Mine was long road … dusty … rocky … filled with regrets … well, not really. But doesn’t that sound like a great book opening?
My road to publication started small. I finished the first draft of There Once Were Stars in an incredible three months. Wow! I was pulling all-nighters, writing every free moment I had, it’s a wonder I didn’t lose my mind. When it finished, I had to step away for a while, just to give myself a break. During that time I asked a co-worker to read it and see what they thought. I’ll never forget when she walked into my cubicle waving the papers in the air. “This is so good!”
It was in that moment I knew I had to find a publisher. I spent the next two months editing, polishing, and proofreading with my coworker. I went online looking for publishers who liked not only YA but also my genre: dystopian. I’d learned my lesson the year prior, hiring the wrong editors for a MG fantasy, and subbing to agent and publishers not interested in that kind of story.
I did my research. I learned about manuscript wish lists (#mswl). I taught myself how to use Twitter. I started a blog. I reached out to other authors. I built my platform while still searching for the right publisher. I cross-referenced presses I liked with Predators & Editors, and Absolute Write Water Cooler. Google was my best friend and I was its sheep, following it wherever it led me.
And in the middle of all of that madness I found Georgia McBride at Month9Books. She was the first publishing house I subbed to directly (after receiving rejections from literary agents), and she sent me a full request in a week. I remember screaming inside with excitement, but worried if I let it out I might jinx everything somehow.
But I did let it out.
And nothing was jinxed.
I signed a contract and then … waited. My publication date was almost two years from my full request. I learned patience. I learned how to become a better writer. I took classes. I took workshops. I went to conferences. I joined writing groups and guilds. Writing became my life. I devoured it.
I wrote a novel for another series, and when I finished my first round of edits, I subbed that second novel to Month9Books.
I wasn’t a fluke.
I started a Facebook page. I joined Instagram. I posted. I engaged.
Oh, and I never stopped reading.
Months later I finished up edits and proofreading, and my book went to the printer.
Pretty soon I will get to hold a paperback of There Once Were Stars.
Let me tell you … it will all be worth it.
And then I will start writing again.
Posting. Engaging. Tweeting. Bookstagramming. Reading.
And then I’ll write some more.
About There Once Were Stars
There Once Were Stars
by Melanie McFarlane
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?
About the Author
Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie focuses her powers on writing young adult stories to keep the rest of the world up reading all night.
She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.