Tuesday, December 9, 2014

From "The Writer's Voice" to Publication

One of the best parts of organizing online writing contests is watching new writers' journeys unfold. R.C. Hancock, who was on my team for the inaugural round of "The Writer's Voice" back in 2012, is one of those writers (and if you want to check out his entry, you can find it here). AN UNCOMMON BLUE went on to sell to Cedar Fort and officially comes out today. I invited R.C. to come back to the blog and tell us the story of how AN UNCOMMON BLUE came to be, and he graciously agreed. Three signed copies of AN UNCOMMON BLUE are also up for grabs, so don't miss those details at the bottom of the post!

I started writing after finishing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. My first novel was a 200K-word mess about a fat girl. I dumped all my insecurities into her and it read like a diary: disjointed and whiny.

After a couple years of trying to lure an agent with this “tasty” bait, my wife suggested I turn one of my short stories into a novel. The one she liked, I had written for Cricket. (They didn’t buy it.)

The seed of the idea for glowing colored palms had come to me when I was doing a writing exercise from one of my craft books. I did some research about light mixing (i.e., what do orange and green light make?) which inspired a 2K-word story with a surprise ending. (Which later inspired me to give up on my overweight baby and take Blue to new heights.)

So I did. It took about a year to write, and several years to revise and find someone who wanted to publish it.

Here are five reasons I think my second novel was more successful.

1. I’d had years of writing practice.

2. I’d read more books on the craft and learned to apply them

3. I finally connected online and received feedback and support from awesome people like Krista. (Contests rock!)

4. I realized no one wanted to represent or publish a 200K-word debut novel. (Which is why I actually had to split Blue into two different books. I still haven’t learned how to stop at a manageable length.)

5. I learned the value of beta readers. (Thanks, guys!)

As Krista can attest to, transitioning from Writer to Author is a fun change, but also bittersweet. I miss the days when I could spend my time writing whatever I wanted and not have to worry about marketing, or whether I’m hitting social media hard enough. It’s still a lot of fun, and seeing people walking around clutching your book protectively is better than heroin, but a little of the magic is gone when you’re trying to meet a deadline. (This is one reason I was happy to go with a smaller publisher: They’re much less scary when it comes to deadlines and sales numbers.)

I just have to say THANK YOU to Krista, both for picking my story out of the contest slush, helping make my query and first page better, and for pairing me with Carrie Harris, who read the whole thing in two days so I could use her endorsement on my cover. (Discovering her as an author was the best perk. She’s hilarious.)

Carrie Harris IS hilarious. Just saying.

Thank you, R.C., for sharing your story with us (and for furnishing three signed copies for our giveaway!). If YOU (not R.C.) would like to enter, just tell us in the comments that you want to win. Contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents and closes in one week, on Monday, December 15, at 11:59 p.m. EST. I'll announce the winner the next day, so if you need a last-minute gift--or, if you're like me, a perfectly on-time gift--for the YA book lover in your life, we've got your back.

26 comments:

Michelle Mason said...

Congrats, R.C.! So exciting to see success from a fellow Team Krista member. Can't wait to read AN UNCOMMON BLUE!

RC Hancock said...

You mean I can't enter?! :)
Thanks again Krista! (Can't wait to read The Sound!)

Carla Luna Cullen said...

Congratulations to a fellow Team Krista member - I'm so excited that your book is out in the world! I can't wait to read the final version of AN UNCOMMON BLUE!

e.h. bates said...

Great post! I'd love to win one of those copies!

RC Hancock said...

Thanks, Michelle! Good luck on Baker's Dozen. I loved your entry!

RC Hancock said...

Thanks Carla! Looks like you have pretty good odds of winning one. :p

RC Hancock said...

Thanks Em! (Yes, I know it's you.) haha

Melody said...

I wanna win! I could find a great set of hands they could get into!

Esther V said...

Wow. An Uncommon Blue sounds really cool. Great job, R.C. for getting this far! It gives me hope for contests like The Writer's Voice. And for being an author. I'd love to win a copy.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I've been lucky enough to read RC's story a couple times. It's fabulous - I'm so thrilled for him. I can't wait to get my own copy to put on my book shelf. Congrats on all of your hard work that has clearly paid off!!

RC Hancock said...

Thanks K! You had a huge hand in making it better. #bestCPever!

RC Hancock said...

Thanks, Esther! Yes, contest rock. Good luck!

RC Hancock said...

I hope you win, too! Hands need to be filled with things. (Especially this time of year.) :)

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for sharing your publication story, RC! I'd love to win.

Carrie Harris IS hilarious and gives great advice. Love her books and her blog!

RC Hancock said...

Thanks, Myrna. Carrie is a rock star. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd love a copy. My name is Kortney Kline and I live in Pennsylvania.

Jeff Krebs said...

I'd love to win a copy of this AWESOME book!!

Heather said...

I'd love to win. So proud of you buddy

RC Hancock said...

Thanks, Heather!!!

RC Hancock said...

Thanks Jeff! I hope you win. (Of course I've said that to several of the entrance.) haha

RC Hancock said...

Or rather, entrants. (I'd blame autocorrect, but it was just my bad spelling.)

RC Hancock said...

Hey! I live in PA too!

Jaida Hancock said...

Is it too late? I want to win!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Not too late, Jaida--you're in!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book! - Candi Thuftedal

Krista Van Dolzer said...

And that's it! I'll announce the winners first thing tomorrow morning.