Preliminary Thoughts on Marketing for Chasing Fae

After posting my big news, I really didn’t know what to post next. I’ve got two more days until my big anniversary post, and everything I was thinking of seemed anticlimactic. Maybe on Sunday, I will go back to a post about fantasy writing, or maybe not. I may ride this out a little bit and switch back to fantasy writing posts on Saturdays.

So today, I thought I would share some of the thoughts that I’ve come up with today on how I want to begin marketing for Chasing Fae. I would really love for writers and readers alike to comment their opinions and any ideas that you have for places and people I should reach out to. Please please please share! All of the input I can get is very valued.

Email Newsletter for Chasing Fae

I desperately need to create an email newsletter. I know that it is one of the best ways to connect with fans and share up-to-date news about your books and your writing life. I have just never been able to find the right time or the right way to go about it. The last time I tried to create a newsletter, I started a really cool template on MailChimp. I really liked that platform, but when I went to send a test email to myself, I realized my home address was printed at the bottom of the newsletter. I was a bit horrified, so I tried to turn that off. It turns out that because of international spam law, a mailing address has to be printed. I thought about using my William and Mary PO box, but I haven’t made a solid decision about that yet. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Revamping My Facebook Profiles

Fluff About Fantasy currently has a Facebook page, and frankly, it doesn’t get a lot of traffic at the moment. I want to spend some time making some unique posts on that platform outside of posting links to every Fluff About Fantasy post. Closer to the release date, I’d like to host a live video Q&A session! I’ve never done one before, and I would love to try it out. I’m also toying with the idea of creating a Facebook author profile that focuses on my work as an author and/or a Facebook group specifically for Chasing Fae. I don’t know if I need all that just on Facebook, but I think each type of Facebook profile has its own merits.

Who To Reach Out To In Anticipation Of The Book Release

I have a lot of people to reach out to!

I’ve spoken briefly to my high school back home so far about promotion for my book, and they are excited about my work! I’m really happy to be able to share this with my former classmates and the current student body. I haven’t reached out to the right people at my college yet, but it is only day one. These will be my first places to promote my book through newsletters, any public announcements, and hopefully, communicating with librarians to potentially house my book.

Regional newspapers would be a good place to send a press release to if I can find the courage to make the connection. I’m looking at three cities right now: Charlotte, Williamsburg, and Richmond (the biggest city close to me). I also want to find websites and magazines devoted to young adult books and/or the fantasy genre who may have a place for me to submit a guest post with my bio or welcome authors to promote their work. Still working on that research! If you have any good names or websites, please comment below!

That’s the bulk of what I have so far. Thank you so much for all your support in this journey so far. I can’t believe I’m finally kicking off the publishing journey! I’m going to have so much to share with you over the next coming months, so stay tuned!

Happy writing, everyone!

The Biggest News Of All Time

Setting it up big here with the title, huh?

I am so happy to announce that New Degree Press is going to be publishing my fantasy novel, Chasing Fae, in July 2020!!!

This is absolutely huge, and to be honest, several hours later it still hasn’t set in yet. I’ve been working on this book for two years now, and my dreams are finally coming to fruition. And don’t worry: I will still be working on my history book through the Book Creator Program and release that book later in the year after this one.

Let me walk you through how this came about.

The Beginning

So, I have been working with New Degree Press for a while in partnership with the Book Creator Program. In late November, I was sitting in on a seminar with Professor Koester about the process of hybrid publishing. I was intrigued when I realized that using their pre-sale model (which uses the sales from preorders to generate the cost of publishing the book and has a 99% success rate) while retaining full rights and full creative control of the novel sounded like a great deal. It seemed like a viable option outside of traditional publishing that didn’t fall into the vanity publishing category, which I would NEVER want to enter into.

Out of curiosity, I messaged Professor Koester after the seminar and asked him if New Degree Press took outside submissions. To my surprise, not only did they read submissions from authors outside the program, but he could introduce me to the head of the publishing board the next week and get the process started. I was kind of taken aback! I hadn’t expected things to move so quickly, especially right before exams. But I decided to take the ride and see where this went.

The Conversation

I set some time aside during my exam week for a video chat with the head of the publishing board at New Degree Press, Brian Bies. We talked about the publishing process a bit and what my goals were for my book and my vision. I really felt listened to. He treated me with respect and answered all of my questions. And I asked a lot of questions. I think somewhere in the ballpark of 20-25. None of my questions phased him; he answered all of them completely and with plenty of detail. I felt like a professional rather than the confused young writer that I think I am.

I decided that I needed to submit to them. I just needed to try. I knew only about 8% of submissions would make it to publication, but I needed to try.

The Submission

I went home for Christmas break and dove into revisions. I wanted to make a few revisions from my original manuscript sent to literary agents because I had some new ideas to improve the novel. I revised heavily for about a week. Then I sent off the draft to be read at the end of December.

Then came the waiting. I waited for almost four weeks until…..

Thursday, January 23, 2020

I’m going to have a fantastic “how did you find out your book was going to be published?” story.

That morning, I woke up groggy and just not feeling well. I had a bad headache, congestion, and a slight fever. I was thinking “Really? On the second day of classes? I hate the cold.” I rested as much as I could during the morning, missing my German class, so that I could go to my first Field School in Material Culture class in the afternoon. This was a class that only met once a week, so I didn’t want to miss one right off the bat! Getting sick at the beginning of the semester sucks because I feel like teachers may think you’re trying to skip out. I’m not! I’m a good student! I just don’t function while ill.

Anyway, I went to this class, and I snuck a peek at the messaging platform that I was communication with New Degree Press on. To my surprise, I had messages! After I quickly scrolled up to the top of the thread, and I realized what it said: New Degree Press green-lit Chasing Fae for publication this summer.

It didn’t hit me. It didn’t hit me at all initially. I couldn’t think, and I couldn’t process this information. And then I had to wait THREE HOURS for my class to be over in order to communicate to other people what happened!!!

When I got out of class, I called my family and my friends, and I told them what I had learned. I posted the announcement all over social media. And suddenly, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t stop smiling. Love was pouring in from everywhere, and I just did my best to absorb it all.

This is REAL now. Chasing Fae is going to be in print and in people’s hands. I cannot wait to share this book with the world. And I want to thank every single person reading this post right now for being involved in my journey. For listening to what I’ve shared about my book, coming to my website to learn and be invested in the journey, and thanks in advance for checking out my book when it releases!

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Drawing Inspiration From Real Life

Every story that I have ever started has drawn upon inspiration from my world, whether that be my family, my friends, or events that have happened in my life. The first book I ever wrote was actually about a fictional version of my family and their adventures in a strange, slightly fantastical land (but cut me some slack, I was only ten). Big moments and important people in my life do eventually manifest themselves as book characters, albeit with some significant modifications. Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite pieces of Chasing Fae that have been created from significant elements of my life.

Grace

Grace is a strong, independent woman who has found herself in a situation that she has no idea how to remedy. She is taking care of her mother and their home by working full time, and she’s planning this grand adventure to find out how her older brother died. She has this indomitable stubbornness that just radiates throughout everything she does. She’s honestly my favorite character that I have ever written.

Grace started out as the person that I wanted to be. I wanted to be able to take charge of my own life and stand up for everything I believed in with confidence. When I started Chasing Fae midway through my senior year, I was still very much hiding in the shadows. I had a lot to say, but no real way to say it without feeling shut out from my peers. I never seemed to say or do the right things, so there was a long period of time that I just stopped trying. Grace wouldn’t have stopped trying. She said what she thought without any care for the consequences, and although she does have an introverted side to her, she had no problem being bold when necessary.

But as I continued to develop and work on Grace, she took on a whole new life. She was a living, breathing character with rough edges and an emotional side that I had never anticipated her having. Her sadness manifests as anger and frustration, and when she keeps it tampered down for so long, she is bound to break. That emotional rawness that’s hiding behind this stubborn surface is something that I really admire about this character. I’m very proud to have written her into existence.

Leo

Leo is Grace’s older brother who has just died at the beginning of the book. I’ve touched a lot on where the inspiration for him came from in Sibling Bonds, but I want to dive in a bit more into what the character means to me.

The friend who acted as an older brother to me has been in and out of my life over the last year and a half, and it hasn’t been the prettiest. Every time I try to walk away and let it go, there is always that emotional side that ties me to answer one more text, send one more message. There’s this love and appreciation that just seems to override my instincts sometimes, to my benefit or detriment depending on the situation. I know that he is anxious to read the book when it does finally get published, and I do wonder sometimes how he will view the character, whether he will see any of his past self in him.

Leo, for me, is the closure that I needed. It is very critical that he is dead initially. Grace and Leo’s relationship has had its ups and downs, luckily more ups than otherwise. But she takes away this purely good, strong, and loving memory of him that she carries with her throughout the trilogy. In the first book, she’s chasing his memory, chasing whatever brought around his death. But readers are going to see her really connect with that grief and be able to open up as a person eventually.

The Upper Realm

The Three Realms was actually my first real attempt at worldbuilding, and the universe definitely has taken on a life of its own.

I’m going to focus on the Upper Realm because of its depth and richness in detail. I spent nearly four months on the Upper Realm alone as I was formulating my ideas about where the book was going to go. The Twelve Houses are based off of the twelve signs of the zodiac; I’m a intermittent fan of reading my horoscope and attributing zodiac traits to book characters. I never saw myself creating any less than twelve. Once the idea was there, it stuck, and I couldn’t do anything else. I liked the idea of incorporating opposing elements to create this perfect balance. Those elements became incorporated into the main alliances as well. Elemental magic has always been one of my favorite types of magic to read about in a fantasy novel, so I wanted to incorporate as much of that as possible.

The logical ones came first: Fire, Water, Wind (as a substitute for air), and Earth. Then light and darkness followed by day and evening, sun and moon. Then I was up to ten. I had to think for a while about what the last two elements would be. I finally came up with peace and war because I wanted to create two societies that would truly represent the balance. The House of Peace would not possess a standing army and would focus on education and the arts. It would be a universal trading partner. The House of War would be situated in a place with natural defenses (the mountains and the river) and be primarily cut off from the other eleven Houses. They would be entirely self-sufficient in a desire not to rely on anyone for assistance, and their soldiers would be the strongest in all the Realms.

The Upper Realm is what made me realize how much I LOVE worldbuilding.

I’d love to hear about what elements from your story draw from your experiences in real life. Please share in the comments below!

Should You Try Out NaNoWriMo?

Happy NaNoWriMo, my friends!

Yes, it is that time of year again where writers of all ages are buckling down and knocking out 50,000 words of a novel draft. It’s a fantastic month full of creativity, feverish writing, and passion for a new project. I love interacting with other writers and updating my status with my friends as the month goes on. There’s truly nothing better.

This year, I wasn’t sure if I had the availability to take on NaNoWriMo again this year (click here for an account of last year’s experience). I’ve been working on research and interviews for my Book Creator project, academics have ben a whirlwind, and I just started having some free time to myself for the first time all semester. But at the same time, I was itching to get back to the world of the Three Realms and start my second book of the Chasing Fae trilogy, Chasing War. Eventually, I decided to take November 1st as a trial run day, a test to see if I had enough inspiration to write this story from my outline. Friday was incredible; I wrote over 2000 words of fantasy, the most that I had written in the genre since I finished up my final edits of Chasing Fae in July. I couldn’t wait to write more. That’s how I knew I needed to do NaNoWriMo and make it another real time commitment in my life.

I want to encourage all young writers to undertake this challenge this month. Don’t be discouraged that NaNoWriMo has already started; there are plenty of days left to create something amazing.

Is NaNoWriMo Right For You?

Do you have a novel idea that you are burning to write?: If you’ve got an idea that is so perfect that you are just itching to get it down on paper, NaNoWriMo is the place to start.

Have you struggled with following through on an idea in your writing?: If you’re not great with being motivated enough to finish a novel, trust me, NaNoWriMo may be your savior. I wrote story after story throughout my middle and high school years, but the majority of my novels never got finished. I’d write six to eight chapters and then move on to the next new idea. Last year was the first time that I had completed an entire first draft since my first book written when I was 10 (still won’t see the light of day). This challenge really works as motivation. Use it!

Do you need to add another 50k to the project you’re already working on?: Guess what? NaNoWriMo is for you too! Some people choose not to start an entirely new draft in November; they pick one they’ve been meaning to work on and grind steadily along with that idea until it’s complete. There are no limits to what you can achieve.

Don’t let fear of what you can’t do stand in the way of what you could do. Even if you don’t reach your 50,000 word goal, you’ve still taken that first step towards getting your novel finished. Whether it’s 1000 words, 5000 words, or 50,000 words, there’s nothing more important than just starting.

Happy writing, everyone.

An Interview With Aiden

A rendition of Aiden.

What is your full name? – My name is Aiden Faolan Çaelic.

Where do you call home now? – Now, I’m a bit more of a wanderer. I’m with the House of the Sun’s military. I’m stationed currently in Shadowshore, a mining town in the House of the Day.

Do you have a lifelong dream or aspiration? – I’d like to find… I don’t know.. Some sort of meaning in life. Something to strive for. Something to live for. I want adventure in my life. I joined the military to find it, but I haven’t found it yet.

How would you describe your personality? – I’m… *smiles coyly* a bit of a flirt. You can ask around; anyone will tell you so. It’s healthy to explore the more… sensual sides of your personality. I’m straightforward with people. What you see is what you get. I’m not ashamed of who I am. I am loud and proud, and I like to showcase that. But don’t think I’m some airhead. I’ve got a strong head on my shoulders, and my magical abilities are nothing to chuckle at.

Describe a normal day for you. – Let’s see… I normally wake up alone or with my latest find if it’s a weekend at whatever lodging the troop has stopped at for the night. I like to cuddle after sex; I would rather have my women stay the night. Now, I can be an early riser during the week, mainly due to mandatory obligations to the military. If it’s a weekend, you better believe I’m sleeping in. During the week, it’s training exercises and patrols and the like. I try to search for a little adventure or some skirt to chase. I usually save that for the evening though. Nights are for prowling, throwing back a couple beers with some friends, and just generally having a good time.

How close are you to your family? – In general, I’m pretty close to my family. My mother and I are the closest. She’s always been there for me, always helped me through any and every situation. My father and I have a little bit more of a cordial relationship than a clearly loving one. But we respect each other. My brother and I aren’t really close though.

What are your reasons for being an adventurer? – I’m an adventurer for reasons that are fairly simple. I want to find something in my life worth fighting for. And I’ll face every challenge, climb every mountain, and chase every storm until I find it.

What do you believe makes a successful life? – Freedom to be who you are. To live out a life that’s exciting to you, no matter in what way that is. Enough money to live comfortably and a family to share it with. Life is short. You have to live it to the fullest. Or else, what’s the point?

Third Draft Complete!

I am incredibly excited to announce that the third draft of Chasing Fae is finally finished!

I’ve had a decent amount of time on my hands after working at my internship during the daytime. I’ve had many an afternoon and evening to concentrate on making this book the best that it possibly can be. Major structural changes have been made that I believe really transform the reader’s experience in the world of the Three Realms. From character arc clarification, to new plot points, and a renewed sense of urgency in the storyline, the changes I have made make me very proud to be a writer.

I tried a new technique this time of working with two drafts side by side. I started an entirely new document for draft three and wrote alongside draft two, making large changes or copying and pasting between drafts. I felt like this really allowed me to watch the writing expand and shift directions. I could really see the movement of the story much better than any other revision technique I’ve used thus far. With a very clear to-do list in hand, I wrote and rewrote and wrote anew. The novel length increased by over eight thousand words. This puts it in a fantastic range for YA fantasy without going too far.

There’s nothing more invigorating than seeing your hard work finally come together on the page.

So what happens now?

I’ve sent off my book to three new beta readers who I’ve met through various #WritingCommunity projects. I’m going to give two of them a quick shoutout here since I know them well enough to do so: my wonderful friend, Hill T. Manner over at steamblogger.com (who I’m now collaborating with in admin on his site!) and the fantastic CJ Landry who I collaborate with over at All in the Pantheon. (She’s also just released a new poetry book, which I’m going to link here.) I’m super grateful to all of them for taking this on for me. I’m really excited to hear their feedback.

While I’m waiting to hear from them, I have a variety of tasks on my author to-do list! I’m going to spend some time working on the website to build up more of a following. (So if you’ve got some friends who you know would love this site, please send them a link!) I’m going to focus on Aphrodite’s storyline over at All in the Pantheon and make some decisions about who I want her to be. Finally, I’m going to work heavily on my query letter and my synopsis to make sure that those will be ready for querying this fall.

The writing never stops! But that’s what we love about it, isn’t it? We never have to stop.

Thank you for your constant support, everyone. Much love. <3

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions: Part 1

This Sunday, I completed round one of revisions for Chasing Fae. It was a long and laborious process, and while I’m incredibly excited and proud that I made it through, I know my job is far from over. But for now, let’s talk about what round one of revisions looked like, especially for those of you who find themselves in the revision stages of a novel.

Once NaNoWriMo was over, I put aside the book for about two weeks. It’s a little short of a turn around time, but that’s the bare minimum time that you should let a novel sit before attempting revisions. When I picked it back up, I read the first draft all the way through while taking notes. Now, I did this in Google Docs, using comments down the side to make my notes. Most writers like to print their draft out and make handwritten notes. I did not have the means to print out 200+ pages at the time, and I found that working online and typing works faster for me.

I did not hold back in my comments. I picked out everything, large or small, that I wanted to fix or add or revise. Nothing was sacred, and that’s the way it should be. You have to be critical if you want to get anywhere with your next draft.

From there, it was two long months of revising. I wrote about an additional 8000 words. I fleshed out worldbuilding details in various places, trying to make the Three Realms come to life in a brighter way. I wrote two new chapters and reworked nearly the entire middle of the novel to create better flow. I tried to work on my characters by making their intentions more clear from scene to scene.

Eventually, I ended up with a beautiful set of 66,519 words of YA fantasy.

Now, I’m beginning to send this second draft out to my chosen beta readers who I’m hoping can give me a lot more feedback about where my novel needs to go next. I know that there are places that need a lot of work, and I really would like help identifying where those places are. I’m looking forward to seeing what they think!

Until next time. <3