I remember reading my first chapter novel at the age of ten by C.S. Adler and being in complete awe of the creativity. I’d never experienced my senses being touched like that before. Sure, I had been read stories and even had my own small collection of picture books, but nothing compared to how I felt after I closed that book. It was from that moment on that I knew I wanted to write, to be creative; to evoke the same reactions in my own readers.
Of course, what your ten-year-old self dreams off, and what happens are two very different things.
I spent my teenage years reading. My tastes and attitude towards literature matured. I began penning my short stories, often just going with whatever the ‘storyteller’ within me wanted to say. I never paid attention to plot, themes, or syntax. To me it was simply about weaving a tale.
My love and desire for words grew. I couldn’t ignore what was bursting inside me. I had to give myself a chance. So, being a mature student, I enrolled with The Open University, and studied a BA (Hons) in Literature with Creative. It was during these years that my knowledge for the creative process evolved. I no longer wanted to tell ‘just’ a story, I wanted it to jump from the page.
My time of study introduced to me a vast library of authors, all different, all with a unique way of telling a story. Their writing and work inspired me.
However, my path to publication was far from traditional or simple.
I completed my first novel ‘Within the Shadows’ back in 2009. Back then I was so proud of it. I gave it the once over and suddenly thought, “Better start looking for an agent and publisher.” Little did I know that the process was much bigger than what I had first anticipated.
For starters, my book was far from ready for submission to anyone. While I may have written a wonderful novel, I hadn’t acquired the tools to understand the work that went into polishing a book, editing it myself, and more importantly, having others proof it.
All the above were lessons I learned hard and fast. And as quickly as the rejections came in, I developed a hardened skin. I had to, because in this industry, people can be quite cruel with their critiques and general feedback.
In 2011, I submitted Within the Shadows to a small American publisher (name shall remain anonymous) and within a month of submission, the book was published and did really quite well in the first few weeks. I was astonished, and wondered “could it be this easy?” How wrong I was. Reviewers spoke of their disappointment in the editing process, spacing and formatting were incorrect. Basically, the book was a mess. I was disappointed and let down. I had placed my trust in ‘professionals’ who later turned out to be no more than wannabe writer’s out to make a quick buck. I got the rights returned to me, and I was in limbo. And to this day I never received a penny in royalties.
I spent a few more months re-writing the book, editing it the best I could (I’m no editor) and became quite prolific in the Indie writing community. I made good connections and built friendships with well-known authors who listened and encouraged me to carry on. But in the meantime, I had submitted the book to another publisher, this time they were UK based, and it seemed promising.
I was happy with sales. I began working on book 2 in the Shadow World series, but things began to take a sour note for me. I wanted a print run of my work, and the publisher refused. I had signed a digital rights only contract. And this was when things got messy. I was bound to that contract, and legally there wasn’t much I could do. So, I got back to the drawing board, re-wrote, re-edited and this time, submitted to a boutique publisher who had proven sales, and a great reputation. It was fabulous. They published my work in both digital and print, and I was so over the moon. Then in 2014, after many submissions to agents, I was signed with a reputable agent, and I was recommended to have all rights of my work relinquished. It really was a messy break up.
With things staying quite slow and nothing moving forward. I decided to be proactive and republished the first two books of my Shadow World series independently. This was my first experience of self-publishing.
While self-publishing was a route I didn’t want to take. I did enjoy the control. I liked being my own boss, and still do. My time with my then agent came to an abrupt end in 2015, and it was through my publicist, that I met my current agent, Italia Gandolfo.
I continued writing. Never once allowing rejection or disappointment sway me from fulfilling my childhood dreams.
In 2016, my first traditionally published novel, Unbreak Me, was released by Totally Entwined Publishing, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing. Then in October 2016, I signed a deal with Vesuvian Books for Beneath the Lighthouse, Stone Cold and Cinnamon Falls. While I signed several deals, I continued to write and publish novels under my own name.
That’s the beauty of where I am in career at present. I have the best of both worlds. And while it may suit me, it may not be an option for others. The book industry is forever changing, and it’s good for authors to perhaps adapt to those changes. I am one of those people who will see things from every angle and as long as I have a good team behind me, I am sure I won’t make the same mistakes again. But though they were mistakes, they were indeed valuable lessons.
(c) Julieanne Lynch
Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy and contemporary fiction for both adults and teens. Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland with her family, where she writes full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and is thankful for each day she lives her dream.
Julieanne is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management, and is both traditionally and independently published.
About Beneath the Lighthouse:
Some secrets are made to be uncovered.
Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness’s sister is dead.
Sinking into a deep depression, he frequents the lighthouse where her body was discovered, unaware of the sinister forces surrounding him.
When an angry spirit latches onto Jamie, he’s led down a dark and twisted path, one that uncovers old family secrets, destroying everything Jamie ever believed in.
Caught between the world of the living and the vengeful dead, Jamie fights the pull of the other side. It’s up to Jamie to settle old scores or no one will rest in peace – but, first, he has to survive.
Order your copy online here.