They were also brave enough to let me speak to the attendees about writing and publishing–and about ME, of course! I was a little nervous about speaking to a gathering of college professionals but was told they like to have fun, too. So I talked about rejection. I mean, what’s more fun than other people’s pain, right? I talked about some of the weird things that have happened to me over the years (boy, have I amassed some stories!) and also read some snippets from rejections received by now-famous authors. They’re collected in a nifty little book called Rotten Reviews and Rejections. (Example: We’re sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”)
And then I had a fabulously fun book signing.
This was also a wonderful event for me because it coincided with hubby Dave’s birthday, so we spent some extra time at Callaway Gardens celebrating that. The weather couldn’t have been better, so we did lots of walking along the lakes and through the woodsy paths and enjoying the sunshine.
Thanks again so much, Georgia Association of College Stores!
My guest today on How I First Published is Michelle Dennis Evans, author of powerful inspirational YA fiction. (I know, because I’ve read it. Great stuff!) Her story reminds me so much of my own–except I spent longer drifting in that limbo land of too edgy for Christian publishers and not edgy enough for secular. And I so agree with her about what indie publishing has been like as far as…well, I’ll let Michelle tell you and not give away her whole story here.
What was your first published novel?
Spiralling Out of Control, book 1 in the Spiralling Trilogy. It’s a Realistic Contemporary YA novel.
Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go indie?
After submitting it for two years to traditional publishers and entering competitions without success I decided to go indie.
How did that come about?
I started getting shortlisted in competitions but not making it through. I was getting revise and resubmit requests and I started getting some great feedback. The feedback was all similar but opposite. A Christian publisher asked if I could make it a little more Christian and another publisher asked if I could take it further in the drug and alcohol scenes. The more feedback I received the more I began to understand that my book simply didn’t fit on a traditional bookshelf. I wasn’t willing to compromise the story or my convictions to make it darker or less real.
How did this make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?
It was my dream to sign a deal and be traditionally published. I had to come to terms with publishing my own work and have had to learn to back myself. I’m so thankful that the industry has changed and being indie published isn’t what it once was. It’s way better and I do like the control I have over my novels. But I haven’t given up hope of signing a traditional contract. My dream now is to become a hybrid author.
Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.
I guess the hard side of being indie published is the time it takes. I was expecting to have my third book in the trilogy out by now but I haven’t quite got it ready. The business side of writing takes up a lot of brain space and time. Now I need to get better at planning where I spend my time.
Michelle Dennis Evans writes picture books, chapter books, young adult contemporary novels and enjoys dabbling in free verse poetry. Her debut novel Spiralling Out of Control and poetry collection Life Inspired both reached #1 in subcategories on Amazon in their first week of release.
Michelle lives with her husband and four children on the Gold Coast of Australia. She believes you can find healing and hope when you read someone else’s story, fiction or truth. Her life is full and at times overflowing but she wouldn’t have it any other way.