I’ve always been a writer, even before I knew how to write. Story-telling was in my blood, it was just something I had to do, had to share. But as I grew older, I conditioned myself to keep the stories inside for fear that I would be judged or mocked. It wasn’t until I finished writing Thief, the first novel of The Sevy Series, that I thought, “You know what? This is good. This means a lot to me, and I want other people to read it.” And thus began my quest for publication (you can read more about that journey here http://sarah-janelehoux.blogspot.ca/2010/05/honest-recap-of-how-i-got-thief.html if you’re so inclined).
Before I was published, I had this idea in my head, this persistent little fantasy that once I got published I would be legitimized, that all my hard work would pay off and I would receive enough accolades and validation…and money…to make all the frustration of rejection worthwhile.
Turns out I have a better imagination than I thought.
See, getting published is a lot like graduating from university. Woo, you have that hard earned diploma in your hands, but so what? Now it’s time to find a job and the real work begins.
One of the first things I had to come to terms with is that writing is art, but getting published is all business. I learned that I desperately needed to separate myself from my stories (my babies) and look at them through cold, objective eyes. Marketing plans, budgets, branding, organizing promotion, both online and off…whew!
I also learned that just in case your ego gets too puffed up by being able to sniff, toss your hair over your shoulder, and say, “Yes, I’m a published author,” the universe has ways of deflating you pretty damned quickly. Turns out that almost all the excited people I talked to about my contract were most likely being polite. And all the friends and family who promised to buy at least ten copies…yeah. Most didn’t even buy one, and if they did, they didn’t bother reading it. However, these same people would repeatedly ask how sales were going and how much money I was making (head meet desk).
Harder still than dealing with indifferent friends/family was trying to keep a stiff upper lip when dealing with the public. I’m not a politician, but man, it didn’t take long from me to learn to keep a smile glued to my face as people rolled their eyes when I told them the genre (apparently, fantasy still has a nerd stigma attached to it). I also learned how to keep my mouth shut when people proudly and loudly told me that they don’t like reading or asked the inevitable, “Is it like Twilight?” And I even managed to hide my exasperation when faced with that dreaded question: “What’s it about?” when I knew that anything longer than a three or four sentence synopsis would have them wishing they never asked.
So why bother? If the reality of getting published is so very different from your expectations, if the money doesn’t come close to equaling the amount of work you’ve put into it, if you are faced with obstacles at every turn, why bother trying to get published at all?
Because I’m not that little girl who’s afraid of being judged or mocked anymore. Because I trust myself and my stories, and I don’t just need to share them; I believe people need to read them. Now with the release of Masquerade, the third in The Sevy Series, I know what to expect and what’s expected of me. I know that this book—this story and these characters that are so much a part of me—is just one book among millions. But there is nothing quite like holding the work you’ve created in your hands—a real, tangible object at last instead of just a thought. There is nothing quite like having someone tell you that your words moved them, that your characters have stayed with them. It’s the best sort of high. It connects me with the world in ways I never thought possible. And it’s enough to keep me writing.
She currently resides in Southern Ontario with her husband and her horde of Machiavellian cats. In addition to her own writing, Sarah-Jane works as an editor and freelance cover artist.
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Starting over isn’t easy, especially when the world isn’t ready for you to change. Sevy, thief turned assassin turned mercenary, isn’t having any fun adjusting to a normal, law-abiding life. Luckily for her, an old partner in crime arrives with an irresistible proposition: a getaway to a tropical island, an adventure of a lifetime, and an amazing friendship ready to blossom into an even more amazing romance.
Things are looking up for Sevy. That is, until a pack of maniacal fairies with a taste for human flesh arrive on the scene.
Now she must unravel a web of magical intrigue hidden behind the outwardly idyllic atmosphere of the islands of Belakarta. Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Trapped under the spell of a handsome and mysterious stranger, Sevy must fight fairies and tricksters to regain her freedom.
Or spend an eternity as a sorcerer’s plaything.
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