Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#IWSG My Breaking Point



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What do you do when the Book Distributor tells you you're book is NOT marketable?

Yep, that was me 3 years ago. I was thrilled when Darkspell released back in 2011. It is a YA Paranormal Romance and here is the blurb:



Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary . . . until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.
As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magickal realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.

It had been doing very well! I broke well over even with the books I had ordered for signings and so forth, but I thought how much better it would be if I ran it over to the local distributor and get him to distribute my books throughout the state? Yes, I came from a very small publisher and I was left to my own devices as any indie author is.

So I dropped my book off and when I returned a few weeks later, he told me that my book was NOT marketable. What? Oh, I held myself up by a sheer will of power and smiled and nodded as he spoke while trembling and screaming and crying inside.

He told me the market is saturated with fantasy and I need to get realistic fiction out and to change Darkspell's cover.

Dread clutched me and I thought, "write realistic fiction?" I'm a fantasy writer! I write about elves, witches, vampires, magic and dwarves and talking falcons and Greek gods! How in the world will I ever come up with something that has nothing to do with any of these things?

Needless to say, I lost my writerly soul for a loooong time. I cried and cried, wondering how I would do what he said and how in the world my book wouldn't be marketable.

After about a week of mulling over my options (though it took years to put myself back together)--and since writing is my first love, I'd never give up. I had seriously questioned if I should even keep up with my writing career because of the devastation, but after taking it to the Lord and being told to keep on going, I tried my hand in realistic fiction

Guess what? I am quite surprised that I have the ability to write outside of fantasy!

I've written 3 realistic fiction books and have been inspired to write even more--though I have written several  fantasy as well. It was one of the harshest ways to change, I am grateful to him because if he hadn't had broken me down, I would not have written the great books I have now.

Have you had any broken moments that changed your direction?

32 comments:

  1. I'm sorry that happened to you, but at least you got something good out of it by writing realistic fiction. I try to keep my mind open--I used to write only fantasy but now I write more realistic fiction, but I'm also mapping out a fantasy book for the first time in years. I think it's better not to limit yourself.

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    1. You're right, I've learned that it's good to be able to write in other genres. I don't know how else I would've learned otherwise? :)

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  2. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing this very personal, but inspiring post! As a teacher, I often had to deliver tough news of one form or another, and I was always aware of how I did it. Okay, so you have to knock someone hard, but you should always help them save face and most important, build them up and show them the way forward. But then teachers were never in it for making $$$! When I get knocked, I try to see the situation from the knocker's perspective, and sometimes that helps. But what I've learned most is to Belive-in-Myself. Kuddos to you for doing so and for getting some higher support!

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    1. What wonderful insight as a teacher! Thanks for sharing this. Ironic how you say that teachers are not in it for the money. Same goes for authors! It's for the love of writing, because making money is not very significant unless it's written in the stars! :P

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  3. Awesome, Elizabeth! Although considering what is popular right now, that distributor didn't have a clue.
    Still stuck in space opera I'm afraid. Just my comfort zone.

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  4. Wow, what an ordeal to go through. I'm glad you kept on writing since that was what was in your heart to do. I have to say, I would have had an entirely different reaction to the distributor's words, though. I would have been mad and thought, "Who are you to tell me what to write?" Everyone should write what he/she loves most, and if that is fantasy, then write fantasy. People who love fantasy stories (myself included) are always looking for more, and as far as I'm concerned, there can never be enough fantasy books. Good stories will always find a home. I think if you believe in yourself and in your stories, others will too, and I hope you won't let one bad experience keep you from doing what you love.

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    1. You're right! A good book will always find a home. There is something for everyone out there. It has taught me to move from my comfort zone and shown me that I can write outside of it, too.

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  5. I cannot help but disagree with that dude. Seems to me like a LOT of YA is fantasy-driven.

    BUT, if it helped you as a writer... that is all that matters!

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    1. Yes, young readers love the escapism they find in fantasy!

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  6. Wow, that was one mean, harsh man. I'm not sure he was correct but if it helped you to a better writing place I'm glad for you.

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  7. What an inspiring story! Congrats on finding a new side to your voice.

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    1. It was there, buried deep. Yay! Thank you. :)

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  8. They should have said that they preferred not to try to market the book. Anything is marketable in the hands of the creative marketer. I do understand the point they made about your book. Personally I prefer reading more realistic books.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Everyone has their niche in reading, and fantasy has its target audience as well. Looking back, I am grateful to him, however blunt he was--that way, I could write for you, too!

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  9. There are tons of fantasy lovers out there, and I'm one of them. But it's good to hear you managed to pull yourself together and didn't let it destroy you for good. I thought the book sounds (and looks) really good.

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    1. Thank you! It did take a lot to pull myself together. <3

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  10. I had to laugh because I had a very similar experience with an agent. During a conference I signed up for a one-on-one with an agent and submitted the first five pages of the book I was writing. I expected criticism (I knew the book wasn't were it needed to be) and was looking forward to getting feedback from an "industry expert" but what I got was:

    "I wouldn't be able to sell your book to a publisher. The Urban Fantasy market is bloated. You should think about changing genres."

    It was soul crushing. It took me almost a month before I went back to work on my book. But in the end I decided it didn't matter. I was writing because I loved the story. I've published it and have moved on to the next book. Was it a best seller? No. But it did/is selling. I'm working on the next book, and that's what matters. WRITE. EDIT. PUBLISH. (REPEAT)

    Good luck. I'm glad to hear you didn't let some flippant comment put you off writing!

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that you were faced with the same thing. It is very soul crushing! If only we knew each other then, I would so put my arms around you and help you get through it. But we're stronger now, and better! ((HUGS)) Thank you so much for sharing this. <3

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  11. Thats just messed up! the YA market LOVES fantasy!

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  12. I've had a few moments like that. It seems like when I've gotten really discouraged or wanted to give up, I've had moments of inspiration that changed my course. Good for you writing something different! I write both realistic and fantasy as well, and I smiled to see you write about falcons (so do 1). Good luck with your new projects!

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    1. Thank you, Jenni! <3 I read someone's blog today on writing from the heart and hang rules! I forgot who it was! :( But so true, wouldn't you agree?

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  13. Personally, I love the cover. But kudos for getting out of your comfort zone and writing something different. Not everyone could've done that!

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    1. Thank you! It did take a lot of brain churning and burning...

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  14. I have no words what to say about that moron...except he is a moron who probably thought 50 shades of Gray was written by Tolstoy. I read on someone else's blog a while ago that J.K. Rowling was declined something like 30 times?? Maybe 20?? but it was alot. The proud thing is you made that idiot's comment into a positive and found something anew! You were able to regenerate but I hope, from what I read it seems true, that you keep writing fantasy as that is never going to leave. I just have to say-you are a pretty lady-love the necklace in your picture. Yup I just talk as I think:)

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    1. Thank you for the compliment! I should talk as I think. I feel we live in fear of hurting others or being judged, but I do love an honest person. <3

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  15. Your story is inspiring, but I do hope you have not abandoned your first passion and love ... because while, as writers, we need to be flexible and learn different skills, it's also true that the best stories come from the heart. That the market is saturated has been said over and over again of all possible genres. I frankly don't see fantasy disappearing from the shelves any time soon. Readers are always on the look out for the next great book.

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    1. Thank you--I love writing with all of my heart, my passion for it has not died! So true about fantasy vanishing--it's been around since before Tolkien! <3

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  16. My daughter is an English teacher for grades 10-12 and all the teens want fantasy books!!!!! Keep up your writing!!

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    1. Kids LOVE fantasy! I can't imagine a world without it...

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