Welcome to the third session of our great Publication Party. You all enjoyed Clarissa Draper's talk last week and you were so pleased to be at the beach with the sun and champagne (as soon as the cranberry mocktails ran out!) that I had trouble getting you to leave. So many enthusiastic comments afterwards. We all learned so much. Your writerly aspirations were obvious with the overwhelming requests to win the critique over the books.
So today I've moved the party inside again. Help yourself to the drinks and nibbles and let's party! Firstly, a big drum roll for last week's prize winners. Congratulations to Tony Benson who won the chapter critique from Clarissa, (and I note that you're a little bit nervous at seeing it posted so we'll respect that) and to Kari Marie for winning Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs and to Simon C Larter for winning Ernest Hemingway's Across the River and into the Trees. Those looking for a CP have been contacted by email and I'm waiting on your details.
Hello to all you aspiring authors here today. In case you haven't met today's honoured guest, he has been all over the blogosphere lately as he recently released his first novel, a science fiction work, CassaStar (one of my current reads.) Many of us have followed Alex's journey as he posted about the process of writing, then suddenly, whammo! (or so it seemed) he'd found a publisher. Behind the scenes Alex was seeking publication, but I for one never knew the story of how the contract got signed. Alex's story is different again to our two previous guests and that's what we're here to learn about. So now, over to Alex as he shares his journey with us...
Here's a short bio of Alex accompanied by his latest picture:
Thanks Denise. I'd had a hard night when that photo was taken so excuse me if I look a little green.
Great to be invited along to the Publication Party. Thanks for coming along all you keen writers. I hope you'll find something in what I say today to help you along the road to publication. Okay, let me tell you my story folks.
While I was writing CassaStar, I kept reading that science fiction was dead. Real encouraging, huh? I decided to just write the story and worry about the popularity of my genre later. I completed my book and it went through test readers, an editor, and a lot of polishing.
Now that I was ready to seek a publisher, it appeared heavy tech science fiction was growing in popularity. Obviously, my genre hadn’t died, but I was faced with a challenge. CassaStar is very low-tech. It focuses on adventure and characters rather than technology and science. My manuscript wasn’t in tune with the growing trend.
I never even considered an agent. I just started querying science fiction publishers. Many take direct submissions and I scoped out the guidelines before sending my query. Of course, most were seeking the high tech or political science fiction manuscripts. It didn’t take long to realize my approach wasn’t working.
Frustrated, I looked for another angle. I decided to capitalize on my main character’s youth and started submitting CassaStar to small young adult publishers instead. After all, there is a science fiction category for young adult.
That approach eventually landed a publisher. Ironically, Dancing Lemur Press decided to classify CassaStar as adult science fiction. I was right back where I’d started - in the science fiction - adventure/space opera category.
Do I recommend a small publisher? Absolutely! I’ve been very pleased with my publisher’s efforts. No, you won’t make a lot of money - but you might not make any with a large press, either. I make more a month at my job than most authors do in their lifetime. I think if a writer does it for the money, he’s writing for all the wrong reasons.
It was never about fame and fortune for me. It was just knowing I could do it, even if only once! And I did!
Thanks Alex. Your story is inspirational. I believe Alex has just completed the first draft of CassaStar's sequel.
Here are the details for Alex's debut novel, CassaStar, followed by the synopsis.
ISBN Print 9780981621067 eBook 9780982713938
To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…
Few options remain for Byron, a talented young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life. Much to his chagrin, Bassa, the toughest instructor in the fleet, takes notice of the young pilot. As war brews on the edge of space, Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive. Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?
Here is an excerpt from a review by the Library Journal:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal
Note: I am going to review CassaStar on Reading at Dawn, a book review blog I collaborate on early next week (Tuesday Oz time, Monday US/UK time,) so please visit if you wish to read my review.
You can contact Alex directly at:
If you'd like to learn even more about Alex's journey he has posted at Selling Books today. Catch what he has to say.
Thanks again author Alex J Cavanaugh. Now to the prizes...
TODAY everyone who comments and leaves their email address will be in the draw to win EITHER of these books:
- leave a comment with your email address if you want to be in the draw for this week's book prizes or the GRAND PRIZE and giveaway books and writing paraphanelia at the end of the series (you must comment on each post to win, starting at the first post. If today is your first day, go back to the previous sessions, read and leave a comment. I'm keeping track...)
- tell us which book you'd like to win today - sorry, no critique, Alex is shy
- ask Alex a question
- if you're published, share your story in the comments
- tell us if you'd like to find a Crit Partner. Last week there were more requests. Contact like-minded souls and we may be able to help each other in this way too...
Next Wednesday February 2 we have very successful short story writer, autobiographical writer, blogger, book reviewer and novelist Helen M Hunt coming to our party to speak to us. Don't miss what she has to say! I, for one, want to know how Helen became so successful in selling her clever short stories to so many magazines. I want some of that to rub off on me.