Two Weeks of Tears and Triumph

That title sounds pretty epic, no? That’s because these past two weeks have been epic as hell for me. While the Earth was spinning and everyone was living out their lives, while the Universe went on, completely indifferent to my existence, my own personal world crashed and burned. And then was risen from its ashes like the cliched awakening of a Phoenix. And it’s pretty much been a roller coaster of substantial extremes.

Anxiety, depression, and I guess my own subconscious refusal to fully become an adult all contributed to the emotional breakdown I experienced on my favorite holiday of the year: HALLOWEEN. I won’t go into detail, but I pretty much realized I was being a terrible person to someone I deeply care for, and that person was kind of pushed to their limits… That triggered my anxiety so that I didn’t want to be around people, and my depression so that I didn’t want to leave bed and face the world beyond my warm comforter.

But, I managed to pull my shit together, and I started adulting. And things are looking up. I’m making a conscious effort to better myself as a person. I’m also making progress in learning to drive! (Yes. I am 23 years old, and I’m a scaredy cat. But, this isn’t Tokyo or Moscow, so, unfortunately, car > public transport.)

Now we enter week two, and yesterday proved to be a huge moment for me. I published The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco!!! Look. I’d been working on this novel for almost three years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve edited it and had others read it. Peers, adults, teenagers, professors. Friends, family, acquaintances, strangers. I spent months submitting to literary agents, and editing, and submitting again, etc, etc.

Eventually, I realized that my baby — my brainchild! — is probably not what agents are looking for right now, no matter how polished it is. No matter how much blood, sweat, and tears I put into making my characters feel real and believable. So, I took matters into my own hands. Self-publishing! I mean, I’m a little wary about self-published works. Anyone can publish a book nowadays. Throw together any old crappy story and you’re good to go. There’s no literary filter. For that reason, self-published books get a bad rep. And I really really really really wanted my baby to be published by an actual publishing company. Alas.

Such is life….

But I’d come too far to give up on it. So yes. It’s out there now. I only need to figure out to market it. At this moment, I’ve sold a grand total of one book. (Le sigh.) I mean, yeah, the print version is available here for $11.99, but I’m only getting $2 in royalties from that! And I paid $120 for the cover art!! (which was done by the lovely, talented Joye Cho. Really, her work is worth waaaaaaay more than $120. If you don’t believe me, check out her DeviantArt: JoyeCh0.)

But if you’re really that cheap (or poor, like me), then there’s a Kindle version available here for $2.99 (FREE if you have Amazon Prime).

Anyway. It’s not so much about the money. I know I’m not going to get rich off this book. But, I know this book needs to be out there. And I know what you’re thinking. Every author thinks their book is special. Why should I buy your pile of crap?

Because I’m not deluded >____> I’m my own worst critic, and there are soooo many works I’ve written that I am determined never, ever to have published, even posthumously. Ahem.

I know that The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco deserves to be read and loved.

And yeah, I may be bragging a little, but damn it, I think I deserve it. I have literally been passionate about writing stories since I was four years old. In college, I was in creative writing classes and workshops with juniors and seniors who couldn’t make coherent paragraphs, who apparently had no idea what a run-on sentence was, who thought they could get away with being a writer without having to read books, etc etc. I could go on.

I worked my ass off. 

In fact, in one of my classes, my professor tore up my work so much that I went back to my dorm and cried. I contemplated skipping the next class. But I sucked it up, made an epic revision, and turned it in. The very next day, my professor walked into class raving about how good it was and telling the class that they should read it.

So. Yes. After all that, I’ve sold a grand total of one book.

Quite humbling. And a little disheartening. (Very disheartening.)

And for the most part, it seems like I’m the only one who thinks this is a big deal. (Well, my parents kind of think it is, but, I mean, they have to. They’re my parents.)

I was so invested in this story that I thought its publication would be more spectacular than it actually was. But it was a normal day. Because in the grand scheme of things, Bastien Falco is just a blip in my personal social circle.

So. Yes. And on top of this, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken job searching, learning to drive, and gathering all the materials I need for the JET Program (which I just sent off today! God, what a load off my shoulders).

I miss dancing ballroom as much as I did. I miss competing in collegiate ballroom comps with my boyfriend and winning ribbons. I miss having money. Like, student money from my nice, cushy student jobs.

In other words, the theme of these past two weeks has been: Suck. It. Up.

Or, as better said by Utada Hikaru, Keep Trying. 

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THE TIME IS NOW

I posted this in my writing blog, but you know what? I’m going to post it here, too, because it’s damn important.

A number of good and/or popular books have gone on to achieve success after a number of rejections from publishers and agents, such as Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Gone with the Wind, Carrie, Little Women, Animal Farm, and Dune. 

I’m not comparing my work to those brilliant novels, nor am I saying I’m as good as any of the authors who wrote them.

However, it does offer a glimmer of hope.

I’ve written some terrible things — and after they were rejected, I’d eventually look at them and think, Lol, yeah, they were right. This is complete shit.

But, not this. Not The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco. I know this book needs to be in people’s homes and read. This manuscript needs to see the light of day, and after over two years, I’m not giving up on it. I’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into this baby, and I edited the hell out of it. It’s been both praised and torn apart by beta readers and creative writing workshops.

I spent countless hours just world-building and filling my notebook up with notes.

These characters are very dear to me, and I’m not giving up on them. I have a host of unfinished works or works that I never really spent much time on, but whenever I thought about giving up on this novel, I had friends who urged me to keep going. I mean, honest friends. (Believe me, if my writer friends think something is shitty, they will say so. That’s why we’re all good writers.)

So, after so many rejections, I began to wonder. Is it me? Do my queries suck? Does my novel suck? Is this just not the type of fantasy that agents are looking for? Is the fantasy market just that over saturated?

Countless Google searches never fully answered my questions. I revised my queries I don’t know how many times. I stayed up late researching the agents I was querying to, to see what they liked.

But no more.

I’m going to do this myself. So, I looked into Smashwords and CreateSpace. I looked into where to send my novel to get it reviewed. And, I asked an artist friend if she would want to draw the cover art for me. In the past, she charged $30 for each picture. Below are her stunning interpretations of a few of my female characters:

Princess Ayla The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Princess Ayla

Anna the Assassin, and Thief, from The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Anna

Winter Zu from The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Winter

Gorgeous, right? (Check out her work on DeviantArt. Username is JoyeCh0.)

However, most artists charge more for works that contain more than one character, and for works that receive revenue. Understandably so!! So, I asked her how much, and she said for all four of my main characters, it would come up to about $120.

That’s so reasonable, I could cry.

But… I’m also dirt poor. (Seriously, my house is falling apart.)

And I’m a recent graduate with a shitty job situation. Yay.

I’m really struggling and grasping at straws here, guys. I’m also looking to raise $100 for promo costs.

I mean, the internet is a vast place. If I could get one dollar from 220 people, I would be so super set.

I started with friends and family first. I asked my parents also to help me reach out to others. So far, I’ve raised $45.

I’M SO CLOSE I CAN ALMOST TASTE IT.

taste

Look, this is painful, guys. I hate asking for money. But if I don’t get this work out there, I’m going to lose my mind.

Much to my chagrin, I created a GoFundMe, which can be found here.

Any dollar helps, really.

And, I’m giving donors free copies of the book as a thank-you and as proof of what exactly their money has done to.

Thank you in advance. ❤