Pen friends, if you’ve spent much time around here, you know how much we love the writing community! One of our favorite ways of learning and growing within that community is by participating in contests and mentoring opportunities, and today we are thrilled to chat with one of the founders of Author Mentor Match, the lovely YA author Alexa Donne!
*The current round of submissions for AMM is open now through October 24th, so if you’ve been looking for a mentor, now is the perfect chance to apply!
SP: Welcome, Alexa! We’re so excited to have you join us. Can you please tell us a little about who you are and what you write?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I am Alexa Donne, a YA science fiction & fantasy writer whose debut novel, BRIGHTLY BURNING, will be coming out from HMH Teen on May 1, 2018. It’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, set in space. Continue reading →
Curious about the publishing world? Wondering if there’s a place for you in it and how on earth you’ll find it? Good news! Here’s the promised follow-up (aka all the meaty good stuff) to my article introducing publishing programs. So prop your feet up, drink something cold, and enjoy all the research that you don’t have to do.
After years of editing, critiquing manuscripts, and story coaching, it dawned on me that some people get paid for that and those some people are in the publishing industry. With that revelation fueling my google searches, I began my hunt to break into the publishing world.
I was surprised at how little information I could find.