The road to publication is filled with many bumps and obstacles. In my case, it was filled with SIX YEARS of that tough road.
I guess I'll start when I was eighteen, and I first decided I wanted to be a published author. Despite disapproval from family and friends, I followed my heart anyway.
I thought it would be easy, but boy, was I wrong. I wrote a few novels (some that will NEVER see the light of day) and started querying one of them way before it was ready, just because I was so desperate to get published. The rejections poured in like an avalanche. So I got feedback on what I was doing wrong, then I wrote more, better novels. And I edited them. And I did research on how to write better queries.
In 2011, I came up with a novel idea about a female grim reaper who is invisible to all humans except the Native American boy she falls in love with. And I was like, "Hm, this is a YA paranormal romance. And that's what's hot in the market right now. And mine is different, in which the female is the paranormal creature, not the hot guy." So I worked on it, and edited it based off of critiques. And I sent out queries for it. Finally, literary agents were requesting the manuscript. But still, no offers of representation.
I tried entering a few contests, like the lovely Krista Van Dolzer's An Agent's Inbox contest. I got positive feedback from agents, but now they were saying the YA market was getting too saturated with paranormal romances and grim reaper stories.
By 2013, agents were rarely taking on any more YA paranormal romances. I thought I might have to self-publish, but before that, my last hope was trying small press publishers. I expected the same thing to happen: multiple rejections. My jaw literally dropped when I got a request for the full manuscript from Crescent Moon Press, which turned into them offering me a contract for publication!
Fast forward a year later, and my book is now available to buy. The process was much faster traditional publishing. So the moral of this story isn't just to never give up, it's about making sure you explore all possible options. When you have a dream, you should be willing to try anything to get there. If your first and most preferred method doesn't work (150 query rejections, anyone?), there are always other options. Who knows, it may turn out better than you thought.
Congratulations, Ms. Bynum, on GRIM CRUSH's release, and thank you for sharing your journey with us. Also, thank you for furnishing an e-book for our giveaway! If you'd like to enter, just tell us in the comments that you'd like to win. Contest is open internationally and closes in one week, on Monday, September 8, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (or 8:59 p.m. PDT). I'll select a random winner the next day.