I’m pleased to introduce to you, Janelle Stalder. Back in August, I posted a review of her debut novel, Eden. She is a talented author, mom, and overall wonderful person! I’m so glad she’s dropping by to talk with us about how she never gave up with her writing!
When the lovely Emerald Barnes asked me to do a blog for her site, I was honoured. She has been so wonderful and supportive of me since my first book was released, so I want to say a big THANK YOU to her! As excited as I was for this, I must admit I found it a bit daunting. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to write about, and found myself putting it off. It finally occurred to me that the only thing I really have to talk about is writing, and procrastinating any longer wasn’t doing me any good! Thus, I’ve started my blog, in hopes to help those new writers out there who are looking for someone else to relate to, as I begin my journey into this crazy world of literature.
My first novel was written in grade six. I wish I had a copy of it, because it would probably be a riot to read now. I can’t even remember the name, but I do remember some of the premise. I also remember it being handwritten and bound in a blue duo-tang. Ah, back in the days when not everything was typed on the computer. Those were horrible days. My next novel was in grade twelve. We had been given a writing assignment for writer’s craft, and were told to write a short story. Well, if this blog isn’t obvious enough, I can tell you I’m not good at writing short anything! Instead I asked if I could hand in one chapter of a novel. I’ll never forget when my teacher handed it back, and on the assignment he had written, and this is a true story, “I can’t wait to see your name on the New York Times best-sellers list!”. That one comment made me want to write even more than I had before.
After high school, at the age of 19, I had my first child, my son Aiden, and unfortunately life took off. It wasn’t until he was in his toddler years that I finally sat down and started writing again. My first full-length novel, at just over 162,000 words, was called The Fallen. I thought it was so good, and original, until I was at the bookstore one day and noticed another book, with a similar name and premise. (I’m sure most of you know what series I’m referring to!) Needless to say, after that I was pretty bummed, but sent it out to publishers anyway. What sort of feedback did I get? None really, except resounding “No’s” across the board. You’ll find, if you’re a new writer, rejection is something common in this industry. Feeling deflated, I didn’t write for over a year.
It wasn’t until I had my second child, my daughter Elora, that I sat down again. Throughout my pregnancy I continuously thought about this story. My original idea focused on two boys that lived in a fantasy world, and they were preparing for a war. I thought about it for over a year, playing with the main premise for the book, and who the characters would be. Until I could answer all the who, what, when, where, and why’s. Finally, when I had it all basically written in my head, I sat down and wrote it, over one really hot summer; in a house with no AC I might add! It didn’t take me long to get the first book on paper. I was so excited about it, and couldn’t wait to start on the second, except I needed a bit of a mental break. Instead, I started the whole process of sending it out to agents and publishers. As the rejections began to filter in again, I began doubting myself once more, and wasn’t sure if the story and my characters, whom I had grown to love, were good enough. The problem was I couldn’t actually get anyone to read the entire thing. I just needed to get the story out there, but found that most publishers weren’t interested beyond that first inquiry letter.
It wasn’t until I was on the Chapters website, and saw an ad for self-publishing that I seriously started to consider that route. A lot of people will tell you pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing. I’m not going to get into the whole debate, because it would just make this post even more unbearably long. For me, it boiled down to two things; 1. Money and 2. Marketing. The fact was, I didn’t know how to market a book myself, and I didn’t have a heck of a lot of money to get it published. My friends and family all rallied around me, and encouraged me to take the risk, and see what happens, so I did! I published my first book, Eden, through iUniverse, and I don’t regret it one bit. iUniverse was extremely supportive and made the whole process easy and enjoyable. As for the marketing part, well I’m still taking that day by day. It’s a learning process, but I’m finding it quite an enjoyable one. Although I have to do all the work, and search for new ways to get my name and story out there, it has all been worth it. I’ve been able to meet wonderful new people, who are so supportive and kind. It’s also made me realize that it doesn’t matter what publishers and editors say, what matters is what the readers say. It’s because of those who have read Eden, and who send me their comments and feedback, that have made writing worth it, and help me forget all those silly rejection letters. Anytime someone asks me when the second one will be out, I know I’m doing something right!
The moral of my long, babbling story is this, don’t let anyone who tells you “no” stop you from doing what you love. Not everyone will love what you write, but there are so many out there that are willing to give you a chance, and who will lend you the support you need. Focus on the positive and keep writing! Here’s to new friends, new adventures, and new stories to entertain us in the New Year!
Thanks, Janelle! It was great having you! I look forward to the next installment of your Eden series!