Monday, June 23, 2014

the first step to LIFELONG DREAMS?!


the other day, long after i should've gone to bed, i started thinking about my senior thesis.

you know, my senior thesis. my novel. the one that i practically married for an entire year.

my two hundred and seventy page monstrosity that i had to print out in the library and bind and give to my professor.

i cried when it was done.

i wrote it for nine months. when i printed it off, it felt like i gave birth. just without all of the blood and guts and labour pains and screaming.

anyway, i was thinking about it, because i should be editing it. my daddy printed it off for me at school and put it in a binder and i've gone after it with my purple pen that makes me feel like royalty, but i haven't gotten very far.


i don't know if i want to publish it under my name or my pen name. i'm more partial to my pen name because i think it's prettier and i spent five hours picking it out. FIVE. HOURS.

did you know that rocket and peaches are acceptable girls names on


so i'm thinking about my novel and how much editing i have to do, and then this fantastic vision pops into my head, kind of like those visions where i get super fit and actually enjoy jogging and have really amazing abs. this vision of my book with a badass cover and people are reading it and it's on the new york times best seller list and i'm giving book talks at powells.

so what do i do?

do some self-publishing research online.

i have my entire life set in UK settings. my phone. my facebook language. the works. i've been spelling things the UK way in english papers for three years and on this blog for about two. so i type in self-publishing into google, which is in the UK setting, and it's like,


so i have to type US when i'm searching for a location of something.

i find this really long blog about self-publishing and the dos and don'ts and dangers (the three Ds?!) and it gets long and i start yawning and then i'm like, ehhh whatever this is complicated i'll come back to it later.

then i find this little thing that's like, what's the best way to publish for you?

so i click it.

it asks for some information. like my name.

i have a pen name debate. decide on my real name.

give them my email because why not? i get lots of useless emails anyway. plus i have like... five emails.

yes, i do indeed have a full manuscript. yes it's black and white. no i don't have any idea when it's going to be ready to publish. nah, it doesn't have any cover art. it's two hundred and seventy pages.

click GO!

this little diddy pops up that's like, YOU SHOULD USE XLIBRIS! IT'S PERFECT FOR YOU!

i click on it. it's got some packages.

some expensive packages.

why does everything i love cost money? like publishing books and this used car that i want? and starbucks? why is starbucks so damn expensive?

i click through a few of the packages and call it a night.

whatever. i'll research later when i don't have to get up for work.

at noon today i've just gotten back from kroger on my day off (that should be ILLEGAL.) and i'm checking twitter and tumblr and my phone rings.


it's a pennsylvania number. i decide to answer, because at least it's not this number from tennessee that's been calling me since january and leaving me three second blank voicemails.

me: hello?
phone: bustling of people in background
me: hello?
random dude: hello this is zachary from xlibris, is this emily?
me: uhhhh yes
random dude now named zachary: hi i'm from xlibris publishing company. i was wondering if you were interested in publishing your book with us.

i don't think he was expecting me to cry. but there i was. crying on the phone with a stranger.

see, i don't think you understand.

i've wanted to publish a book since i was like... eight.

i wrote my first book when i was five. it was a picture book about a dog named spot. in third and fifth grade i won the young author's competition. in fifth grade i had the only book over ten pages. mine was fifty-two and had no pictures. in sixth grade i broke a hundred pages and when i was fourteen i wrote my first full length novel.

if you ask me about that book, i will kill you. 

in ninth grade i wrote my first book that i was actually proud of. i then wrote what i call its "half sequel" (takes place during an eight weeks later type period from the perspective of a different character) in tenth grade. my junior year of high school i wrote what i still think is the best novel i have ever written in my entire life, including my senior thesis.

my hard drive crashed and i lost it. i was inconsolable for weeks. sometimes i still think about it and cry.

senior year i started what is currently my longest unfinished novel, topping out at a whopping 496 pages. freshman year of college i started my second longest novel, which is at 474. both are unfinished.

i've written about fifteen finished novels. i do not like any of them. but that's common. i have probably twice as many unfinished novels lying around on my computer.

novel writing is kind of like.. my life outside my life. since the time i was six i was telling adults that i wanted to be an author.

so now this guy is on the phone with me and he's like, "yeah i'm interested in your manuscript. please tell me about it."

have you ever asked somebody that's writing a book "oh what's your book about?" super excitedly?


that's like, one of the most stressful, anxiety-inducing, personal questions you can ever ask someone. i'd rather tell you about all OF my bowel movements. (i've already done that. to read my blog about pooping, click here.)

i don't really know what to tell this zachary guy. i've given two readings of a select part of my novel, once for a panel of judges and once for alma's honours day, and i had to give a small spiel about what it was about. i had to make an abstract for it for honours day, and it took me hours and hours to write 150 words about it.

so i went, "ummmm it's a young adult fiction novel that kind of becomes magical realism?"

and he goes, oh that's kinda weird.


and instead he says, "tell me about how it becomes magical realism?" and i'm like, i am not the next gabriel garcia marquez. 

then he asked me what i needed from the company, what kind of package i would want. and i was like, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING PLZ HELP MEEEEE

and he was like, well why don't you take some time to edit, i'll send you a questionnaire so i can get to know your novel a bit better, and i'll call you in about two months?


two seconds later there's a questionnaire in my email and i'm filling it out. i'm still crying.

i'm really good at crying, except during sad movies, apparently.

after i sent in the questionnaire, i did some research about xlibris publishing company. zachary had told me about it on the phone and it sounded good, but most spiels sound good initially. it had some good reviews, but it also had some incredibly shitty reviews from very unhappy authors.

when my parents got home from their bike ride i was like, OHMYGODTHISCOMPANYWANTSTOPUBLISHMYBOOK and they were like, AHHHHHH and i was like, IT'LL BE ABOUT A THOUSAND DOLLARS and they were like, WECOME TO THE REAL WORLD KID and i was like, AHHH I KNOW ALSO SOME PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THE COMPANY

and my mom gave me the greatest advice.

she looked me dead in the face and said, "when he calls you again, voice your concerns about the bad reviews and talk about them. then ask him to address those personally. on the spot. where he can't run away without hanging up."

in my initial excitement, i posted about it all over social media and the facebook status has been particularly fruitful. lots of people have expressed interest in reading my book, and more people have liked it than when i graduated from alma.

and you probably really don't want to read my book, you guys.

i'm still really excited. i have a book that i can get out into the world. my first step to being a real author.


by the way, this is my book.

you can ask me what it's about. chances are i won't tell you. sorry not sorry.

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