Author Hannah Ross joins us today to end off the month with a guest post! She’s got all kinds of experience with book publishing and shares her thoughts on the different paths you can take below.
Have a read and share your own experiences (or hopes!) in the publishing industry in the comments! And be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to learn about Hannah’s upcoming book, Wild Children!
When I first began writing Quest of the Messenger, my epic fantasy trilogy, I had plenty of enthusiasm, a vast imaginary world in my head, a laptop, and not much else, really. I had no knowledge of how the publishing industry works, no idea about current trends in fantasy, and no budget for professional editing, proofreading, cover design, or book promotion.
I was on my own, and I wrote like crazy. I produced a trilogy of nearly half a million words before I even began approaching agents with the first book.
The first few rejections stung, but I was encouraged by those agents who actually took the time to write a personal response (and not just send a pre-composed rejection note). My writing was good enough to grab an agent’s attention, if not get them to actually wish to represent the book. I kept querying and, to make a long story short, after about half a hundred rejections I decided to self-publish.
My reasoning was simple: the books had already been written, and it made no sense to stash them in a digital drawer forever. I didn’t have the least idea about marketing or self-promotion for indie authors, but I went right ahead and published on Amazon Kindle. Of course, at first my books got nearly zero interest because, though they were available, nobody knew about them. As I slowly grasped this fact, I gradually became more present on the social media and writers’ websites. So far I can’t say I’ve made a bundle out of my fantasy novels, and perhaps I never will, but it gives me joy to see feedback from readers, especially when people finish the first book and go on to read the sequel.
At the same time, as I always have a new project in the works, I began writing Wild Children, a sci-fi/dystopia novel for which, at its due time, I began the querying/getting rejected round all over again. I didn’t get an agent, but I did sign a publishing contract with Mason Marshall Press, by whom my book is planned for release in early 2017.
As editing began, it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps it’s a good thing I published Quest of the Messenger as a 100% indie author. Yes, being on my own meant getting no help from anyone… but it also meant I got to make all the decisions myself. There was nobody to contradict me about my plot choices, dialogue or characters.
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea and think I’m currently working under the oppressive rule of some tyrannical editor. The team at Mason Marshall is really helpful and accommodating and in general a pleasure to work with, but when you are so used to being the only one in charge of everything, it can get a little disconcerting at first.
The Quest of the Messenger books are so visceral, and rooted so deeply in my inner world, that I really feel it’s a blessing to have them all to myself, so to speak. They are more than books to me – they are friends and companions, and I think I would have felt very contrary to see them dissected with the cool eye of an editor. But with Wild Children, even though I am very invested in the project, I am less emotionally involved and a lot more open to making changes, rewriting and consulting with others.
To sum it up, I’m glad I published Quest of the Messenger as an indie author, and I’m glad to be working with a publisher now. I know many authors do the same, trying the trad publishing route for some of their books and going all indie with others. Both options have their place, and everyone eventually finds theirs.
Paths of the Shadow (Quest of the Messenger #1) by Hannah Ross
Meet Nicholas Swift, a determined bachelor and a skeptical historian. His work is made of dispelling myths and shedding light on the solid body of fact. When he is told by the residents of a small village about a strange phenomenon that can be observed in the area, he dismisses these rumors as old wives’ tales. Sooner than he knows, however, he is drawn into an adventure he neither expected nor wished for as he discovers a magical link between our world and another quite unlike it.
Nicholas finds himself in a land full of loyalty and courage, but also bloodthirst and danger. He meets a king who yearns for an heir, a man who hides a dark secret, and a woman who believes she has what it takes to keep her beloved land safe, but threatens countless lives in the process. In the midst of it all, Nicholas is left to figure out the purpose of his unique fate.
Get it on Amazon!
Wild Children by Hannah Ross
Genre: Sci-fi / Dystopia
In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by war, the resources are limited and strict population control guidelines are enforced. When journalist Rebecca Hurst becomes pregnant and decides to keep her baby, she is prepared to defy the law. But three months after secretly giving birth to her son Benjamin, she is forced to give him up to an orphanage for unwanted children, after brokenheartedly realizing she won’t be able to hide him for the rest of his life.
Benjamin, knowing nothing about his parentage, grows up in the orphanage. The public believes the orphans are brought up for menial jobs in fields and factories, but the truth is a lot more sinister. At the age of twelve, the children are given some basic supplies and sent across the Boundary – the border of the remaining civilized world – into the abandoned wilderness. Benjamin and his classmates know the odds are all against them, but they are determined to survive.
Preorder it on Amazon!
About the Author: Hannah Ross wrote her first story at the age of six and hasn’t stopped since. Wishing to have a steady profession, she trained as a clinical nutritionist, but the writing bug was too strong and Hannah continued to write fiction in the form of short stories, novels, poetry and plays, as well as many non-fiction essays and articles.
Hannah enjoys a quiet life in the country with her husband, three children, two cats and a flock of chickens.