Hello gentle reader and fellow writers,
This week I have been hearing a lot about a British teenage writer who got a 6-figure book deal in less than 2 years. As dreamlike as these publishing stories are, I wanted to highlight another author’s story today.
Rae Carson is a YA High Fantasy author whose first book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, came out in 2011. It was a nominee for the Andre Norton Award and the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. It was also an ALA (American Library Association) Top 10 Best Fiction for Young Adults honoree in 2012. The second book in The Fire and Thorns Trilogy, entitled The Crown of Embers, is coming out on September 18th 2012. Her third book, The Bitter Kingdom, will be published in 2013. In June 2012, she sold a new romantic fantasy trilogy set during the American gold rush to HarperCollins’s Greenwillow Books.
Rae’s journey into publishing is interesting because it was slow. She became serious about writing back in 2004, and it took her 7 years to get a book published. Along the way she sold a couple of short stories, wrote a first book which is still in her drawer, then in 2005 she wrote the first draft of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. She got an agent, and never sold the novel to a publisher. So she revised it and decided to go with another agent, who managed to sell the book within 24 hours. It took then another couple of years to have the book sitting on bookshelves in bookstores.
Here is what Rae says on her website:
“I graduated college with a degree in Social Science–which qualified me to flip burgers–and a mound of education debt. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Well, that’s not true. I did know. I wanted to be a novelist. But that just wasn’t practical, and I had to come up with something else. I had to have a Plan B. So I tried bank tellering, secretarial work, customer service, inside sales, substitute teaching, data entry, logistics, and even machine shop-ing. I didn’t enjoy any of it.
In 2004, after quitting a very high paying job in a very toxic atmosphere, I decided to get serious about writing. It was the only thing I kept coming back to, the one thing that had held my interest over time and distance and lots of life change. So I joined the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror where I met my future best friends, my future husband, and my calling.
I spent the next few years happily writing awful stuff. During this time, I got to know C.C. Finlay online, and after going on three real-life dates, I moved from California to Ohio to marry him. The writing became a lot less awful, and eventually I sold my first novel to Greenwillow/HarperCollins.
Hindsight is easy, I know, and writing about the awkwardness of adolescence is way easier than living it. But I can say unequivocally that although growing up is hard, it’s totally worth it. It’s possible to become your better self. And dreams, no matter how impractical, are made to be pursued.”
So do you find this story inspirational? Do you believe the traditional route to publishing is too slow? Or does it guarantee great books from great authors for readers? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comment section!
To write this post, I have used:
My ROW80 update for this week:
this week I have tried writing a short story AND revising my WIP The Last Queen. The reuslt is that I have a unfinished short story and I’m late in my revisions. So for the last week of this round, I need to focus on revisions.
How are you other ROWers doing? Here is the Linky to support each other!