Monday, February 11, 2008

PATHS TO PUBLICATION - CHRISTINE NORRIS

Crown of Zeus_Christine NorrisCrown of Zeus by Christine Norris

I think by now most people know how I started writing 'seriously'. It was 2001, late summer, and I'd JUST gotten into the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. By then, I think Goblet of Fire was already out, so I had four books to read. As much as I loved the stories, I loved the story of J.K. Rowling more. I loved that she wasn't a writer by trade, that she wrote the book based on an idea she had while riding the subway. I thought that if she could, why couldn't I? So I started writing Talisman of Zandria in mid-September. It was a strange time, right after 9-11, and I think writing helped me. I wasn't looking at publication then, just writing a story. I knew NOTHING about publishing, except for the bits and pieces that most people know, like advances and book signings and all that 'stuff' they show in movies.

Three years later, the book was done. By then I had left a profession and had my son! I had found Critters, and someone there helped me clean the book up, he did a great job too! I had gotten a book about how to write a query letter, and lists of agents and publishers. That first query letter was horrible. All rejections, of course, some just a 'no' written on my own query. Then I found Absolute Write, and they helped me refine the letter. I also found P&E, and started going through the lists of publishers. The new letter helped; I was getting read requests! And in Oct. 2005, I got an offer from the new small press, LBF Books.

I've come a long way - I still love that first book, but I've learned SO much about writing, and especially the business of publishing. When it came time to find a home for my new series, the first two books of which I wrote while laid up with a broken leg, there were some decisions to be made. I loved my first publisher (who also published the sequel to that first book), but I wanted to aim higher. I tried agents again, encouraged by several beta readers, including Heidi, and this query was a thousand times better than that first one, and I got read requests right off the bat. But, unfortunately, it was a dead end. Everyone had some reason they couldn't represent the book, and at least all the rejections I got were personal ones, which overall made me feel better - I was worthy of personal contact!

I found Samhain Publishing through AW. Actually, The Crown of Zeus was rejected the first time, but with a caveat. The editor gave me some suggestions and said I could resubmit. So I spent an entire week making the revisions, and realized she was exactly right about what they book needed. Second time was a charm, and they accepted it, with enthusiasm, I might add.

It was tough, there were setbacks, but I knew the book was good enough for other people to read. You just need to keep at it!

The Crown of Zeus is a YA fantasy about a girl who has to leave everything and move halfway across the world when her father gets a new job. She winds up in a sprawling mansion in the middle of the English countryside, with no friends and a new school. Underneath it all is a mystery to solve and a hidden room, full of strange books. Some of which REALLY take you 'inside the story'.

Here is my first review!

The Crown of Zeus, coming in e-book format on February 19, 2008, from Samhain Publishing. In print on Dec. 29, available at your local Borders and Amazon (it will also be available in Kindle format in Dec.)

You can find me at my website: www.christine-norris.com, on MySpace: www.myspace.com/christinenorris, and at my blog: christinenorris.livejournal.com.

Also, look for The Ankh of Isis, the sequel to The Crown of Zeus, in Summer 2008 from Samhain Publishing!

-Christine Norris
February 2008



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