The Book Deal Announcement

Hello gentle reader,

I began seeking traditional publication for my YA Historical Fantasy books in March 2012. I started this blog at the same time, never imagining how long (!) and how full of surprises my publishing journey would be.

Six and a half years later, I’m thrilled to announce that the U.S. publisher Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) has bought my debut IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN and its sequel! Here is the Publishers Marketplace announcement:

EMCastellan

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN is my 7th completed manuscript. It’s the 6th manuscript I queried and the one that helped me connect with my literary agent Carrie Pestritto (Laura Dail Literary Agency). If you’re curious about my inspiration for this story, here is its Pinterest board.

If you’re reading this and you’re a writer dreaming of seeing your books in bookstores one day, I hope you’ll take heart in this post: getting traditionally published takes perseverance, a lot of work, and a bit of luck, but it can become a reality if you don’t give up, and if you keep writing the stories you love.

Have a lovely Sunday!

 

Getting published: finding your own path and going at your own pace

Hello gentle reader,

In 2010, I wrote a Sci-Fi novel and I sent it to my former English teacher with a question: “Is this good enough to be published?” Incredibly – given the poor quality of my Masterpiece – she didn’t say “NO WAY”. Instead she told me: “If you work hard and you really want this, I don’t see why not.”

So I embarked on my very own publishing journey, full of hopes and dreams. I chose the traditional route, because it was what felt like the best way for me and my stories. It still feels that way, actually.

 

Soon enough, I found other writers on the same path: people writing a manuscript, or people with a manuscript looking for an agent. I read their blog, followed them on Twitter, made a lot of writerly friends with whom I could share the aforementioned hopes and dreams.

I wrote another novel (a YA High Fantasy), found beta readers and Critique Partners, and after a year I queried it.

It turned out finding an agent who loved my manuscript was even harder than predicted.

At the end of 2012, I made the decision to shelve my YA High Fantasy and to start working on another story.

I began writing a YA Victorian Fantasy.

In the meantime, I started noticing the writing community around me had changed.

Some simply quit and disappeared, sometimes with one last blog post explaining their decision, sometimes without a whisper.

Some got an agent and later on a publishing deal, leaving the shore of unpublished writers for the land of authors.

Others got a publishing deal with a small press or an independent publisher, and saw their book come out within 9 months or a year.

And a staggering, STAGGERING number decided to self-publish.

Now, I’m not criticising the last two publishing paths in the slightest. I just know one thing: those publishing options aren’t for me. Self-publishing is way more work than I can handle, and dealing with a publisher (whatever its size) means I need an agent to tell me what (not) to do.

Three years on, and I now find myself rather lonely on my publishing road.

Out of all the writers I met online or in person in the past 3 years, many, many of them now have a book out or a soon-to-be-published book.

And I’m still walking on the path, with my manuscript in hand and my hopes and dreams with me, forever convinced I will find the right agent and traditional publisher in the end.

And it struck me the other day that maybe I’m not as alone as I think in this situation.

When you spend a lot of time around the writing community, it sometimes feels like EVERYONE you know now has an agent and/or a book out.

But it’s not true. We just hear more about those who have exciting news than about those who are STILL looking for an agent after three years.

So if you’re one of those lonely writers without news for the world, remember this:

–          Going at your own pace is fine. What matters is getting where you want.

–          Don’t give up on your traditional publishing dream because it’s slow to come true.

–          Don’t give up, period.

–          Write the best book you can, and do your best, always. Someone will notice in the end.

–          Enjoy the journey without worrying about what others accomplish. One day, you will accomplish those things too.

And never stop writing.

The Writer, the Writing Community and Dean Winchester

Hello gentle reader,

thurschilbadgejpg

this week again I’m taking part in the Thursday’s Children meme hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez. It is “a weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.”

Today’s post is a bit personal. I very seldom indulge in sharing my personal feelings on this blog, but my hope is that other writers will recognize themselves in what I describe below, and maybe find their motivation renewed by the knowledge they’re not alone in this.

So I haven’t had the best week. Lots of rejections and disappointments.

–          One of my short stories I was hoping to publish in an anthology was rejected

–          A query for my YA Epic Fantasy (which I have stopped querying since December) was rejected this week by an agent

–          I’ve started to get feedback on my WIP Lily In The Shadows and some beta readers are, well, less enthusiastic than others.

–          And no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to be able to write a catchy query for Lily In The Shadows

So yeah.

Now, I always try to stay positive. I know this publishing thing doesn’t happen overnight. I’m aware the key here is to keep reading, keep writing, keep submitting, and never give up. I don’t rant on Twitter or Facebook at the first disappointment.

But still. What a week. So I wrote an email to my CP Jessy Montgomery, who is amazing and who always knows what to say.

I was like this:

She was like this:

Supernatural - CastielAnd then like this:

Supernatural - Hug

Then I got on Twitter and this happened:

EM Castellan-Tweet1EM Castellan-Tweet2

And then I realised something. I’ve had a lot of rejections and disappointments this week. But I’ve also helped Jessy with her query. I’ve helped Allie with her WIP. I’ve helped Rachel with her street team building. I’ve helped Kate with her Twitter issues. I’ve had awesome online conversations with Lauren, Juliana, Laura, Joanna, Em, Lena, Rebekah, Emmie and Serena.

I’m part of the writing community. And I believe in paying it forward.

This week wasn’t about me and my writing. It was about everybody else’s writing and success.

Next time it might be my turn. Next time it might be yours.

But for now I have all of you and I’m so incredibly grateful for that.

Thank you.

Have a great writing week!

New Project Reveal – Part 6: Why did I write this book?

Hello gentle reader,

this week again I’m taking part in the Thursday’s Children meme hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez. It is “a weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.”

thurschilbadgejpg

In these posts, I share a little bit more about what I’ve been working on, a YA Historical Fantasy entitled LILY IN THE SHADOWS.

LILY is currently in the hands of its first beta readers, and this week I’ve asked myself “why did I write this book?” “What was the writing motivation behind it?”

Then I came across the answer in an anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy short stories I have been reading…

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells

“The enthusiasm for Steampunk has produced some marvellous, incisive writing, and some gorgeous pieces of art. But it has also glamorized the Victorian era and too often ignored the exploitation and immiseration of the working class of England as well as the inhabitants of the lands England sought to rule. The fiery, corseted heroines, the eccentric but brilliant inventors, the rakish and charming younger sons — the wealth and comfort of these few depended on the suffering of many, many people. Even the wealthy of the 19th Century suffered, of course, in an era prior to antibiotics and most of the vaccinations we take for granted today. (…) It’s easy to forget how the people who indulged in afternoon tea rituals, admired clockwork-powered inventions, and wore shapely and beautiful corsets and bustles profited from the death and suffering of others every time they lit a candle. (…) And it’s easy to wonder how those people, who considered themselves so civilized, could have accepted the price others paid for their comfort and wealth.”

Veronica Schanoes, “Phosphorus” in Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

This is EXACTLY why I wrote Lily In The Shadows. I wanted to write the story of an obscure flower girl, with no special power or talent, who tries to save the city of London from chaos and destruction. Lily lives in East London, she is partly deaf and she has no hope of ever marrying a king and becoming a princess in a fairy tale. But to me, it doesn’t mean her story shouldn’t be told. Every girl has a story to tell, even in the shadows.

So what made you want to write your Work In Progress? What inspired you this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below, and to visit the other Thursday’s Children posts here.

My Week In Review – ROW80 Check-In 6

Hello gentle reader,

This post is one day late and I apologise for this. You’ll see below I had a very busy week. I hope your week was as productive and good as mine!

ROW80 Check-In

ROW80 Logo

My goal this round is to write every day. This week I managed to write

5/7 days

Word Count of the Week

This week I wrote 9000 words and finished my Work In Progress. It needs some fine-tuning now, but I’m quite pleased I managed to write a whole book in 5 months.

Movie of the Week

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

I finally managed to see Iron Man 3 and I really enjoyed it! Some impressive action scenes, great humor, well-developed characters… all in all a very entertaining film.

Good News of the Week

I received the Versatile Blogger Award no less than 5 times this week (!). I’ll write a post about it this week. Thanks to all the bloggers who thought of me for this award!

I hope you all had a wonderful week too! Feel free to leave me a comment below and to visit the other ROWers here.

My Week In Review – ROW80 Check-In 5

Hello gentle reader,

It is already time for the fifth check-in of this round! I hope you had a good and productive week…

ROW80 Check-In

ROW80 Logo

My goal for this round is to write every day. This week, I managed to write

4/7 days

Word Count of the Week

I’m currently trying to keep the Camp NaNoWriMo momentum and this week I added 7000 words to my Work In Progress. I’m very pleased with this, especially since I edit as I go. This word count means I’m *nearly* done with this novel…

TV Show of the Week

doctor-who-the-crimson-horror

This week’s episode of Doctor Who was set in Victorian England! It started off as a Gaslamp Fantasy, which I was thrilled about, but ended up being a sci-fi episode. I had a great time watching it nonetheless!

Links of the Week

This week I wrote a guest post on Aimee L. Salter’s blog about Writing Rules.

On my blog, I discussed How To Make The Most of a Novel Writing Month When You Don’t Have Time For It.

There And Draft Again now has over 100 followers and this week, Mara posted about Creating Fantasy Creatures and Rachel shared her Top Ten Fantasy Movies.

Meanwhile, The Write Stuff for Boston Auction is still in full swing and I suggest you check what’s being auctioned every day. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, there’s something for you there!

Finally, in case you missed it and if you need to smile… here is a Channing Friday post. I promise you it’s awesome.

Next Week

Next week I shall finish Lily In The Shadows. There’s no going back, now.

How was your week? Make sure to share your writing progress and what inspired you this week in the comment section below!

Making the most of a Novel Writing Month

Hello gentle reader,

Two days ago Camp NaNoWriMo ended and I didn’t “win” it.

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The idea behind such a writing challenge (whether it is the original NaNoWriMo in November, JuNoWriMo in June or Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July) is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. All you have to do as a writer is sit down and write 1667 words a day for 30 days and you end up with a complete first draft on the last day of the challenge, which makes you a challenge “winner”.

That’s in theory, at least.

As you may know from following this blog or my Twitter feed, I am not a full-time writer. I have a Crazy Day Job which keeps me busy for at least 60 hours a week. I have to sleep, eat and show my face outside every day. I can’t just hide in my writing cave for a month, even if I really want to. So a challenge like Camp NaNoWriMo doesn’t sound like something I should have even tried to do, since it was clear from the start winning was going to be hard, if not impossible.

But I still made the most of Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Here are my tips to make the most of a Novel Writing Month challenge when you don’t have time for a Novel Writing Month challenge…

1) Be prepared.

Before you dive in the writing challenge, know what you are going to write. Have a rough outline for your plot, some ideas for your characters and your themes. This will help you not getting “stuck”.

2) Set yourself a goal.

1667 words every day is too much for me, I know that. I write slowly (700 words in 60 minutes at best) and I never have more than two hours a day to write. So during Camp NaNoWriMo, I decided to write 500 words a day.

3) Play with the rules.

Writing a first draft implies “not looking back”, even “word vomiting”. Write now, edit later. I can’t do that. Because I have so little time to write, I need to know what I’m writing isn’t going to end up deleted when I read it again at the end of the month. So I edit as I go.

4) Take part in writing sprints on Twitter.

A Novel Writing Month is about community. As writers, we can feel pretty lonely sometimes. A writing challenge is a great way to find other writers online, people who are also trying to write a novel in a month. Motivation and perseverance stems from talking to them, and sharing our experience.

5) Whatever your wordcount in the end, it is a success, because YOU WROTE WORDS. I wrote 23,000 words in April. That’s a third of a novel, guys. And I’m happy with that.

Have you ever taken part in a Novel Writing Month? How did it go for you? What advice would you give to new participants? Feel free to leave me a comment below!