It’s been a busy and eventful few months for me, and as a result I haven’t had time to update my blog! Which means I have a backlog of news that I really should have posted here, but if you follow me on socials at all you probably know what’s going on. Here’s a little round-up!
I’m a 2020 Pitch Wars Mentee!
In my last post here, I talked about how my Pitch Wars experience felt different. Well, it was about to get REALLY DIFFERENT. I couldn’t talk about it then, but I got two requests in November. (One was on my wedding day, 10/10/2020!) And then…
With all the political turmoil going on in the U.S. after the election, I almost missed the Pitch Wars announcement when it dropped. I had the announcement date fixed firmly in my head as November 7 and was determined to “think about it tomorrow.” I’d forgotten that PW usually drops their announcements early.
Then Ren tweeted her announcement minutes after the official blog post went up, along with the above gorgeous aesthetic for GALATEA’S PARADOX, and my notifications started blowing up.
I…what? How? WHAT?
After staring blankly at the list of mentee names, screaming incoherently on Discord to my CPs and writer’s groups, and confirming that yes that WAS my name listed, I finally got myself together and post an actual acknowledgment and thank you like I knew what I was doing.
A few days later, I had my mentor call with Ren, who had a TON of fabulous ideas for my book and we were off and running. But as if that wasn’t enough, DURING my mentor call, I also got something else. And that thing was…
An Offer of Publication!
This summer, while I was buried deep in revisions of GALATEA’S PARADOX and prepping for Pitch Wars, I was also querying and pitching my urban fantasy, CAMBION’S LAW.
I workshopped my pitches with an amazing community of writers on Twitter and Discord, and I don’t think I would have had the success I did in PitMad without their advice, retweets, and moral support.
When I got a like from Heather McCorkle, an editor at City Owl Press, I was pretty excited. I’d seen her MSWL posts and knew she was looking for books like mine–urban fantasy with strong romance B plots. But I also knew she mostly acquired shorter books, which is why I hadn’t put her on my query list. So I quickly sent her a tweet asking if she was open to longer manuscripts, and she said yes! I fired off my materials to her within 48 hours, but I didn’t really think anything would come of it. (I tend to use a “fire and forget” strategy when it comes to querying. Distractions are key when you’re waiting for responses! And I had a whole other book to revise.)
Heather sent a request for full about a month later. I had just submitted GALATEA’S PARADOX to Pitch Wars and was deep in wedding planning by that time, so again, I did a quick once-over of my manuscript, which I’d line-edited earlier in the year, and then fired-and-forgot. Everything was happening at once that month and I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the implications. I think my mentor sent her request for my full of GALATEA’S PARADOX the day after I sent Heather my full of CAMBION’S LAW so I was juggling A LOT.
If I were to do all this again, I maybe should have focused on one book at a time, but I can’t argue with the results! After some emails with Heather, who was very transparent about the process and what an indie press could offer for my book, she told me she was taking the book to acquisitions…again, the same week of Pitch Wars announcements and the November elections. EVERYTHING AT ONCE.
After checking in with Ren on whether it was ok for me to accept a book contract and continue with Pitch Wars (it is if you are publishing without an agent!) I ended up signing my contract for CAMBION’S LAW in early December.
Why I chose to move forward without an agent
I had queried CAMBION’S LAW with some agents, but agents willing to represent urban fantasy are few and far between these days. After talking with some other authors in my writing Discords, I learned that urban fantasy is a hard sell to the Big 5 publishers these days. Markets are fickle but as a long time reader of UF, I know that readers are still hungry for it!
I definitely thought hard about whether I wanted to move forward unagented, but I had a lot of great support from my mentor and my community in assessing the pros and cons. In the end, I decided that I had secured this deal myself and I wanted to lean into that opportunity. I still plan to seek agent representation for future books, starting with my space opera, which has more of a Big 5 market right now (fingers crossed it doesn’t change too fast!)
Everyone’s publishing journey is different and I’m thrilled to be starting on mine. There are some challenges in publishing with a small press that I might not face with an agent and a Big 5 powerhouse behind me, but the reality is that even with a large publisher, authors are responsible for a lot of their own publicity. To that end, I’m working on upping my social media game on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
New Authorgram and Facebook Page!
In addition, I’ll be taking over the Pitch Wars Insta on Saturday, January 9 to share a Day in the Life of a Pitch Wars mentee. My fellow mentees have been setting a high bar for Insta stories so I will have to bring my A-game!
Check out my team interview with Ren on the Pitch Wars blog!
That’s all for now, folks. I’m hoping to do a post soon on my Pitch Wars experience, if time allows! It’s been so wonderful (if exhausting at times) and I’m learning so much.