Thanks, Christine, for inviting me to Friendly Friday. This week is a special one for me--and I'm excited to share it with you.
UNBROKEN CONNECTION, the sequel to my nationally published debut YA novel, TAKEN BY STORM (Penguin/Razorbill, 2009), about an LDS girl, who wants to escape her small town where she's the only Mormon and go to BYU, and the devastated guy who gets in her way--should be available NOW! We released it on Kindle, on August 10th. We're celebrating the release of the paperback this week. Thanks for letting me share the joy.
So to fill the second novel spot in my contract with them--they signed me for two books when they bought TAKEN BY STORM--I had to come up with a whole new novel pronto. That led to my second Penguin release, SING ME TO SLEEP (March 2010). SING ME TO SLEEP was inspired by a dear friend's son, and I wrote it to honor him and the Amabile Choirs of London, Canada--that were a huge part of his life. That was an amazing experience I'll always cherish. I keep hearing from readers who are deeply touched by it. The Amabile guys choir was so enthusiastic about it they recorded, "Beth's Song," for my trailer. I wrote the lyrics for the book, and the extraordinary LDS artist, Harriet Bushman, composed the music. You can download it on iTunes and help support their music.
By the time SING ME TO SLEEP went off to the presses, I'd signed with an agent. We submitted a proposal for UNBROKEN CONNECTION as my option book. My contract stipulated that I must submit my third YA novel to Razorbill. The proposal was met with silence.
Perhaps I should have written another stand alone title, but as an artist, I needed to continue Michael and Leesie's story. They wouldn't leave each other alone. They wouldn't leave me alone. I prayed. And started writing. When I finished the novel, my agent loved it. We sent it to my editor.
Three months later while I was packing for my trip up to Canada to celebrate SING ME TO SLEEP's release and Amabile's 25th Anniversary Festival, I got a call from my editor. She was leaving Razorbill--venturing out on her own. UNBROKEN CONNECTION lost it's best advocate at the company.
The following Monday morning--after an amazing weekend in London, Ontario signing books, getting to finally give my friend Joyce a long awaited hug, and hearing Amabile perform "Beth's Song" live--I got an email from Razorbill's publisher rejecting UNBROKEN CONNECTION.
My agent was at a loss. He faded away into silence and then dropped me when I reminded him of my existence.
But my readers and bloggers rallied around. One of them started a FaceBook group to support UNBROKEN CONNECTION. Another had her graphics designer create an icon to share around the web. Their encouragement gave me the guts to release it independently.
Remember "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost? I memorized it in grade school--not because I had to, but because I loved it. I think it's the only poem I can recite. Do you recall the ending?
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
Life is full of "no"--whether you're a writer, a three-year old, a hormonal teenager, or a small business owner.
Remember, "no" isn't the end of the journey. It's simply a redirection--a new path. Maybe a better path.
If you are an aspiring writer, don't let rejection stop you. Rewrite your query letter and send it out to more agents and editors. Seek professional critique. Take classes. Revise your novel to fit a market better. Publish an ebook. Blog your novel. Investigate independent publishers, regional presses, and print on demand services like CreateSpace.
I'm not going to lie--publishing with a giant New York publisher is a heady whirlwind, and I'm doing my best to land a new agent and another contract. But it can also be a muddy, frustrating road full of pot holes. It can maim you artistically if you let it. And these days there are many, many roads in the woods. I'm having a lot of fun following a new one.
All my love,
Go HERE to visit Angela's website. Please click on "About Me" once you're there. Angela's story is remarkable.
ADDED TODAY AT 1:15 PM MST
Dance with me today! I got the proofs of UNBROKEN CONNECTION's beautiful trade paperback yesterday. They are so gorgeous. My son did all the design work. Here I am on my front porch with the box. I thought of all of you and your encouragement and support when I opened it up. It will take a while for Amazon to get it for sale on their site, but it is available via my very own Amazon eStore right now. If you blog about it, please include the link. Thanks so much. Here it is again: https://www.createspace.com/3476337
***(a note from Christine) Thanks for being my guest today Angela. Your post touched my heart. I've been through a similar struggle, getting a contract with a publishing company and then losing it. It's frustrating, especially trying to find someone who believes in your dream as much as you do. My heart goes out to you. I can't wait to get my hands on your books and read them. I've been listening to the song on your blog while working on this post and I have to say it's AWESOME!! You're very lucky to have that. Thanks again.