Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why I'm Deciding to Self-Publish

My big announcement.

THE post.

I have to admit I've been avoiding it. I avoid a lot of things, especially the big stuff. I've hinted at this decision for a while now, but I came to the conclusion last weekend that I really just needed to make it official.

Except for my three books in the Auri Series (published through Spencer Hill Press), I'll be exclusively self-publishing all of my work.

Now here comes the big question everyone asks (and admittedly, I've been obsessively reading all the "why I decided to self-publish" posts for the past few months, eager to see if anyone had a better reason than mine that I could latch onto)...


Why? Why?? WHY??? Am I nuts??

How many people get to say a publishing company came to them?? How many people have such great opportunities and amazing people literally thrust on them??

These are questions I asked over and over and over. I couldn't believe I was actually considering it. It honestly wasn't in my "to-do" list of ways to get to the top of the publishing community.

And I know I had the big "why I love self-publishing and this is why I'm doing it post" a couple years ago, but I lied.

There. I said it. I finally admitted it to myself a few months ago and I'm admitting it to you now.

I. Lied.

A few years ago, despite everything I might have told you, I saw self-publishing as just a new way to get to the big six. You literary agents rejected me? Well, I'll show you!

My goal was ALWAYS to get a major book deal with a large publishing company. If I had to publish my own work to get there, I'd do it. I may not have said this out loud to you, my close friends, or even myself, but deep in my heart, this was my goal.

And then Spencer Hill Press made an offer out of nowhere. Holy freakin' cow! Amazing. I have been soooo blessed. I'm not going to skip around that fact. They have been a HUGE blessing. And honestly? (because I know a lot of the these posts come with admissions that publishing with a press didn't turn out like they'd hoped) My experiences with Spencer Hill Press should have absolutely solidified my goal of moving up in the publishing companies.

They have been nothing short of brilliant. I have loved every moment with them. Every time I meet with my editors or talk to them online, they've done everything to encourage me and improve my craft. Based on their treatment of me, I should naturally have submitted another work, gotten an agent, and published another series with them. And believe me, I wanted to badly. That was my next step. I was going to take it last September. It was all worked out.

And then I got an inkling.

Something was wrong.

Not with them, but with me.

I finally admitted to myself that I was a different person and a different writer than I should be because of my goals.

I'm not horribly different. It's not like a split personality thing where you'll wonder where this Emily came from, but it's different enough. I started to get uncomfortable.

You see, I'm a conservative, young Earth creationist Christian/ Speculative fiction writer and I've been hiding that fact.

I think (I HOPE) I've proved already I'm not the nasty stereotype people like to picture when they read those words up there.

And I'm not saying my writing is going to get offensive or derogatory or even controversial. Elemental already completely encapsulates all of my beliefs. In fact, most of my writing does. I think that's true for all of us. We are our belief systems.

I've always been me, but I haven't always been brave enough to admit it out loud. And I've decided to self-publish, not because of any stumbling blocks I got from any publishing professionals, but because of me and how I made myself feel I needed to hide.

And like I said, the writing isn't going to change at all. My feelings about myself are going to change. My goal isn't to be a writing wonder anymore. It isn't to get a big six figure deal or to rock the community with my amazing words.

It's just to be comfortable being me. And to write what I love.

I hope you'll like my books and celebrate with me as I announce the future (summer) release of my first self-published novel:

My YA Contemporary Fantasy:

Fourteen-year-old Lilly Grey exists in two worlds at the same time. She just doesn't know it.

As the only albino in a million mile radius, Lilly is used to being different. Pink eyes and white hair aren't exactly the best camouflage in the harrowing jungles formally known as high school. And yeah, she's used to being an outcast and seeing the world in a slightly different way, but she never guessed how literally "different" applied to her.

Not until a clan of shape-shifting dragons tell her she's not just albino. She's a unicorn and the only mortal alive who can live on both Earth and its antithesis, Morcah. Now all those times she thought she saw a floating brown blotch in the sky or eyes peering out at her from the bark of trees make sense. She's been seeing Morcah, a land that exists in the exact same spot as Earth, just in a different phase.

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows for this unicorn. As the only one who can live in both phases, she's also the only one who can bring Morcah--and all its inhabitants--to Earth. And creatures who've been trapped on Earth since the Dark Ages are willing to do worse things than kill to make that happen.

Put it on your Goodreads list.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My First Major Convention

It was pretty wild, pretty crazy, and...

pants were optional.

Not even kidding.

I'm a "to each his own" kind of person, but I have to admit I was a bit shocked to come face to bare butt with someone in the process of bending over to pick something up.

And I realize that if I were the blogger you guys deserve I would have posted about my experiences LAST WEEK, but you are too good for me and I have failed yet again. :o

For those who have never been to a con before, I do suggest you plan it, and I DO suggest you plan on dressing up. You are going to miss out on the whole experience of instantly connecting with complete strangers if you don't wear something a little geeky. Plus, dressing up is awesome and it makes you awesome.

Dressing up = awesome, therefore you = awesome if you dress up

This is my blog and my math works out perfectly because I said so.

This is me trying to be awesome, but obviously failing in Jennifer Allis Provost's presence.

Oh man, I need more coffee. I've literally been looking at this screen for ten minutes, wondering what to write next. Sooo...let's blame this on Monday.

Come back on Wednesday. I have something soooo much more fascinating to talk about. Well, I think it is, anyway. It's a HUGE announcement. 

Happy Monday, everyone! Drink coffee. Make sense.

Not like me.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pod People Episode 22--what I did on my Christmas vacation

Here's the latest episode of Pod People (the podcast in which Victoria Caswell and I attempt to amuse you with our great wit and musings):

 In this week's episode we discuss the craziness that has been transpiring while we've been on hiatus--- also,man meat. 

 News Links:
multi-platform SPIRIT ANIMALS project 
skype classroom visits
JUST ONE DAY promotional plan
SPLINTERED interview
John Green- 4 books on top 20 NYT's best-seller YA books 
DIVERGENT film casting

Emily Links:
Primps & Pretties on Etsy
Primps & Pretties on FB 

THE CONTRACANTOS by Kate Hattemer 2014

Like Pod People on facebook and follow us at our blog!

Have a great Monday, everyone! I'll be on and off the internet today. One of the kiddos is sick, so I'll be pretty occupied. But leave a comment and I'll get to them as soon as possible. Plus, comments pretty much make my day. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dirty Laundry Not Welcome

I have to preface this post with the assurance that I'm one of the lucky ones. I have been VERY blessed with amazing co-workers at SHP. I seriously have some of the best editors ever. And all my brother and sister authors at SHP have been soooo friendly, soooo supportive, and instant friends.

I had to preface with that in case you guys start thinking this post is full of *winks* and *hint, hints* about my professional life with my publishing company. It's not even close.

But it is full of cautions because, sadly, I've come across some blog posts and facebook updates over the years with professionals airing their dirty laundry about people they work with.

And I mean work with closely. Not the distant cousin of a blogger you emailed once a few months ago. Or something along those lines.

I'm talking about editors complaining about their authors (even if no names are given) in public, on a post. Or authors complaining about their editors not emailing them back immediately in public, on a post.

Here's the shocking reality you need to come to terms with if you haven't started working with a publishing company yet (and of course there are exceptions. Like I said, I'm one of the lucky ones and I've met a few authors who really have wonderful relationships with their editors, too): It's a job and like any other job out there, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

And honestly, be reasonable, too. Being upset because your editor hasn't replied to your email five minutes after you sent it? They work hard and have long hours, many of those being taken up with replying to the hundreds of other emails they get. You are a priority, but you're not a five minute priority.

Now ignoring the unreasonable expectations, let's say you have legitimate reasons to be concerned. Talk to the person you have an issue with. In private. Don't let everybody else see your dirty laundry because the result may be a lack of respect for you, not the person you were complaining about.

During my training in the Army, one of my Drill Sergeants gave some of the best advice I'd ever gotten. We'd had a problem with a few of the soldiers not getting along and, of course, they aired their dirty laundry for everyone to see. Well, in the military (and especially during training), EVERYONE gets in trouble when issues like these arise. She pulled us aside and said, "Look, do you honestly thing all us Drill Sergeants get along?" Honestly, we did. They acted like best friends when they were around us. "No, we don't. But we don't bring that stuff out in front of you."

Wow. I'd already respected the heck out of them before, but now I had a new appreciation for everything they did.

And that's just it. No one will want to work with an organization that can't get its stuff together. No editor will ever want to work with you if you have a habit of complaining about the people you work with.

Now, I'm not saying go out there and start smoozing up to everyone you work with and hope to work with in the future. Be real. People can tell when you're fake, too. But show respect for your coworkers. They're people with feelings and they usually feel like working at a better professional relationship with you if you're not complaining in public all the time.

That's my tip for the day. :) And I realize that I'm saying this to people who know all this already, but hey, it needs to be said as much as possible.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's Okay to Ignore Those Critiques. No, Really.

I'm going to say something really unpopular.

Are you ready for it?

There are some critiques you can tell to go kiss your butt. And online fly-by-night critique forums are 98% useless.

Now, don't go out there and start telling a bunch of people who were just trying to help you out that they're wrong and you're right and Emily White told you so.

But DO feel free to fantasize in your own mind that you're telling a certain critique to go walk the plank and imagine all those words swirling around like yummy little alphabet cereal.

Because guess what...

Unless you're getting a critique from a trusted alpha or beta, the person (who is most likely the sweetest, most selfless person ever) doesn't know enough about you or your writing style to give you worthwhile advice.

Now, I'm not talking about grammar mistakes or glaring problems that are easy to pick out.

What I am talking about is the nitpicky stuff. The stuff that a person picked out because it's a critique forum and they want to be helpful, so they really go searching for something, ANYTHING. The stuff that essentially means, "Well...I wouldn't have written it this way."

This is why the fly-by-night critique forums full of people who are there for a week and you probably won't ever meet online again are 98% useless. The 2% of helpfulness comes from the fact you get a chance to meet people who could potentially become your trusted alphas or betas.

And believe me when I tell you that I am absolutely, 100% guilty of giving really bad critiques in forums like these. Like everybody else, I was just trying to be helpful.

But as the years have gone by, I've realized something. You really can't give good advice unless you've read several pages and gotten a good handle on the writer's personal style. The only help you're going to give is helping that writer come up with a cookie cutter version of a novel.

And though there are very wonderful, important rules to crafting a novel, the amount of variety writers can come up with is far more vast than cookie cutter advice can come up with. There are rules to painting, too, but you can tell one artist's work from another. We should be able to do the same with novels.

I joined one of those forums about a year back (the kind that's there for a week as part of something bigger) and a writerly friend of mine joined as well. At the end of the week, and after getting a lot of different forms of advice, my friend wrote a very sad blog post about how he/she thought that he/she should just give up on the story.

The story is brilliant, readers. Brilliant.

And those are the critiques that should be ignored. Instead of seeing how brilliant the story was, all everyone saw was how it was different and not how "they" would do it.

Critique is good and open, accepting minds are great, but get your critiques from people who know you and have read more than the first page of your work.

But don't be rude to these fly-by-night critiquers. They really are trying to be helpful. Take to heart what is useful, but silently (so silently you're the only one who knows it) ignore what is not.