Well, I'm writing a post I've wondered sometimes - over the years - if I would ever write. I'm absolutely ecstatic to announce that my novel Catskin has been contracted for publication by Clean Reads, formerly Astraea Press! *And there was much rejoicing*
Anyone who's friends with me on Facebook or follows my blog will know that I've always envisioned myself as having an 'old school' sort of route to publication, agent first, then publishing, all that. However, the truth is, I have an excellent support system of family who are knowledgable in meaningful ways (IT brother in-law, etc.) and two amazing critique partners, Christi Corbett and Margo Kelly. Christi is a Clean Reads author herself, so I've gotten to watch her own journey to publication with them, which provided me with a wonderful insight into how they work, and how they care about their authors, and their authors' careers. I trust them. So I submitted to them, and subsequently, I've signed a contract with them. *pinches self to check that this is real*
After a long string of 'almost' rejections (and some amazing feedback from one agent, without which Catskin would not be the book it is now) I took a step back and looked at my life, and realized that basically, I was doing what I've often joked about, and likened to Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed prom scene. I was standing on a curb holding a sign that said 'Please believe in me and my writing' and waiting there, frozen, until someone came along who would, and who would then take me across the street, where we would meet someone else to say they believed in me and my writing and help me publish a book, and introduce me to more people, and so on and so forth. I was waiting, convinced that I needed to meet all of these people in a specific order, when really, I was perfectly capable of crossing the street and meeting all kinds of people, in call kinds of order, all on my own.
Don't get me wrong, I'd still love an agent, and might well get one in the future. But the thing is, I was waiting to start a journey because I'd convinced myself that I had to start it in a specific way. This is something Christi and I have talked about before. I just needed to get to a place where I could embrace 'stepping out into traffic' to begin the journey on my own. And here I am.
If you haven't heard of Clean Reads, here are a few links. Check them and their authors out! Maybe buy a few books while you're there...
Their website can be found here.
Their Publisher's Marketplace info can be found here.
Predators and Editors readers voted them one of the top E-publishers here.
And here's an interview with Stephanie Taylor, founder of Clean Reads, from 2011. Some of the information is dated, but it'll give you a great overview of what their about.
In a world of 'edgy' fiction, wherein you'll find every curse word known to society and more varieties of sex than you could ever imagine, Clean Reads provides readers with great stories without all the cursing and sex. Now, I come from a long line of Navy folk, with potty mouths the likes of which would make landlubbers melt into their shoes, and I'm not one to shy away from sex, either. However, I do believe strongly that it's becoming more a 'thing' to have in books, than it is a part of a book. When I look back at the books I still love years on, books that I still reread, most of them do not, in fact, have a lot of cussing in them (besides Stephen King:) nor do they have gratuitous sex. It's perfectly fine to have those things in books, but it's also very nice to have great stories without the cussing and sex.
Catskin, for example, naturally didn't have a ton of cursing, and no sex. That's just how it came out of me. However more than once, it was suggested that I 'dirty it up' a little with love triangles (that were unneeded) or language to 'make it more realistic' which is something that really bothered me. A good story doesn't need these things unless they add to the story. There are thousands of amazing people out there who don't cuss, and they're very real. I've got friends who write erotica. I've read plenty of erotica. Same with cussy books. There are some very cussy characters whom I love. I'll always stand by the right to cuss! However, it's just not always needed. And when I pick up books off the shelf and encounter a plethora of curse words within the first few pages, well, they aren't books I want my niece reading, and while she's just five, she's already had Tolkien, among others read to her, and she's going to be a voracious reader. I want books that she can read, and enjoy, and remember at a young age, without having to explain what curse words mean, or vetting the books for sex scenes.
So, here we are. I have a contract to publish a book. (!!!) I'll post more as timelines are firmed up, but sometime in 2016, summerish, Catskin will be here!
Okay, back to pinching myself to make sure this is real...