Monday, August 19, 2013

Karin Rita Gastreich – How I Made My First Sale

How I Made My First Sale

Guest post by Karin Rita Gastreich, author of Eolyn

By the time I was ready to query for Eolyn, I had decided I wanted to go the traditional publishing route.

I knew this was going to be a hard road, with a constant stream of rejection letters.  I set my own deadline for acceptance at five years.  If after five years, I did not find an agent or a press ready to support my novel, I would either let the publishing dream go or reconsider the option of self-publishing.

While I queried some agents, I was much more interested in directly landing a contract with a press. I researched small and large presses very carefully. I tried to send queries only to places that had published stories in the same genre and with the same emphasis:  complex female protagonists with sometimes unconventional roles in a fantasy setting.

About three months into the query process, the unexpected happened. I was invited to a book launch hosted by Hadley Rille Books, a small press that at the time specialized in science fiction and historical fiction.  This particular launch was for The Song and the Sorceress by Kim Vandervort.  The Song and the Sorceress was the first fantasy fiction novel published by Hadley Rille, but it would not be the last.  At the launch I met Vandervort’s editor, Eric T. Reynolds, all around a great guy.  I also purchased Vandervort’s book.

Just the look and feel of the novel impressed me.  The cover design was compelling. The print format was trade paperback, a nice size to hold and read. Unlike other small press and self-published novels I’d seen, Hadley Rille used high quality paper, professional formatting, and clean editing. The story itself was delightful, featuring the struggle of a sword-wielding princess against an evil sorceress.  The novel had action, adventure, romance, and compelling female characters.  When I finished the book, I thought, “If Hadley Rille Books liked this novel, they will like Eolyn.”

Shortly thereafter, I sent an email query to Eric.  Of all the queries I mailed out, this was the least formal and yet the one I put the most thought into.  I had such a positive feeling that Hadley Rille Books would be a great home for Eolyn, but how to get from query letter to a request for a full?

I decided to go for blatant honesty.  Reminding Eric that we had met at the launch, I let him know how much I enjoyed Vandervort’s novel.  Then I pitched my own manuscript, featuring a strong female protagonist struggling to define her own path in a world largely ruled by men, as an excellent match for Hadley Rille Books.

It worked.  Eric requested the synopsis and the first three chapters of Eolyn right away; about a month later he asked for the full manuscript.  After I submitted the full, I had to wait several months.  That was a really tough period.  Every day, I wondered whether I would hear from him and what the answer would be.

Of course, I occupied myself during this time by researching other presses and sending out additional queries.  As hopeful as I was about Hadley Rille Books, there was no point in putting all my eggs in one basket.

Eric contacted me with an offer in May of 2010, and I signed my first contract with Hadley Rille Books shortly thereafter.  In hindsight, I feel very lucky to have landed such a fine press in such a short period of time.  Small press is not for everyone – and not all small presses are the same – but Hadley Rille Books was definitely the right choice for me.


Sole heiress to a forbidden craft, Eolyn lives in a world where women of her kind are tortured and burned. When she meets Akmael, destined to assume the throne of this violent realm, she embarks upon a path of adventure, love, betrayal and war. Bound by magic, torn apart by destiny, Eolyn and the Mage King confront each other in an epic struggle that will determine the fate of a millennial tradition of magic.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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