It’s October 2019, which means my YA novel Facing Up is having a birthday! It’s reached the grand old age of five, and I thought that was worthy of a blog post 🙂
Facing Up was the second manuscript I started, but the first one I finished. It’s not polished writing and I look back at all the things I could change, but I’m quite proud of it. The characters still resonate in my head and it was alright for a first effort!
Here’s the blurb:
“Metal crunched, screamed as the force sent bodies in all directions. Instant stink of burnt rubber, glimpse of an arm flying up.
Only the signpost slamming into the side window stopped Carly’s momentum. Glass crunched. Then there was nothing.”
Since the car accident, Carly hasn’t changed that much. She’s still yelling at her family, rebelling, alienating most people. Only now she has reasons to be angry.
The guy she liked is heading to jail for causing the accident. His mate was killed. Carly’s best friend Suzie is now wheelchair-bound. And a complete stranger is dead.
Life sucks, and Carly’s coping the only way she can.
If she can’t pull herself together, everything will fall apart. But what can you do when your face is half full of tiny glass pieces?
The anniversary has made me think a lot about the past five years. Have I achieved much since then? Well, I didn’t sell huge numbers of books, that’s for sure – but I only have a handful of paperbacks left out of the print run of 100 I did back then. The eBook isn’t on the bestseller list on Amazon, either, but then those lists can be read in various ways, depending on how far down the category rabbit-hole you travel!
I’ve wondered in the past if I made a mistake self-publishing Facing Up when I did. But no, it’s been part of my learning curve. In earlier drafts it was rejected by a number of publishers and agents. Once I’d had a manuscript assessment, re-written a lot of it and had several people read it, self-publishing (or indie publishing) was taking off and when a friend asked if I’d considered it (Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series was making waves at the time via Amazon) I investigated and thought why not?
So I’ll never really know if the revamped version would have been accepted, but I do know that I wasn’t great at pitching and I hadn’t done any workshops or talked to many other authors, traditionally- or self-published. I did all that AFTER I self-published – rookie mistake! But I did increase my social media as part of promoting the book, and in this way I met many wonderful people, learnt all sorts of marketing tips, and started getting out in real life more often, attending launches and workshops.
And along the way, I wrote and read and wrote some more, got short-listed in a short-story competition, found an agent and won a writing residency fellowship at Varuna – so I guess Facing Up was my calling card into the Aussie YA writing world.
I now have many friends and contacts, a much better idea of how publishing works and feel more equipped to get my writing out there and into readers’ hands.
I’m hoping to do another blog soon about my writing residency and further news, but until then, happy reading and writing to all the readers and writers out there 😊