Nineteen year old Nya Reed never thought her simple life could get
so complicated so quickly, until one horrifying night
with friends she won’t ever forget, or remember...
My book had an identity crisis. That’s what they told me anyway, the literary agents who were kind enough to tell me why they were refusing representation. After a year of rejections, I finally had an answer. My book wasn’t a Young Adult novel as I envisioned, it was something called New Adult. Huh? I’d never heard of it.
The really bad news was that no one was representing it. As I curiously researched this genre, I was surprised to see a lot of it filled with stereo-typed bad-boy love interests and explicit sexual content. I’m not bashing this at all, people love a little drama and erotica but mine provided neither. I panicked. My book indeed had an identity crisis. My college-aged protagonist was stabbing me in the back. She was too old for the teens and too young for the grown-ups. I didn’t know what to do…
I went through a myriad of possible solutions – should I change the age of my characters? Make them younger? Older? But I knew doing either of those things, would change everything about them that I had grown to love. I could no more change them than change myself; it would require a serious metamorphosis. So in my usual stubborn manner, I refused. I wasn’t about to modify what I had set out to accomplish, even if it meant sinking to the bottom of the Pacific.
So like many before me, I decided to abandon ship and self-publish and venture into an unknown world that I am still trying to navigate. I was alone, afraid and had a myriad of questions floating around my head. How did this work? Where would I start and who should I talk to? I did the research and figured it out but it wasn’t always easy. I was treading water, swimming sometimes in a sea of sharks but I gritted my teeth and ventured further. I quickly realized that I wasn’t alone. There were more survivors, more writers who had fallen off the publishing steamship and noticed as I had, that no one was going to save them. We had to go it alone and so we did, relying on our instincts and the kind advice of others.
When Tony asked me to write a post for his blog, I was honored but equally surprised. What advice could I possibly shell out? I was a fledgling writer myself but then again, maybe that wasn’t the point. Surely, there was value in my words and others could benefit from my experience. Am I a famous writer? No. Do I make good money doing this? No. Do I have a large following? Not yet. Am I successful? Maybe.
My first book could have been my biggest failure but it wasn’t. It’s been one of my biggest successes. My largest fear when I started this venture wasn’t what people would think of my story, it was the thought of not finishing it that truly scared me. Mission accomplished, for now.
My second book is in the works with the third close behind. I continue to tread water but with help from my fellow survivors. My words of advice are simple: Keep going. Don’t give up. At some point, you’ll have to dive in and find out what happens. You’re either going to sink or swim but if you drown, at least you’ll always know - you died trying.
M. D. Luis
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About the Author
Michelle Luis lives with her husband and three children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She always loved to read and particularly enjoyed stories that sparked her imagination and tugged at her heart. She finally decided to put her own ideas to paper and released Aria, a paranormal romance set in modern day California, in June 2014 as the first novel in a three part series. Her second book, Sakura, is due for release later this year. To find out more, visit: www.ariatrilogy.com