Oh The Places You’ll Go

by Ashlynmathews on December 18, 2012

What If Coming 3/13The more that you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go! ~ Dr. Seuss

I have to say this week was a roller coaster ride of excitement, disappointment, sadness and a renewed sense of purpose. For the past two weeks, I’ve been working with Gilded Heart Design to design the cover for my second novella in the Willowbrook series, What If. Imagine how excited I was when I saw the mockup; I wanted to share right away. And the final? The final cover totally exceeded my expectations. When I revealed the cover on my Facebook author page, everyone raved about how gorgeous it was. Interesting how my next release, My Fallen, a paranormal romance, didn’t get the same attention. Why was that? Was it the timing of the post? Or did the cover for What If captivate at first sight?

This week I received the print edition of my debut paranormal romance, Shadow Watcher. It felt great to finally hold the evidence of my hard work. I remember endless nights of rewrites and how numb my fingers and ass got from typing so much and sitting in one spot for too long.

I also remember the tears I cried at each rewrite because along the way I lost secondary characters I’d fallen in love with while simultaneously I “saw” my hero and heroine grow before my eyes to become the strong and great characters they are now in the final version.

Yet in my excitement was disappointment. Traditionally published, I expected more from the print version of Shadow Watcher. I won’t go into the details of the whys. Just know the circumstances from that disappointment led to sadness for what I had hoped had been the best choice made when I had accepted the first contract I received from a publisher. I won’t say the choice was a mistake. We all learn through our mistakes. And I’ll always be grateful to my publisher for taking a chance on me, a new author.

For a while, I mulled and simmered over my choices. You see, the Willowbrook Series is my venture into self-publishing. For the cover of What If, I chose my own stock photos. I knew what I wanted because as the author, I understood the tale being told — a Cinderella story about a woman who goes to a masquerade party on New Year’s Eve to reinvent herself only to realize her web of lies could jeopardize her chances of capturing her modern prince’s heart.

The cover for My Fallen, designed by my publisher, was definitely not what I had envisioned for a gritty and sensual love story between a Vampire Slayer and a Fallen, a special kind of demon. Still, I hope readers will look past the cover and read the story. But I have to admit, the guy on the cover is hot. My friend said it best, “He looks like he’ll jump out of the cover and eat my soul.” Okay . . .

After sitting on my feelings for a few days, I finally had a long talk with two of my best friends in the world. They give it to me straight. There’s no coddling, no bullshitting, no ego stroking from either of them. After “the talk,” I realize I have choices. WE ALL have choices. So I made a choice and hopefully in four weeks, I’ll have good news to share.

Like Dr. Seuss said, the more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. By constantly reading and learning about publishing — traditional and indie — I believe I can steer myself toward the best opportunity, but with one catch. My steering is limited by what I know NOW. Find me in a year, five or ten years and I might be on the same or a different road. Or out of the game all together, satisfied to see someone else do the driving and me in the passenger seat reading others’ works instead of writing stories. We’ll see. The future holds promise and hope.

Song of the week: Kelly Clarkson Catch My Breath

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda December 19, 2012 at 4:29 am

This ain’t a game for the faint of heart, THAT’S for sure. Keep your head up and your eyes forward towards your goal, and the places you’ll go will FAR exceed your imaginings.

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Ashlynmathews December 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Thank you Brenda! You’ve been my constant cheerleader in all of this and I feel so blessed to have met you on Twitter of all places. Happy holidays to you and your family! Can you believe next week is Christmas?

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Maggie Jaimeson December 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

Ashlyn, I hear you on the disappointment. I felt the same way on my first traditional book with a digital first press. However, the experience is one that prepares you for larger things–if you want to go there traditionally. Big press publishers don’t always meet expectations either. Like everything in life it’s a tradeoff of what the publisher gives you versus what you can and are willing to do yourself. It is also a good lesson in speaking up and asking questions, negotiating for something better.

Hang in there. I agree with Brenda: “Keep your head up and your eyes forward toward your goal.” That is excellent advice.

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Ashlynmathews December 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Maggie,
I think the first book is where a lot of authors learn the hardest lessons. If I had to do it over, I would have spoken up more but the daunting task of having to do a rewrite was my priority while getting publish was the dream that kept me from speaking up sooner. Now I know better and if I do sub to a different publisher, I think I’m a bit wiser from this experience. Thank you for commenting. I learn a lot from you!

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