Saturday, October 22, 2011

Once Upon a Time or How I Got an International Publishing Contract

Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up on a farm and loved nothing more than books. She dreamed of writing a novel and, maybe someday, finding someone who liked it enough to publish it.

Unfortunately, my life wasn't a fairy tale. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I queried and queried and queried. Rejection, rejection, rejection.

But then an amazing thing happened. My friend, Karly Kirkpatrick, turned out to be my fairy hotchickwriter (because if I call her a godmother she will probably rip me in two). She told me about this thing called epublishing and then sprinkled fairy dust on me. It worked. I was hooked! Then, with GP Ching another rockin' author from SCBWI-IL, we formed DarkSide Publishing! The we brought on Angela Carlie and Magan Vernon! Could life get any better?

Yet, to be honest with you, I still felt like I lacked validation. Did I need it? No. But it's nice to get it.

Then one day, I got a message from some random dude named Mark Williams. He told me how much he loved Anathema and asked if I would write a guest post for his blog. It turns out he was half of the outrageously popular Saffina Desforges writing team. They are bestsellers in the UK with their debut novel, Sugar & Spice.

We struck up a friendly relationship and at one point I thanked him for telling me how much he liked Anathema, particularly because he had nothing to gain from it. Mysteriously he kind of fell of the face of the earth and I barely heard from him again. Odd, that. Mark lives in Africa and I thought maybe he'd been eaten by a lion.

A month or so later, I happened to see this post. Go ahead and read it. I had a Sally Field moment: "He likes me, he really likes me!" It was a little embarrassing. Luckily nobody saw it but me. I felt like I finally had some validation and it felt good - I won't lie. I emailed Mark and asked him why he didn't tell me about this before the big announcement. He reminded me of what I'd told him a few months ago, about how his praise meant a lot because he had nothing to gain from it. Mark was afraid I would think he was trying to get a piece of my publishing pie.

I laughed. Really hard. Seriously, how could anyone take this as anything other than a compliment? Not only did a HUGE UK bestselling writer love Anathema, but he took inspiration from it to start a new epublishing business. Um, wow! (He's probably already made a bajillion more dollars, pounds, whatevs, than me if Anathema could help him...I'm the one with something to gain here because in the last six months I think I've sold ten books in the UK.)

So, I think you can guess my big news. I've signed on with his new company MWiDP to have my ebook published and promoted in the UK, Germany, and France. I haven't been this excited about publishing or my future in it for a long time. So, thank you to Mark and his partner Saffina Desforges. You guys have made my year. I hope this partnership will be long and fruitful! What I doubly love about this arrangement is that it's so non-traditional. One of the best parts of epublishing has been blazing new paths with like-minded writers. A year ago, I wouldn't have believed any of this was going to happen.

Mark has all of these amazing ideas about my books and has been a great sounding board. He really listens to my feelings about Anathema and how I think it should be represented. Then he'll surprise me with ideas of his own - and, seriously, he has some awesome thoughts for how the Cloud Prophet Trilogy will be marketed.

One odd thing about Mark, though. I've never seen a picture of him. He lives this really mysterious life in Africa (he's told me tons about it ... so cool). I want to add him to my collage of British guys I adore, but I don't have a picture to steal a face from. So.....I did my best. ;)