Today’s guest post is by fellow Astraea Press author, Ariella Moon. I’ve asked her to share her “path to publication” story today, and it’s an inspiring one! Without further ado, here’s Ariella…
A huge thanks to Best Selling Author, Christi Corbett, for allowing me to guest host today. I am so honored! My second YA novel, Spell Struck, Book Two of The Teen Wytche Saga, released last week. The first book in the series, Spell Check, debuted in 2012. Although I’m now a multi-published author, there was a time when my path to publication looked more like a jagged heart rate readout than an express lane.
Writing Contests and Agents
Long before Spell Check and Spell Struck, my first agent offered to represent me after my manuscript, Maiden of the Mist, had garnered multiple first place wins in national writing competitions. Validation! Elation! Hesitation…the agent specialized in inspirational romances. I wrote paranormals. I doubted she had the connections to sell my book. She convinced she did, so I signed the contract.
While Agent #1 shopped my manuscript, I kept writing and improving my craft. Months passed. Agent #1 proved to be secretive about her submissions. Alarm bells clanged inside my head.
Meanwhile, I happened to sit next to a newcomer at one of my Romance Writers of America chapter meetings. At the end of the meeting, the woman thanked me for making her feel so welcome. Later, when I learned she was a newly minted literary agent, I submitted a partial from a new manuscript, the first in a middle grade trilogy. I later learned she had received hundreds of submissions, had requested three full manuscripts, and of the three, chose mine. She told me she had loved the story, but also had remembered how nice I had been to her. I fired Agent #1 and signed with Agent #2.
While Agent #2 shopped my second manuscript, I wrote its sequel. We both became discouraged when the first manuscript didn’t sell. Everything I had written to that point had required time-consuming historical research. Sensing Agent #2 was close to firing me, I switched to writing contemporary YA and Spell Check was born.
Spell Check won First Place and The Zola Award in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary contest. At a party following the award ceremony, a senior editor at Scholastic and a few agents expressed interest in the manuscript and me.
Agent #2 was startled to hear I had written a new book and that it had won against competitors from many countries. We gave each other another chance. Several editors requested the manuscript. Most turned it down because it was too sweet, and edgy was hot. The Scholastic editor brought Spell Check to Acquisitions. Her boss turned it down. We were devastated.
My agent requested I come up with something new within 6 months. I am not a fast writer and the new manuscript reflected that. Agent #2 and I parted ways.
My self-imposed deadline to become published had passed. I decided to turn in my mouse and keyboard. But I’m a writer, so secretly I started the next manuscript — “Just for fun.”
Ginger Hanson, a multi-published author I had met at my first RWA National Conference, emailed me about Astraea Press, a niche publisher specializing in sweet, not necessarily inspirational, stories. I submitted and received the standard, we’ll-get-back-to-you-in-six-months reply. By this point, I had already accepted defeat.
Two days later, I received an acceptance email.
The express lane had found me.
Have you ever been on the verge of giving up? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, and love in Spell Check and Spell Struck, Books One & Two in The Teen Wytche Saga from Astraea Press. After a childhood spent searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia, Ariella grew up to become an author and shaman. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.
You can connect with Ariella in the following locations:
What if the one person who saw through your lies and loved you, harbored a secret that could cost you everything?
Goth outcast, Salem Miller, believes her love spell failed until Aidan Cooper arrives at Jefferson High. When he chooses her over the popular girls, Salem knows magic brought him. But can she summon enough wizardry to save her sister? Salem fears Amy’s next suicide attempt will succeed. Magic brought Aidan. Maybe it can cure Amy. Salem’s last hope lies hidden within a damaged grimoire, nearly destroyed by a wrongful love spell. Was her rightful love spell enough to restore it?
Newest Jefferson High transplant, Aidan Cooper, doesn’t expect to be attracted to a goth. Then he realizes Salem is throwing a glamour—pretending to be something she’s not. Guess it takes one to know one, since his whole life has been a lie. But if his kidnappers discover he’s broken their No Attachments rule, he’ll never see Salem again. Worse, he’s terrified they’ll harm her when they discover she possesses the ancient grimoire. To protect Salem, Aidan must destroy the grimoire, and escape his captors.
While Salem races to unlock the Get Well Spell, Aidan scrambles to overcome his past. With their star-crossed paths at odds, will time run out for both of them?
Spell Struck is available as an e-book at the following locations: