Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Open Minds book tour with author Susan Kaye Quinn



Owning the Writerly Path - Deciding to Self-Publish Open Minds (Part Two)


by Susan Kaye Quinn, author of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)


In my previous post, I talked about lessons learned along my writer’s journey, including publishing my first novel, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit with a small press:

Lesson #1: Story matters more than craft and readers matter most of all.

Lesson #2: Creative work is as valuable in the world as “practical” work.

Lesson #3: You can’t reach readers if you don’t publish.

Fear of Failure

Publishing Life, Liberty, and Pursuit took a lot of time, but eventually I got back to querying my middle grade science fiction novel Clone Runners and continued to work on my new paranormal/SF novel Open Minds. I became very familiar with the walking-on-broken-glass feeling of querying. Rejections came in, but also requests. Lots of them. More than I expected, and I even had editors (at small and large houses) that showed some interest in this middle grade science fiction story that I loved. But as I worked through the list, and the rejections on full MS requests came in, I realized that it was a real possibility that Clone Runners might not get me an agent, or even get published in a small MG press (it took a while before I also realized there were some biases in the industry about what MG SF should look like). I had the fear that maybe—in spite of all my efforts—I might fail to get an agent. I might be a failure as a writer. I began to question why I was putting all this time and energy into something that was a huge risk, and maybe I should go back to Plan A (get an actual paycheck for engineering work). I remember having a very serious conversation with my husband about this.

Me: “What if 5 years from now, I still haven’t published (another novel besides Life, Liberty, and Pursuit)? What if I fail to make it through the traditional publishing gauntlet?”

Him: “Well, you could give up now and guarantee that you’ll never publish again.”

I hate it when he’s right. (And I also love it when he tells me what I need to hear.)

Lesson #4: Rejection isn’t failure; quitting is failure.

Fear of The Road Less Traveled

Realizing that I wouldn’t give up gave me the motivation to keep going as if I would succeed. In a way, it changed my entire definition of “success.” I decided not to run for re-election (I was on the school board of the third largest school district in my state), so that I could commit my time and energy completely to writing (and my family). I continued to work on Open Minds, and drafted a new MG fantasy The Faery Swap. I took the leap to try another MG project that’s still under wraps. I started querying Open Minds and got a lot of requests. When I started getting “glowing” rejections on my full MS, I realized something very important: I wasn’t willing to shelve Open Minds. And just as importantly: I wanted to write the second and third books, because it was really the start of a trilogy. All the “rules” said to never write the second book until you’ve sold the first, but I had already started to question those kinds of “rules” in an industry turned topsy-turvy by e-books and the rise of self-publishing. I had started this journey determined to pursue traditional publication (and for now that still seems the best path for my MG works), but in general that traditional path was snarled up with construction and had potholes the size of Montana. Self-publishing was looking more and more legitimate as many established authors were trying it out.

Did I want to be one of those writers that took the road less traveled? What if I ended up in a ditch? I took a hard look at Lesson #3 (You can’t reach readers if you don’t publish) and decided to self-publish Open Minds.There were other reasons that weighed into the decision, but that was the main one: I wanted to share this story with readers, and under the circumstances, self-publishing seemed the BEST way (not the only way) to do that. I could get the story out quickly; I could start work on the next book; I could write/publish the entire Mindjack Trilogy in 18 months.

I was owning my own path.

Then I realized that I was already on the weedy path. In fact, I had forged my own path my entire life, whether it was pursuing an engineering career when few women did, or running for public office because I wanted to effect change. I worked best on the weedy path. And I liked it there. The writerly lessons I had learned up to this point gave me the confidence to know the right path when I saw it. And to seize opportunities when they came along.

Lesson #5: Owning your writerly path is the way you find the success that’s right for you.

My Logic Brain thinks self-publishing is a great way to get Open Minds out to readers, and my Creative Brain is jumping for joy over owning my writerly path and making it happen.

For once, they both agree.



*********************

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available for $2.99 in e-book (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and $9.99 in print (Amazon, Createspace).

The Story of Open Minds (linked posts)




The Story of Open Minds (linked posts)

Ch 1: Where Ideas Come From: A Mind Reading World

Ch 2: A Study in Voice, or Silencing Your Inner Critic

Ch 3: I'm finished! Oh wait. Maybe not.

Ch 4: Write First, Then Outline - Wait, That's Backwards?

Ch 5: Why My Critique Partners Are Smarter Than Me

Ch 6: Facing Revisions When It Feels Like Being on the Rack

Ch 7: How to Know When to Query

Ch 8: A Writer’s Journey - Deciding to Self-Publish Open Minds (Part One)

Ch 9: Owning the Writerly Path - Deciding to Self-Publish Open Minds (Part Two)

Epilogue: Finding Time to Write the Sequel 
*********************


PRIZES!

Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.)



Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):


1) Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post

2) Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)

Example: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. #keepingOPENMINDS @susankayequinn #SF #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

Example: Celebrate the launch of OPEN MINDS by @susankayequinn #keepingOPENMINDS #SciFi #paranormal #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds



3) Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn)


Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes! http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

**********************************************************************************************************************



When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).

11 comments:

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Lisa, thanks so much for being a Party Host today and letting me take over your blog for a day!! :)

Cherie Colyer said...

There are some great points in this post. Fear will hold a person back, but then again if you don't take chances then you have only yourself to blame for a dream not coming true. For writers, if you don't query or try different paths then readers will never have the opportunity to read your work.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Your husband is brilliant :) I guess he'd have to be, married to a fearless woman like you!

Gail Shepherd said...

Thank heavens for supportive partners. I have one too and I feel so lucky. I am super impressed by your dedication and drive and perseverance. You can't fail to do well with this project.

Jennifer Lane said...

Sue, it sounds like you had a very open mind about the writing process! *snorts* I think self-publishing is great, especially after you've established yourself with a small publisher.

plentyoffish.com said...

I agree on the two principles mentioned. Literary works based on such pathologies are highly regarded.

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