Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Open Minds Virtual Launch Party


Virtual Launch Blog Tour
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn 

Guest Post
 
The Writer’s Journey - 
Deciding to Self-Publish Open Minds (Part One)
by Susan Kaye Quinn, author of Open Minds 
(Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)


I’ve talked about my decision to self-publish my paranormal/SF young adult novel Open Minds (you can read the whole post here), but in short I made a calculated career decision to self-publish for three reasons:

1) Publisher interest in paranormal is waning, even though paranormal YA novels are still burning up the charts

2) Price control

3) Writing investment diversification

 (Plus I have to admit to a certain desire to try the shiny new gadget of self-publishing.)

My Logic Brain loves those three reasons, and they are truly the decision points that made me take the leap into self-publishing.

But finding the courage to make the leap was a whole different story. The theme of my writer’s journey to date has really been about overcoming fear, and that journey has taught me many lessons.


Fear of Sharing My Work

All good stories start at the beginning. For me, the beginning was December of 2008, when I decided to write fiction for the first time since I was a high school student passing serialized stories as furtive notes to my friends in class. But as an adult, I was terrified to share my work. It took me two months and a very encouraging phone call from my brother before I was willing to post my first stabs at writing online. For real people to actually read. The horrors! I quickly realized that in spite of the horrid quality of my craft, people didn’t care. They wanted to read the story. I also learned that having readers rocked my socks.

Lesson #1: Story matters more than craft and readers matter most of all.

Fear of Being Serious about Creative Work

Once the writing bug bit me, I was completely entranced. It was like discovering a new addiction, only more so. Writing had tapped into a creative side of me that had been dormant for many years, jolting my Creative Brain to life and sending it on a headlong rush of delirious creative work. I’m not saying the work was good, but my heavens, there was a lot of it. 

I wrote day and night. My husband wondered what had happened to me. But I couldn’t stop; didn’t want to stop. I wanted to do this writing thing full-time, forever. I had a serious identity crisis for a while: how could someone with a Ph.D. in Engineering even consider writing as a career? I had always planned to go back to work in engineering, and now I was going to be a children’s writer?? I wrestled long and hard with that decision, but Creative Brain—once unleashed—was a force to be reckoned with. 

Once again, my brother (the writer) came to my aid and said with no sarcasm that I had a moral obligation to write. That people who are capable of creating original work have an obligation to the world to do so. I completely thought he was joking. He wasn’t. It took me a long time before I finally understood what he meant. In fact, my understanding of that simple statement continues to evolve (my brother should run for Dalai Lama, in case the Dalai decides to make it an elected position).

Lesson #2: Creative work is as valuable in the world as “practical” work.

Fear of Publishing

Once I took the leap to being serious about writing, I started a novel with the intent of trying to get it published (this was Clone Runners). I got all serious about plotting and craft. I read agent and writer’s blogs. I started my own blog. And I continued to write like crazy. I entered that phase where you learn enough to know how much you REALLY don’t know. It was painful and long and arduous. And exhilarating and amazing. And mostly terrifying.

I was getting close to querying my middle grade science fiction story and was half-way through the first draft of Open Minds, when the unthinkable happened: someone (my publisher Omnific) wanted me to submit the first real novel I had written, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a teen love story). What? That wasn’t part of the plan, at all. I was going to be a SF writer, primarily MG, not a romance writer for young adults. And did I really want to take the risk of publishing with a small publisher? I had read all the blogs that said to be wary of small publishers, especially NEW small publishers (I was Omnfic’s 9th title). 

I hurriedly revised and polished this novel I had never intended to publish, submitted it, and before too long they were offering me a contract. Meanwhile, I consulted my Mission Statement (#GeekAlert), the one that I had created for my writing career, and this popped out at me:

To create a body of work ... that reaches a large number of young readers, to provide the greatest impact on young lives.

This was what I really wanted: to connect with readers. To have readers, I needed to put work out where they could buy it. I decided to take the leap and publish Life, Liberty, and Pursuit.

Lesson #3: You can’t reach readers if you don’t publish.

These lessons were just the start of finding my Writerly Path. Read on to Part Two to see the rest of the journey (and see the full story below).

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When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).

The Story of Open Minds (linked posts)


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PRIZES!
Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.)


Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)      Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post
2)      Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
Example: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. #keepingOPENMINDS @susankayequinn #SF #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

Example: Celebrate the launch of OPEN MINDS by @susankayequinn #keepingOPENMINDS #SciFi #paranormal #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

3)     Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn) 
Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes! http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

There's a lot of partying go on today! 
Follow the links and join in the celebrating! 

19 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing how you came to independently publish your book. It sounds like you really thought it out before taking the plunge. Fear is a big thing in writing. Glad you overcame it.

Good luck with your book. So excited for you.

Jemi Fraser said...

Very interesting! I love hearing about the journey's authors take to publication - thanks for sharing! :)

J.C. Martin said...

Thank you for sharing, Susan! It is true, sometimes a writer's own self-doubt is the main drawback crippling them. Hope you have every success in OPEN MINDS and the trilogy!

Old Kitty said...

Yay for overcoming your fears, Susan! Good luck with your book and your writerly journey! Sounds like you truly have exciting and wonderful times ahead!

Thanks lovely Shannon for hosting and for all these fab links!!!! Can't view them all now as I'm at work but hope to do so in the next few weeks or so!

Take care
x

salarsenッ said...

I just love hearing more and more about the OPEN MINDS journey. Susan is true genius!

Jessica Bell said...

Absolutely adore point Lesson #2! Amen!!!

Laura Pauling said...

Incredible lessons and ones we all need to learn and remember! Congrats!

Susan Fields said...

This sounds like such a wonderful book! Thanks for sharing your journey with us today, Susan!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Thanks so much for being a Party Host and letting me take over your fab blog for a day!! :)

Angela Brown said...

As someone considering the self-publishing route, this was such a helpful post. Thank you.

Cherie Colyer said...

I love that you had a mission statement. It's great to learn a little more about why you decided to self-publish.

Joanna said...

I love your reasoning. I'm focussed on picture books at the moment, so want to go the trad route, but as move into MG and YA, I am open.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Geeky as it may be, I love that you have a mission statement for yourself :)

Gail Shepherd said...

Wow, a personal mission statement. That's some serious focus.

Heather said...

Congratulations Susan! I'm so excited for you and Open Minds and I'm thrilled that you've crossed from traditional to indie. I love your lessons and #1 hits very close to home. Readers matter the most, so true!

Theresa Milstein said...

Shannon, so happy to see Susan here.

Susan, what an encouraging brother. How great he helped you get over those hurdles.

Elana Johnson said...

Great lessons! Susan, what an amazing journey. Good luck out there!

ali cross said...

I LOVE YOUR BROTHER Susan! I 100% agree with him. There were parts to your story that I didn't know ... really neat reading about your journey Sue! CONGRATULATIONS on OPEN MINDS!

DL Hammons said...

I've said it before...I'll say it again, what I love most about these blog tours is that you really get to know the author, how they work, and part of their creative inspirations. Thanks for sharing Susan...and thanks for being such a great hostess Shannon! :)

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