Monday, March 11, 2013

MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY by Carrie Butler

I can't remember when I first met Carrie Butler (sadly, we're not related, nor are either of us related to Gerard Butler), but I think she left a comment on my blog one day, and so in response I visited her blog. Immediately I liked the feel and appeal of her site. I don't generally have time to check archives, but I did on Carrie's blog. Needless to say, I was hooked, and we've been blogging buddies ever since. Carrie is warm, intelligent, adorable, and not afraid to be honest with herself and her writing. I've learned a lot from her. 

At any given time, if you stop by Carrie's blog you'll probably find her shouting out about another author, someone she admires and respects. Now it's our turn. Carrie is currently doing a book tour for her first novel STRENGTH, an adult paranormal romance, now available from Sapphire Star Publishing! She's stopping by today to share the condensed version of her publishing journey. 

If you're not yet published, pay attention to Carrie's resiliency and determination. When you work hard for something you yearn for, when you believe in yourself, dreams do come true. And as Carrie would no doubt agree, a little stubbornness doesn't hurt. 

Take it away, Carrie! 











My Publishing Journey



Thank you so much for having me, Joylene!
One of the things I've always enjoyed about your blog is its ability to inspire. You've been so candid about your experiences, and many times, your words have kept me going. So, today, I'd like to offer your readers my own brand of encouragement.
In February of 2012, I began to query my New Adult (NA) paranormal romance.
I know it doesn't seem like long ago now, but it was an entirely different era for the category. The industry had built up this stigma—scoffing at college-aged protagonists and insisting writers age them up or down to fit the mold. Hardly anyone would consider New Adult fiction.
Fortunately, amid a slew of "NA isn't a thing" rejections, I received a partial request from someone at my dream agency. It didn't work out in the end, but the back-and-forth encouraged me. Maybe I did have a good story. Maybe it truly was the concept—the label—that was hindering me. So, what could I do about it?
I had two options: I could either compromise the integrity of my novel, or I could find a new path.
In May of 2012, I decided to query a few small presses. Believe it or not, within twenty-four hours, I had two full requests. Talk about a one-eighty. These editors were undeterred by the risk of trying something new. They were hungry for great fiction and more than a little avant garde. Things had finally started to look up—for a little while.
Let's fast forward.
The morning before I received an offer from Sapphire Star Publishing (SSP), I received an R&R from another respected publisher. Awesome, right? Not so much. I respected this editor, and I did appreciate the time she put into reading my manuscript, but her feedback hurt. It wasn't the usual sting of rejection, either. By that point, I'd built up my rhino skin. It was the condescension in her words—more potshots than critiques—that got to me. It made me doubt my writing, and even worse, it made me doubt myself.
I spent the day in serious contemplation. How much longer was I willing to suffer for this dream? Could I afford to keep pursuing it so actively? What if the heart I put into this manuscript was forfeit?
You know what they say, though. "It's always darkest before the damn." A little after midnight, I received an email from SSP. The email. I did a happy dance, called my family (out of bed), and spun around in my desk chair.
The funny thing was, if I hadn't taken such a blow before that, I might not have been so appreciative. Heck, I might have weighed the situation too long and missed out on a beautiful opportunity. So, relish your setbacks, my friends. They just might be setting the stage for something better. :)



Title: Strength
Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing   
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013
Available at: Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Nook. More retailers will be added in the coming weeks, i.e. Sony Reader Store, iBookstore, Kobo, etc. Be sure to keep an eye on my Pinterest "Retailers" board. I update it whenever STRENGTH pops up somewhere. :) 



About STRENGTH

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.


 
About the Author:

 
Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

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55 comments :

  1. Small presses are more willing to take a chance. Glad you stuck it out and found the right path for you, Carrie.

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    1. Absolutely. I'm a big fan of small presses. :) Thanks, Alex!

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    2. I agree with you, Alex. Carrie inspired the rest of us with her sheer determination.

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  2. Hi Joylene and hi Carrie,

    Yes, it's me, a starstruck fan of the both of you fine ladies. And such bloggy love I'm sensing here.

    Determination and your resilient nature will provide much inspiration for those who might be thinking their dream will only be just a dream. Yes, you both inspire and you have my total respect and admiration.

    I've seen Carrie's book featured on a number of sites and this is clear demonstration of the sharing, caring ethos we embrace. Kudos to you, Joylene for sharing your site to bring further awareness of "Strength". And no, I'm not going to mention, yet again, that I was okay having myself featured on the cover. Would I do that? LOL, eh!

    All the very best to you both and happy writing.

    Gary

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    1. Gads, Alex, you just reminded me, I forgot to mention how zany Carrie is.

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    2. Hi Gary,

      Thank you for the kind words! You're right. Determination plays such a key role in the pursuit of our dreams. It's not the easiest thing to keep up, but it's well worth it.

      Oh my goodness, yes. This community is fantastic about sharing each others' news. I second your kudos to Joylene. :) And hah! Yes, we would be remiss to not mention your body-doubling career.

      Thanks again!
      Carrie

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  3. Good on you for hanging in there, Carrie. I can relate to you -- not only to knowing how great Joylene is, but also to your publishing story. I had no luck with agents for my paranormal thrillers and quick luck once I turned to small publishers. Then the first interested press wanted a main character changed. Editors thought he worked as is, but the owner HATED him. And not in a good way. It bothered me, but I knew I wouldn't change him to suit her. Then a day or two later another publisher, Regal Crest, sent me my first "the" email, and I became published. Yay.

    Strength sounds great. Glad it worked out so well.

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    1. It was pretty awesome being along while you went through all that you had to, Keith. You know you've always been my hero. Thanks for stopping by and checking out Carrie's book. Isn't she adorable!

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    2. Wow! It does seem like we have walked a similar path, Keith. I'm so happy you found a publisher that worked out! :)

      Thank you!

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  4. Some editors be trippin'! :) Sadly, there are many, many people in the world that care more about perceived bottom lines than what readers want. I love reading about publishers who support good stories and good authors--demographics and markets be damned.

    Carrie, you're a rock star in the making, so go forth and rock! :)

    EJ

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    1. That is so nice to say, Elizabeth. Thanks for visiting.

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    2. Yeah! SSP is definitely one of those supportive publishers. :)

      Me? Please. You're the rock star here, making this many blog stops. Thank you!

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  5. It does seem to break when you are at your lowest!

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  6. Congrats on the book release! I've been wondering about small presses so thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Sara, I too published with a small press. They've treated me wonderfully. Thanks for visiting.

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    2. Thank you, S.P.! You should definitely give small presses a try. :)

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  7. Personally, I'm glad you chose the path you did. I love being your pub-sister! I believe everything happens for a reason. It's what we take from it that matters. Never doubt your abilities, Carrie. You are an awesome author and that editor lost out on an incredible opportunity. Bad for them, Good for us!!

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    1. Good for us, is right! Thanks, Nancy.

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    2. I love being your pub-sister, too, Nancy! <3 Thank you so much!

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  8. Tenacity of a bulldog. Way to go, Carrie. It gives the rest of us hope!

    Hi Joylene!

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  9. Yours is an inspiring story, Carrie. I'm glad your determination paid off. I suspect small presses are willing not only to take more risks, but also to work harder to make sure the risks pay off.

    (And yes, I think Joylene is pretty special, too. She's such a great supporter and encourager.)

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    1. Thank you, Carol! I think you're right. They'll go the extra mile to earn their success and reputation. :)

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  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Carrie...and thanks to you, Joylene, for bringing her to your blog.

    I didn't fare too well with a small press a few years ago—they ran out of money before anything could happen—but obviously it wasn't the right one.

    I like how you stayed the course with your NA label...do we really need more stories about teenagers? lol

    I like the idea of a college student as the protagonist. Good luck in all your ventures.

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    1. Oh my goodness. I'm sorry to hear that, Laurel. I hope you've found a better fit for your work since then!

      Thank you! :)

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  11. What a great story!
    Thanks for sharing Carrie!
    Hi Joylene! *waving*

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  12. Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing, Carrie!

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  14. You earned it, friend. Super job! :D

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  15. Potshots aren't cool, I think you made the right choice with SSP. Congrats on all your success Carrie.

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    1. I think so, too. They turned out to be such a great fit. :) Thanks, Sheena-kay!

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  16. Great interview, ladies! Thanks for the intro to Carrie, Joylene! :)

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  17. What a GREAT story. I already loved Carrie, but hearing about this journey makes me lurve her even more. :) The people who didn't take Strength while they had the chance really did lose out! Congrats on your success and new book, Carrie!

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    1. I lurve you, too, Adriana! :) Thank you!

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  18. I'm so grateful for wonderful NA authors like you, paving the way for all us readers and writers who love 20-something protagonists. I'm also inspired that you kept your faith, even in the darkest hours, and eventually get an excellent publisher. :)

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    1. What a nice thing to say, Clare. Thanks for visiting and checking out Carrie's work.

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    2. D'aww... thank you, Clare! I really appreciate that. :)

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  19. It's always interesting to read another author's journey. You're right, Carrie, we can't let setbacks stop us. The path is often very rough, but worth it in the end.

    Congratulations on your first novel. That first time thrill is like no other. Best of luck!

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    1. thanks for stopping in, Laura. Hope things are going well for you in Nova Scotia!

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Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.