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Happy Monday Everyone! I have some good news. Literary Rambles made Global English Editing's Top 120 Most Helpful Websites for Writers. You can check it out and see other great resources if you want.

Today I'm excited to have debut author Kristy Acevedo here to share about her YA science fiction CONSIDER. It sounds really good and is on Barnes and Noble's 13 Most Anticipated Science Fiction YA of 2016 list.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

As if Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear from the sky, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet they say is on a collision course with earth. How’s that for senior year stress?

The holograms, claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.

To stay or to go. A decision must be made.

With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.

So here's Kristy!

My Excited and Frazzled Debut Author Experience: In 10 Stages

This year has been the most amazing year of my life. Here's my brutally honest and wonderful experience so far.  My one year journey to publication.

*Please note that these stages are not linear and may return at any time.

Stage 1: The Call to Adventure

This is the first stage, arguably the best stage, when you get the call every writer waits to hear.  Either by an agent or editor, who raves about your manuscript and offer a publication contract. For me, it all started with Brenda Drake's #PitMad in March 2015.

#PitMad is a Twitter hashtag that runs four times a year where writers pitch their edited manuscripts in 140 characters, and if any editors, publishers, or agents favorite their pitch, they should submit according to that person's guidelines ASAP.

My Twitter pitch: If a hologram said it could save your life, would you believe it? #YA #SFF #PitMad

One little favorite led to a publishing offer ten days later. (This is rare, but it's also why you should only participate if your manuscript is finished.)  I sent the first three chapters, and two days later got an email to send the full manuscript.

It was a Saturday morning when I received THE CALL. TJ da Roza said that Jolly Fish Press was offering to publish my YA sci-fi manuscript, Consider and its unwritten sequel. My brain stopped functioning at that point. 

If that wasn't awesome enough, less than a week later, I got another phone call that my manuscript was one of the winners of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children's Book Discovery Award . Talk about an amazing week!

I hired a Literary Contract Consultant to review the terms and negotiate on my behalf.  And in April 2015 I signed with Jolly Fish Press. I framed the original contract near my desk, a reminder that this was real.

Stage 2: The Fog

Immediately following the call and contract, a mental fog rolls in. In this stage, you become
completely unaware of your body. You live in your daydreams. The fog stage messes with your sense of gravity. I started walking into walls.  If I tried to drive somewhere, I took the scenic, I-forgot-where-I-was-going route.

No one in my daily life other than a handful of people knew yet.  It felt weird that something could shift my world so dramatically and not affect others.  I reminisced about my weekly trips to the library as a child, reading books at a campsite when everyone else was playing. Writing poetry and stories and dreaming that someday I could be an author.  And now I was actually going to be a published author.  My mind could not wrap around this new reality.

So it started worrying, Was it a dream? Is something gonna fall apart? Will my publisher go under, or my editor switch jobs before my book releases? This can't possibly be my life.

Stage 3: Public Exposure

Then comes the press release and people in your community discover the news.  They will treat you like you could be the next J.K. Rowling, like you won the lottery, or like you are a space alien living among them.  Or they won't care. Or they will ask for an immediate copy, as if publishing a book is a magical, overnight process.

On a Sunday during teacher appreciation week, my two-book publishing deal was huge news sprawled across the front page of the local Standard Times since I'm an English teacher at a large, urban high school.

At Dunkin' Donuts that morning, the drive-thru girl said, "Aren't you the lady in the paper?"
I nodded, and she yelled to her co-workers, "See! I told you she comes here in the morning. That's so awesome!"

At work, colleagues and students also voiced their congratulations.  Social media congratulations. Neighbors and old friends and local radio stations. Your emotions swing from inner pride to utter embarrassment. You will ask yourself, What have I done to my life? I just wanted to write.

Stage 4: Imposter Syndrome

You will suddenly have clout as a writer. People will ask you for tips and advice as if you've become an expert in the creative writing field overnight.  You begin to get requests for blog interviews and to read in public.

It's unnerving at first, even as an English teacher for over fifteen years with a master's degree in English. Students never listened to me like this before when I talked writing. 

For my first interviews, I remember thinking,  You want to interview me? Me, from my little basement apartment with four of us crammed inside?

In May, I was asked to read from Chapter 1 at Simmons College in Boston for the award ceremony. It was the first time I had to read my writing in public. Yikes.  The whole time my book vacillated from genius to stupid in my mind.

Stage 5: Joining the Club

As a traditional, debut author, you have access to join that year's debut group to help support each other through the ups and downs of publishing your first book.  I highly recommend it.

I joined the Sweet Sixteen group for 2016 YA and MG authors, and they have been amazing people to know online.  Last I checked there were over 150+ of us. I love seeing their debut books appear in bookstores as they release. There's nothing more valuable than having other debut authors share the behind-the-scene experience with you so you, and your book, don't feel so alone.

Stage 6: Editing Stage

There's a worry in beginning the editing stage that even though your editor loved your manuscript enough to publish it, that he or she will expect major changes which affect the integrity of your story.  I've heard such nightmares about the editing stage, and I wondered if my editor really understood the project.

Thankfully, my editor and I click creatively. He truly understood the project and respected my vision for it. He listened to my concerns.  He had no major overhauls or deleted scenes and offered great ideas to make the story shine.  But yes, I went through several rounds of Word files with over 400+ comments to address from him. By the end of it, I was so sick of my manuscript I never wanted to read my story again.  This helped me separate emotionally from it.

Stage 7: Disillusionment

This stage begins slowly with insults disguised as compliments, such as "Oh, it's a young adult novel. For teens. So it's not a real novel."

And the entitled, "Can you hook me up with your publisher once I finish my draft?"

As your anger builds, family members start to roll their eyes at the mere mention of your book. You have been living with a one track mind, and the people who live with you have had enough. 
Then something happens during the marketing, social media, interviews, working on next book stage, ARCs, first reviews, endless trips to the post office, lack of money, growing stress, barely functioning in the day job, squeezing in family life and forgetting friends...

You crack. You cry. You tell your loved ones you can't do it. You are not a superhero. You feel like you are working three jobs, and you can't afford to quit your day job.  You are spending more money on marketing than you've made so far on writing.

You have the existential crisis: Is the dream worth it?
And you come up with the immediate answer: Totally.

I embraced the messy artist in my failing life stage.  I skipped showers, stopped doing household chores, rocked the frizzy bun.  Yes, I felt like the worse mom ever, but we lived.  I kept reminding myself that this short stage in my life living in chaos was just that--short term.

I started a bullet journal which allowed me to set daily and monthly tasks on an ever-evolving list rather than using a standard agenda.  It helped me survive the organized chaos. I learned to create balance in my life and say no. I learned to practice mindfulness and go for walks.

Stage 8: Cover Reveal

You dream of what your book cover will look like, the same way you wonder what your children will look like. You can't really picture it, but you still catch yourself daydreaming about the possibilities.
And then...your cover appears in your email. 

I fell in love at first sight, and even months later when my publisher tweaked the colors, I only fell deeper.

Stage 9: Wearing the Author Cloak

This stage sneaks up on you.  It's the antidote to the Imposter Stage.  You slowly start to accept being a published writer as part of your identity.  It's not an arrogant phase; it's a humbling and grateful sense of embracing a new chapter in your life as a writer. When you set time in your schedule for writing, others respect it more.  You delegate tasks to others who have been dying to help share in the journey.  You read a great, early review and smile.  You are invited to attend events as an author.  People ask for your autograph on bookmarks and ARCs.

I knew I hit this stage when I no longer had an embarrassing sense of fear and rejection when I approached a local librarian with a handful of promo materials and introduced myself and my book. Students asked me advice on how to write novels, and I responded with instant, practical advice wearing my invisible author cloak.

Stage 10: Debut Book Launch

As I write this, I haven't reached this stage yet. Consider, my debut YA sci-fi, releases on April 19, 2016 with Jolly Fish Press. The sequel, Contribute, is set for November 2016.  Of course, I imagine it to be a place of rainbows and happiness, where crowds line up outside a store to get a signed copy of my debut.

In reality, I'll be grateful to have a small crowd of eager readers.
In reality, I might experience all stages simultaneously.

Thanks for all your advice, Kristy! You can find Kristy at:

Read first, full chapter preview of Consider at kristyacevedo.com

Kristy has generously offered a copy of CONSIDER when it comes out in April. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through April 9th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This giveaway is for U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Elizabeth Briggs and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FUTURE SHOCK.

Wednesday that week I have an agent spotlight interview with Elana Roth Parker and a query critique giveaway. 

The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Lindsay Eager and a giveaway of her MG magical realism HOURS OF THE BEES.

Friday that week I'll be participating in the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop!

Hope to see you on Monday!


Christine Rains said...

Wonderful post. Congratulations to Kristy! I know these stages, and you've described them perfectly. And they go in cycles!

Julie Walters said...

I love some of these stages daily and although I am still editing my manuscript, I feel like an impostor everyday. Thank you for this post!

Greg Pattridge said...

What an honest and heartfelt journey to become a published author. So many lessons. Thanks for sharing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, Kristy. Yes, those stages sound familiar.
And big congratulations to Literary Rambles!

cleemckenzie said...

Huge applause to Literary Rambles on being in the top. Of course, that's exactly where this site belongs. You always have the best and so helpful posts.

Here's to Kristy on her journey into the published world.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Congratulations, Literary Rambles, on being one of the Top Most Helpful websites for writers! But we already knew that. Kristy's book sounds compelling.

Bish Denham said...

What a great premise! Congratulations. And thanks for sharing the story of your journey to publication.

S.P. Bowers said...

Congrats on making the most helpful website list! Not a surprise at all as your website has helped me immensely, but I'm very happy for you.

Congrats on the book, Kristy! I loved the 10 stages. They're exactly right.

Karen Lange said...

Congratulations on making that list, Natalie! That is exciting news. Thanks for sharing this interview with Kristy. I enjoyed reading the "stages", particularly the one about editing. For some reason that's been on my mind this week. :)

I'll pass on the giveaway. Really working hard to make a dent in my TBR pile. Enjoy the week!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Kristy and Natalie. Thanks Kristy for this wonderful post.
I had read about your book on your publishers website and fell in love with it. I like the idea of Holograms.

Caitlin said...

How exciting!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for sharing your journey, Kristy! I loved the pure honesty - because yes, I've felt most of that, even though I'm self-published. (That usually produces another round of eye rolls and a few requests that I publish other people's books for them, and edit, and . . .) I love your blurb and I'm so glad you've experienced such wonderful success on your book (even before it hits the bookstores)! Congrats!
P.s. I would love to win a copy, and will review. tyreantigger@gmail.com

Rosi said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing all this. Please let someone else win. Still moving.

Danielle H. said...

I love this post--thanks for sharing your story! I shared it on my tumblr:http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/141907871857/literary-rambles-kristy-acevedo-guest-post-and

jpetroroy said...

This is such a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing your journey.

BranwenOShea said...

Congrats to Literary Rambles and Kristy!

Carl Scott said...

This sounds like a great read for the coming Summer. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I follow by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
I also tweeted a link: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/714902990218354688
Have a great day!

abnormalalien said...

Congrats on the award. This has become my archive-searching find-out-everything-possible site while I wait for other blogs to update. Also congrats new author! The book sounds like fun and the interview was helpful...I wondered if the thinly disguised insults ever go away.

One Tick to Be Sick said...

Loved reading Kristy's list and hope to win--Consider sounds like a book right up my alley!

Cynthia said...

Congratulations to Kristy on her new book! I've heard of #PitMad although I've never participated in it before. I'm glad it was a positive experience for Kristy.

Oltremamma said...

This post is awesome! Congrats to Kristy, the book sounds great. I loved reading all the stages, you made it all sound so...real!

Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

Congrats, Kristy! I can only imagine all the stages you describe, but I wish you all the best!

And thanks for the chance to win!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun adventure! ;)

Carol Riggs said...

I love the sound of this book!!! Congrats and best wishes for the release (and I hope I WIN!--can I say that "aloud"? lol) Great post, thanks for hosting, Natalie!!

Julie said...

This post is great! I look forward to reading consider!

mshatch said...

Excellent interview. I adore scifi so this book is definitely one I would want to read. Congratulations Kristy!

Unknown said...

I loved this guest post - Kristy is so funny! I am definitely unshowered, do few chores, and rock the frizzy bun for a year now. There just aren't enough minutes in the day to do all the marketing you have to, not to mention trying to write new things. I wish Kristy huge success with her new book - it's sounds awesome! :)

TBM said...

Oh the life of the writer. Ups and downs. Stress. Fear. Excitement. It's never ending.

Stephen Tremp said...

Wow! What a roller coaster of emotions. But such as the life of a writer. Best wishes to Kristy and her book Consider!

DMS said...

Not only does this sound like a great book, but I so enjoyed the guest post. I loved reading about the different stages- but I especially liked the part about Dunkin Donuts! How cool! Wishing Kristy the best of luck. :)

Nas said...

I loved this guest post...the stages sound like a lot of what other authors say.
But yay! You've done it! Congratulations Kristy!

Anonymous said...

I remember the mental fog earlier in my career. It feels so unreal after all the struggle. Holograms sound fascinating and since I've had anxiety, I think it's great to see it represented in fiction.

Natasha said...

Consider sounds like an amazing read!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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piedad said...


Writers Hub said...

Congrats Casey and Natalie for making it to the list, and Kristy on the book. Makes me proud to be a writer and inspires me greatly! :)

Writers Hub