Crazy, right? I've basically been jumping up and down ever since I found out. (Seriously, my legs hurt.)
The ironic thing is that my last post was about inspiration author success stories. I wrote it just as much for me as I did for you guys, because (let's be honest) we all need some writer motivation from time to time. But I never in a million years thought I would be writing my own publishing story less than a month later. That's crazy talk!
So I hope you will indulge me while I share a bit about my path to publication.
WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is my first completed novel. I've written other things throughout the years, but always abandoned them at some point because they just didn't feel like they had that something special. But Stairs felt different. From the moment I dreamed up the idea, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I ended up finishing my first draft in just under 3 months. Of course the current version looks nothing like that first draft thanks to the amazing input I had from beta readers and critique partners, but it was a start.
I queried Stairs in small batches on and off for the last year and half, taking breaks to make revisions based on input from Betas. When I received responses they were generally positive, but my overall response rate was lower than I expected. I couldn't figure out why until an agent gave it to me straight. It wasn't my query that was the problem - it was my genre. The market was too saturated with paranormal stories, and agents were hesitant to take on yet another paranormal project.
I didn't think I'd written a traditional paranormal story, but because there are paranormal elements I was lumped into that category. It was a heartbreaking notion, because it meant the story I loved so much might get passed over simply because of the genre.
I anguished over what to do. Keep querying, or shelve the story for a few years in the hopes that the market might change?
It was around this time that I met the wonderfully amazing Kristy Shen. We were both working the contest circuits and I thought her entries looked fantastic, so we decided to become crit partners. We started swapping chapters on our latest WIPs. I was hesitant to get any more crits on Stairs because I wanted to focus on my latest and greatest project, but Kristy offered to read it anyway.
After reading it, she asked if I'd considered submitting directly to publishers open to queries. It was something I'd thought about, but nothing I'd actively pursued, and after some encouragement from Kristy I decided to submit to two houses. Couldn't hurt, right?
One day later, I received a full request from the first publisher.
A few days after that, I received a full request from the second publisher, and an offer of publication from the first.
Then the next day, I received ANOTHER offer of publication from the second press.
In less than a week I'd wrangled two offers of publication, when only a month before I'd seriously considered shelving Stairs. To say I was reeling is the understatement of the universe.
Both opportunities were incredible, but my gut kept pointing me to Month9Books. It felt like the perfect home for WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS, and after a chat with Georgia McBride I knew that was the family I would join.
It's been a long journey, but an incredible one. Of course I would never have gotten here if it wasn't for the unbelievable support from the writing community. A huge thanks to the lovely ladies of Thinking to Inking - Jenn, Triona and Lauren - as well as all the amazing beta readers who gave the early drafts of Stairs a read (Margie, Suzi, and Tamara, to name a few.) And of course a huge shout out to Kristy Shen for encouraging me to submit to Month9Books in the first place. *reaches across the computer to give her an enormous hug*
The moral of this story is to keep writing and never give up. There will be bumps along the way, but that just makes the victory that much sweeter. And of course make sure you have a good crew of writer friends in your corner - they're what makes the journey worthwhile. :-)