In honor of Sunday’s topic, this week the hosts of #RWchat are telling our own publishing origin stories. Here’s Alexis Daria’s journey.
Where to begin? It would be easy to start last month, when everything happened at once. Or in January, when I sent out the first queries and fulls, and entered the Golden Heart®. November, when I finished the first draft. July, when I developed the proposal. Or even the last days of May 2016, when I got the first inkling for the idea and jotted down notes.
But really, this has been a long road, and I have to go back even further. Not all the way back, to when I was a pre-teen just starting to experiment with long-form stories, although even then I knew I wanted to be a published writer. But a few years, at least, to when I decided to take writing seriously and give it the same fair shot I’d given art.
::cue flashback screen wipe::
In 2013, I drafted my first romance novel, a Regency historical. This was the first time I’d gotten to “The End” on a writing project since I was a teenager writing fanfic in the early days of the Internet. I discovered that writing romance was even harder than writing historical, but it was what I wanted to do.
In 2014, I finished a paranormal romance, part of an urban fantasy series I’d started in 2008. It was meant to be book 4, but since it was done (and book 1 wasn’t), I decided to make it the first in the series.
I spent most of 2015 trying to revise the historical and the paranormal, but also outlined and drafted a light paranormal with elements of Greek mythology, meant to be part of a trilogy.
I revised and queried the Greek paranormal during the first half of 2016. (And on the side, wrote a bonkers SFR novella.) After receiving rejections (or silence) from 50 agents and entering numerous contests and pitch events, I shifted gears and drafted a contemporary romance that would become Take the Lead.
After rushing to revise and edit in time for the 2017 Golden Heart deadline, I entered Take the Lead in a bunch of contests and sent out 30 queries that winter. And then I waited.
And waited. And waited.
Fast forward to last month. March 2017 was a whirlwind of activity. (And this is where Kim’s “The First Rule of PubClub” comes into play.) The Call. Updating agents. Winning grand prize in NOLA Stars’ Suzannah Contest. Offers of rep. Signing with an agent. The Golden Heart call. Follow ups. The Suzannah trophy arriving in the mail. Accepting a publishing offer. The flu. And then, announcing the two-book deal with SMP Swerve.
It took until last week for me to realize that a dream I’ve held for 20+ years is finally coming true. I’m trying to sit with that, to soak in the feeling of celebration. Instead of focusing on all the work still to come and looking outward at new goals and dreams, I’m making an effort to celebrate within myself everything that’s happened recently. I’m getting in touch with that thirteen or fifteen year old girl who is still so much a part of me, who dreamed of publishing a book someday. I’m letting her—and me—celebrate this win at the end of a long journey.
And then I’m getting to work on book 2. Because this is only the beginning.
Golden Heart® finalist Alexis Daria’s debut contemporary romance will be released in 2017 from SMP Swerve. On Sunday evenings, Alexis co-hosts #RWchat, a weekly Twitter chat for romance writers. She also serves as PRO Liaison for the New York City chapter of RWA, and Municipal Liaison for the NYC region of National Novel Writing Month. You can find her on Twitter at @alexisdaria, and follow her blog creativestaycation.com.