My publishing career has been short, but I hope for it to extend into my many years to come. It was always the road for me, but it took quite a while for me to realize that. Writing was natural to me, from a very young age. English was the only class that made sense to me; the only place where I excelled. Homework was not a thing I typically enjoyed, unless it was an assignment involving a short story written for my English classes.
As many lives tend to go, other interests took hold, grabbed my attention, so writing as a serious career went on the back burner. I’ve performed magic professionally, been a traveling actor, directed short films, and many other things, but Writing was always there. It was always a silent passion. And I could rely on it.
After the “normal” college years passed me by (while I toured across the country with a theater troupe), I finally decided to go back to University so I could fulfill my underlying passion for the creative field of writing. I finished with my degree on the Dean’s List, but as I stepped off the University grounds, my lovely diploma clutched in my hand, I realized that I had no clue what to do with that piece of paper.
How does a writer actually make a living?
There are various ways you can do it, from copy writing on, but the only avenue I truly wanted to take was that of the novelist. Oh, that’s a good one.
It’s a long, complicated road to take, but I wanted to do it. I quickly learned all the things about professional writing that they don’t teach you in school. Query letters, agencies, publishers, etc. If you’re a new writer with no publishing credits, than you aren’t getting a publishing contract until you finish a book, and even once you complete a novel, you’ll be lucky to get a contract. When you hear of a big advance to a new author or a writer making it big after a book or two, those are what you associate with the “norm” of publishing. Those tales of immediate success are trumpeted so loudly that you can’t help except think that it’s possible, that you could be the one.
The reality is that those are few and far between. Stephenie Meyer and JK Rowling are the exceptions. Their stories–not to detract from their unique talents–are like lottery stories.
But as I sat down to write my first book, a Young Adult Fantasy called Patrick Patterson and the World of Others, I believed that I would be one of the exceptions. My belief, though, is just not enough. Right when I completed PPATWOO, and I began my arduous trek toward hopefully getting published, I began to read about Amanda Hocking, John Locke, and the gateway of Amazon.
These stories intrigued me, to be sure, but I was still set on the traditional route. As I sent out query letters, certain that mine would be like the golden ticket, I began to research the possibility of self-publishing and the steps necessary to pursue it. I started a blog, registered with Twitter and Facebook, and attempted to form relationships with book bloggers.
I still waited, though. I waited to hear from the agency that would sign me on and make my dreams come true.
Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen. I sent out forty or more query letters and heard back from perhaps fifteen or so. They were all rejections. Very nice, complimentary, but still rejections. I don’t know what the secret is to garnering an agent’s attention or their excitement. I do know that they receive hundreds, if not thousands, query letters each week. Agents get a percentage of the books they sell, so I can only guess that an untested author is much harder bet to make than one with publishing credits. The cards were stacked against me. It’s probably a lot easier to just send out form rejections in response to the mountain of query letters on an agent’s desk, rather than actually sift through to find that one amazing manuscript.
So, rather than work for years in hopes of eventually getting that Big Publishing Contract, I only waited a couple of months before making the decision to self-publish and taking my new career into my own hands. Shortly after doing so, I came across Ravencrest. For my thoughts on this transition, please go to the Ravencrest blog. Dave Lyons, the man behind Ravencrest, has kindly posted a blog I wrote regarding the publishing climate and how we came together.
I am very hopeful for the future of my small book. It’s a wonderful read, if I do say so myself, full of adventure, intrigue, and excitement. As Dave Lyons recently tweeted, “Move over Harry Potter!”
There’s a new kid in town, and his name is Patrick Patterson!
About Patrick Patterson and the World of Others:
“A match was struck in the distance, bringing light to what was otherwise darkness.”
And so begins the story of Patrick Patterson…
For almost thirteen years, he’s lived a quiet, simple life in the tiny town at the edge of Texas, called Farwell…with big dreams and small hopes…Suddenly, he is whisked away by a rag tag group of warriors and others across the United States to discover his true identity and a destiny clouded in mystery.
Never in his wildest dreams did he think that he’d walk through an underground city filled with citizens from across the universe, contend with powerful enemies from the edge of the galaxy, or travel to the Arctic Circle on a high speed train.
Now, he must decide what he truly desires and whether he even wants to take up the mantle of hero…or alien.