Hey Everyone! Welcome back to my blog and if by some chance you just stumbled here, HI! I'm Brooke and this is my blog where I talk about all things bookish!
Today, I have got a treat for you! Many of you know, I love guest posts, and meeting new authors and that's exactly what we have today, in addition to a cover reveal for Jessika Fleck's newest book: THE CASTAWAYS! Granted, the cover was revealed a couple days ago but I still have it here! The post is about Jessika's publishing and writing journey so without further ado and my rambling, i'll let you get to reading it yourself!
Hi there, The Cozy Little Book Nook readers! I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be here. I’m a big fan of cozy book nooks. Seriously, in my house, if there’s a nook and it works to throw a pile of pillows and a stack of books there, it happens. Better yet if it’s near the fireplace and there’s a cat curled up and napping in said nook!
As release day for my YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS, approaches, I’m finding it hard not to reflect pretty deeply on this journey of mine. When I began writing I had no idea what I was doing. Truly. I was a young mom in need of a creative outlet and chose to write a story. But as I progressed, I got better. And, before too long, I was head-over-heels smitten with creating characters and writing all of the words and making new worlds come to life. Eventually, I completed my first novel. It was a mess, mind you, but it was all mine.
It was then I realized that maybe I could do this. Maybe, one day, I could have a book published. I researched. I read articles and blogs and entered writing contests. Then I wrote another novel. Whereas my first book had taken an entire year to put to paper (it was roughly the size of two whole books or one Steven King volume), this next one was finished in four months. After that, I worked to perfect a query letter. It was bad. My query letters are still bad. Despite my best efforts, I have no trouble admitting I stink at query/blurb/pitch writing. ::waves apologetically at agent and editors and publishers:: Nevertheless, after around seventy rejection letters, I landed an agent. Yay!
Fast forward three years and three unsuccessful attempts at selling a book, and my agent and I decided to go our separate ways. It’s not often talked about, but it happens more than you realize for a multitude of reasons. And it’s okay. Sometimes you need to move on in order to grow. Enter: Brenda Drake’s #PitMad. A few months later and on a complete whim, I posted this tweet: #YA #PitMad An island of castaways,a bloody war,time travel: Olive runs from bullies & lands in a worse trap.Mean Girls+Lord of the Flies. My (now) editor, Theresa Cole, ‘liked’ and requested it. That was in December, 2014 and I had an offer of publication from Entangled TEEN by February, 2015. It was a total on-top-of-a-rainbow-I-can’t-believe-I-did-this type of moment for me.
I’ve since gotten another publishing deal for a YA fantasy called THE OFFERING (Swoon Reads/Macmillan: Fall 2018) and signed with an amazing agent. I’m literally living my dream. It’s a surreal sort of place to be. All of a sudden I’ve gone from writing stories I think are cool on my laptop to OMG people are going to read these stories I once wrote for fun on my laptop! And, how the heck did I get here?
While I like to say I’m lucky (it’s true) and the stars aligned (also true) my getting here had a lot to do with persistence and hard work. It’s sort of cheesy, but you’ll hear it from most seasoned authors: persistence is key. And, really, you can apply this to all sorts of goals. Regardless of whether you’re trying to get a book deal or earn a scholarship or win first place in a pie eating contest, it’s never silly to keep shooting for the stars. Even after several ‘fails’. Because all of those sayings... if at first you don’t succeed... fall down get back up again... they actually have merit.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work to persist. But. Dreaming big and being inspired and having passion, those things are so important. Without all of that, my goodness, where would we be?
Olive’s motto in THE CASTAWAYS is just be. It’s like her own version of ‘you do you’, which can mean something unique to each person. My just be is more a... do what you love and happiness is sure to follow.
What’s your just be?
Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), releases 4/3/17. Her next YA novel, THE OFFERING (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) is due out in the fall, 2018. Jessika is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
What do you guys think of the cover and the guest post? Is there any questions you have? Personally, I love reading about author's publishing journey, mainly because it gives me a little bit of hope, and it's just fun to see a little of the behind-the-scenes of the book/publishing world.
Anyways, who's preordered the book already? I'm looking forward to reading it so let me know what your thoughts are once it comes out!
Leave me all your thoughts in the comments below or find me on social media, @BrookeEvans2001 on Twitter and @thecozylittlebooknook on Instagram. I'm going to start posting a bit more regularly on here now, but no promises. So come back soon to see what else I have! (Hint: I have a lot more author guest posts!)
Brooke's a high schooler who loves to read all sorts of books. She's happy to be able to share all the books she's reading with all of y'all.