Happy Saturday, everyone!
I am so excited for today’s post. Debut Author Bronwyn Eley is writing a guest post to chat with you all about the publishing process!
The publishing process is often a long and challenging road. Hopefully Bronwyn’s personal experience and post can help those looking to publish their book or future book!
The stories of success. The authors who finally got published even after a hundred rejections. Telling ourselves that there are agents and publishers out there who turned down Harry Potter. That’s what got me through the uncertainty that goes hand-in-hand with the desire to be published.
I think I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve been writing since before I can remember – I definitely believe it’s in my blood. But I also think that I suppressed that desire because it’s kind of like saying ‘I want to be a Hollywood actress’. It’s hard. It’s hard to get published and, even if you manage it, it’s hard to be a successful, not-working-at-2am-because-this-is-my-only-job-huzzah kind of author.
So what changed? What made me suddenly realise that it’s what I wanted and that I was going to go for it? For me, I think it was a two-step process. First, it was finding the right story. For years I was writing this contemporary novel (which I adore) but it wasn’t getting finished. One day I came up with the idea for Relic and I ignored it for so long, pushing to finish this other story. Finally I gave in and started on Relic. It opened a floodgate of ideas. It made me realise that fantasy was where I belonged and was what came naturally to me.
The second part was when I started working at Booktopia. My job involves me spending my days with authors – some debut, some world-wide bestsellers. Each and every single one of them inspired me in some way. Each and every one chipped away at the doubt. Sure, they brought the realities of publishing through the door with them too. Their stories of struggle were alongside their clear success. Still, it worked. On top of that, I was working in the book industry for the first time. I was reading more and learning more about what I loved. I read so many incredible books and it made me want to be part of that writing community that brought amazing stories to the world. And my colleagues definitely helped too – being able to talk about books with them and, in particular, about my book really inspired me to go for it.
So I did. And how did it start? With rejections, of course! Like many authors, I hold those rejections like a badge of honour. It’s part of the struggle! Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, right?
I remember listening to this episode of Writing Excuses (a great podcast!) in which this guest author was talking about her upcoming debut. She said that she had dozens and dozens of rejection letters before someone finally took a chance on her. And what did she do with those rejections? I’ll never forget what she said:
‘I made those rejections into a quilt and now they keep me warm at night.’
THIS. And she is not the only one. Bestselling author James Patterson wrote his first mystery at 26. It was called The Thomas Berryman Number. That book was turned down by 31 publishers. Then it won an Edgar for Best First Novel. ‘Go figure,’ he says.
After getting picked up by Talem Press, I knew I was in for an interesting ride. Through my work at Booktopia, I’m used to dealing with the major publishing houses. It’s been a very different (and positive) experience working with an indie publishing house. There are pros and cons to every situation, to every publishing house, to every decision. Right? A lot of people shy away from the smaller publishing houses but there are many important reasons why I decided Talem Press would be a good fit and a worthwhile opportunity.
It was easier for me to see these opportunities and differences because I knew so much about the backend of the publishing industry. The big publishing houses are great – don’t get me wrong – but they are not always the right fit for every author. Fantasy doesn’t have a strong foothold in Australian publishing – sad but true. This was one thing that drew me to Talem Press, the fact that they solely publish fantasy titles. Finally – here was a publishing house that understood just how bloody fantastic fantasy was to give it the time of day! Finally! I’m not saying that the bigger publishing houses don’t publish fantasy – but it’s definitely not their top priority, unless you’re George RR Martin or Sarah J Maas.
The process has been like I expected – it’s both fun and hard work. It’s both stressful and exciting. It’s both the first step and the first step. Meaning, it’s great to get your foot in the door of publishing because for most authors it is a long and hard process. It’s the first step in a long journey. You have to work at it. Most authors don’t get success overnight. Most authors have to work for years and years before they can do this full-time and some never even get there. That doesn’t mean they’re not successful – not at all! – but if it’s the goal, it’s worth acknowledging that it can take a while.
I currently have three jobs – including my authoring – so for the meantime I write at night after work and on the weekends. Luckily, I love it enough that it’s not work for me! Editing is my favourite part – weirdly? I take a lot of pleasure in it. Sometimes it’s hard cutting scenes out or creating new ones from scratch to fit in with your pre-existing scenes but… editing is writing too! This is something a wonderful writer friend of mine said and she hit the nail on the head. As long as I’m writing, I’m happy.
I’ve been told many things from authors over the years – believe in yourself, work at your craft, read more books – all the clichés are clichés for a reason. It’s because they work.
Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you. Australian author Jay Kristoff says that this is key because you’ll have enough self-doubt without adding external doubt to it too. If you have people or friends around you who are not supportive or who don’t believe in you… I’m not going to say get rid of them but definitely distance yourself! You don’t need that kind of negativity.
Work at your craft… work, work, work! Writing one day a week or a few times a month isn’t going to cut it. You should be writing every day, creating new ideas all the time, thinking about it during meetings (oops) and definitely reading lots of books. Not just books in the genre you write, but books in all genres. Think of it like studying (but without the negativity around studying) – it’s research!
Start saying when I get published, not if I get published. This is something I started to do early on and it was a very important step in allowing myself to believe it was possible. So when you get published, remember that you earned this opportunity but it is not to be wasted! You must work harder than you ever have in your life. It’s not just about writing and editing, you have to promote yourself constantly and be willing to put yourself out there. If writing is who you are, you will be ready to live and breathe it as I am.
So when you get published, I will see you around, fellow authors!
About the Book
In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.
As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.
It’s an appointment that will kill her.
As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.
A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…
As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.
Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series.
About The Author
Bronwyn joined the military right out of high school, where she learnt (among other things) to disassemble and reassemble a rifle blindfolded. After that she spent a lot of her time travelling around the world. Her favourite places (so far) are Scotland, Mongolia, Iceland and Ireland.
Bronwyn finally found her natural habitat when she landed her first job in the publishing industry. While she has always been a writer, it was only when surrounding herself with books that she realised her life’s dream was to become an author. Relic is her first novel.
Bronwyn lives in Sydney and spends her time eating chocolate, reading and practising her martial arts.
Buy the Book
Let’s Chat in the Comments!
Are you hoping to publish a book one day? What other questions do you have about the publishing process?