Wow, it’s been a while since I posted (guess I was in the writer cave longer than I thought). I looked at my last post, where I had 19,000 words in the sequel. HA. Now I have 115,000 and it’s DONE! That’s right–this book is going to exist. It’s going to come out this September. And it’s going to be really freaking awesome (but I think you guys knew that part already). And if you’re wondering what 115,000 words actually means, I’ll tell you that the first one was 85,000 words, making this a much bigger book. I would estimate that gives you guys another 100 pages to read.
Of sex and math jokes.
Just kidding. There aren’t any math jokes in this one.
I had so much fun writing this book. And drank so much coffee. And, while I miss the characters again already, it feels good to have it done. I finished the first one nearly six years ago. Six freaking years. And there were times since then when I was absolutely certain there would be a sequel, and times when I was absolutely certain there would not. But you guys kept writing to me, telling me how much you loved Renegade X and asking when there would be another one. And if it hadn’t been for you guys telling me all that, I don’t know if I would have ever written it. But you did, and I did, and now I’ve finished the best book I’ve ever written. And I can’t wait for you guys to get to read it in September!
And since, no matter how much planning I do, books have a way of morphing and getting away from me as I write them (or at least the best ones do), I reworked the book description. The old one wasn’t inaccurate, but it wasn’t so much the story anymore either. So here’s the new blurb:
Can a half villain ever be a full hero?
Damien Locke didn’t choose for his supervillain mom to disown him—just because he sort of defied her and ruined her evil plans to take over Golden City—and he didn’t choose for his superpower to be flying, a superhero ability that involves his least favorite thing: heights. But now that he’s living with his dad’s superhero family and enrolling at Heroesworth Academy, he’s ready to embrace his new life, get his H, and finally belong somewhere. But belonging isn’t as easy as signing up for classes, and Damien finds himself struggling to fit in more than ever.
Just when he’s sure his fate as a hero has been decided, though, he gets a new villain power that he can’t control. And things only get worse when he accidentally screws up one of his sidekick Sarah’s gadgets, altering her personality and turning her into a crazed, anti-supervillain vigilante—leaving him no choice but to team up with her annoying superhero boyfriend if he hopes to have any chance of getting the old Sarah back, before she captures—or kills—another supervillain like him.
To celebrate Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye’s one year anniversary, the Kindle version is free all weekend–Friday, Saturday, and Sunday–over at Amazon. And if you don’t have a kindle, you can still download it and convert it to a different file type, if you’re into that kind of thing.
AND my good news about Harper Madigan is that it’s going to be an audiobook! It should be out sometime in April, and of course I’ll have more details then. I’ve gotten to listen to the first half of the book and I LOVE it and can’t wait to share it!
That’s all for now–must get back to writing Trials, which, for those of you who missed my tweet. is up to 19,000 words so far.
So, I don’t think I ever mentioned why I chose to self-publish Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a noir detective story. It’s also MG, so self-publishing it isn’t the most obvious path to get it into the hands of readers. A lot of people have misconceptions about self-publishing, or at least that’s what I’ve been noticing lately. (I did not notice much last year. Last year was a dead sort of year, what with my doctor mistakenly putting me on way too low of thyroid meds and turning me into a zombie, which made for very little writing and even less of everything else. But I got a new doctor and better meds and a better dosage. There’s more to the story, but that’s another post for another time.)
Anyway, the hard truth of publishing is that good books do not always get published. The Rise of Renegade X came this close to not finding any love at all and fading into obscurity on my hard drive. In fact, Harper Madigan got more editor love than Renegade X, with three separate editors falling in love with it and wanting to buy. But editors alone don’t decide what gets bought, no matter how much they love it, and their houses said no, they couldn’t sell it. So here’s me with this awesome book that I still want people to get to read, but no publisher.
So what’s a girl to do? Put on her DIY hat and PUBLISH IT HERSELF, that’s what. And you know what? Putting it all together myself was a lot of fun and I was able to do it quickly and easily and pretty much stress-free. It was also a great way to get started in the world of self-publishing before putting out The Trials of Renegade X. I am very pro hybrid-career at this point, and while I hope to continue to find traditional publishers for some books, it’s not something I can control. I can, however, control how many books I self-publish.
And speaking of Harper Madigan, I have some good news to share about it! But not yet. Soon, precioussss. Soon. And I have good news to share about Renegade X, but if I wait a little while, it may turn into really freaking awesome news, so, again, we must all wait.
Mark your calendars for September, 2013! That’s right, The Trials of Renegade X will be released next September! This might seem like a long way off, especially when you guys have been so patient–a lot of you have been waiting for this since 2010. But September is when everything can be done by–both on my end and for others involved in getting the project out the door–and it’s going to be amazing.
And I have another book coming out next spring that hopefully I will be able to announce soon. It’s not Renegade X related, but if you like the voice in Renegade X, you’re going to love this one, too.
In other news, The Rise of Renegade X came out in Russian! I found out from a Russian fan messaging me on Facebook–one thing you learn very quickly in this business is that nobody tells authors anything. I knew we’d sold Russian rights, but I had no idea when it was coming out. Damien’s name in the translated version is “Damien Loki,” which seems appropriate. ;) Oh, and according to Google Translate, the Russian title is “The Desperate and Undefeated Renegade X.”
Taking a break from work and school related deadlines to answer another publishing question! Mel asks:
If I sent my manuscript to an agent about a year ago (who requested a full) , but since then have significantly revised it, would you suggest resubmitting it?
Definitely! Just make sure to be up front about it in your query letter and mention it’s the book they’d seen before, only significantly revised, and mention some of the big changes. They may say thanks but no thanks and not want to see the new version, but it’s worth a try. A year is plenty of time for you to have given your manuscript an overhaul and for this to not come across as pushy or annoying.
Now, if this agent in question has had your full sitting around for a year and hasn’t responded at all, then that feels a bit more iffy. That might not be the case here, but I want to address it anyway, for anyone who might be in that situation. Not that you can’t resend your manuscript here (you can, just mention that since they hadn’t responded to the full, maybe they haven’t had a chance to read it yet and would they like to see the new and improved version?), but a year is a long time with no communication. I would do more research on them and find out if this is a typical wait time and how responsive the agent is with their clients.
I say this because I had a bad experience with my first agent. She’d requested a full of one of my manuscripts, by phone, and then never responded. Six months later I contacted her because I had a new book (Renegade X) and asked if she’d like to take a look at it. She apparently had finished the first book I sent her and liked it, but wasn’t sure if she could sell it, and just never got around to telling me any of this. :/ I thought, “Hey, aspiring authors are supposed to be treated like afterthoughts… she’d be way more attentive if I was her client.” Well, I did eventually become her client, but she didn’t become any more attentive. We never spoke on the phone again, and I never stopped feeling like an afterthought, though again I thought, “Once I make a sale, THEN I’ll be worthy of her time.”
Not true! For the record, if you’re a client, you’re always worthy of your agent’s time, whether you’ve had a sale or not.
But anyway, back to the story. This agent only got more aloof as my book gathered up rejections. Eventually she stopped talking to me all together and ignored my request for a status update on who had my manuscript. So I fired her! It was scary, but one of the best decisions of my life, and one that lead to a new, super amazing agent and a book contract.
So that’s my tale of caution on super slow responders. Some agents do have a lot of backlog, and emails can get buried and forgotten about. It happens. But a full is a big deal, and you should get a response, even if it turns out to be a form letter. But if an agent’s M.O. is to show their lack of enthusiasm by never contacting you again, I’d think long and hard about giving them another chance.
First things first, since you’re wondering, I put a progress bar for the Renegade X sequel up at the top of the site. My word count is so far embarrassingly small, but what I have is awesome, and I want to be more accountable for it. And I want you guys to get to see the progress I’m making. I have a tendency to take on too many things at once, and right now I’ve got too many jobs and am wearing too many hats, and not really getting anywhere. (Did you see that episode of Parks and Rec where Leslie was trying to juggle both her full time job and a full time campaign? Yeah, that was kind of a wake up call.) So anyway, it’s time to put some of those hats away and get focused on what’s really important.
And what you can’t see from the progress bar is that I’ve got a full synopsis, a bunch of notes, and detailed scene plans written up, so even though my word count is so far embarrassingly small, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. And, of course, there will be more words. Lots more words. I will attempt to update the bar at least once a day so you guys can follow along. And because I like getting to add to progress bars. ^__^
We now return to your regularly scheduled blog post…
So, I got to hold my new book for the first time yesterday. Check out the previous post for the video. It’s not the first time I’ve ever held my work in book form, but it’s the first time I’ve done it as an indie, and holding that proof copy of Harper Madigan was just as amazing as holding the ARC of Renegade X. For different reasons. With Renegade X, it was validation. It was “somebody deemed this story worthy and waved their magic wand and turned it into a real book!” With Harper Madigan, it was more “OMFG, I MADE this! And it’s here–it’s real!”
Traditional publishing can be slow. It’s a lot of rollercoaster. When you’re up, you’re way WAY up. Getting the call was probably the most exciting moment of my life. And getting to see my cover for the first time, and getting to hold my ARC… those moments were SO amazing. But there were months and months of nothing in between. Not that nothing was going on behind the scenes, but for the author… there’s a lot of waiting. And even though it’s an exciting process, it’s hard to maintain that level of energy for, say, the year or two or three that it takes for a book to actually come out. When Renegade X finally “debuted,” it felt more like the end of a journey, rather than the beginning of one. At least for me, as the author–for readers, of course, it’s different.
The indie process is different. With self-pubbing there’s been less of a crazy rollercoaster–at least so far–and no months long lulls of nothing. In fact, since I already had this book finished and pretty much ready to go, the whole process from deciding I wanted to publish it myself and holding it in my hands was only two or three months. And those were busy months of editing and finding the right stock image for the cover and laying out the interior for the print copy and coding the ebook. So when I held the book for the first time, the excitement was still fresh. This still feels like the beginning of this book’s journey for me, and I’ve been so involved with each part of the process that it feels very hands-on and made getting to hold the finished product that much cooler.
Is it more exciting than having Renegade X come out? Deciding to self-publish was not more exciting than getting The Call, but releasing the book as an indie has been much more exciting than the final, official “release day” for my traditionally pubbed book. Up until I decided to self-publish the Renegade X sequel a few months ago, I never saw myself self-publishing. And I certainly didn’t expect it to be so fulfilling or to be so exciting or to come with such a sense of accomplishment. I thought, “When I hold my book, it will be ho hum, because it’s not ‘real.’” But then it was here, and it’s VERY real, and it turned out holding it was just as amazing as getting my first ARC. And I never expected that.
Wow, it’s been forever since I vlogged! But look, my new book is here! And my hair is pink. :P
My 30th birthday turned out to be excellent. I can’t believe I’m starting a new decade of my life! Anyway, it was a great birthday, despite the two hour inconclusive doctor visit from hell. (They decided I don’t have asthma, but don’t know what might actually be wrong. Um… yay?)
On the bright side, I got to go out to dinner afterwards, which is one of my favorite things to do. There was much nomming of noms and it was good and we had a little lava cake at the end, which is the best kind of cake. And later I got a surprise visit from some friends who took me out for milkshakes, and a great time was had by all!
And I released my book, like a kraken! *pictures it swimming furiously through the ocean towards unsuspecting pirate ships* My first indie venture, and I am quite pleased. The cover turned out amazing, the ebook is very nicely coded (if I do say so myself), and people are buying it. And saying good things:
This book has got a lot going for it. Is this a hard boiled detective novel, or a teen adventure story? You decide. For me, the juxtaposition of the two is what makes it shine. If you liked Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, you’ll enjoy Harper Madigan, not because it’s similar, but because it’s so different.
Reminiscent of Buffy or Angel, the story bounces between serious and funny without giving the reader a minute to catch his breath. It’s not “belly-laugh” funny, but more, “cool as a cucumber” funny.
That review really captures what I love about this book! Sometimes that’s so hard to put into words, even when you’re the author. And any day when my work gets compared to Buffy or Angel is a good day in my book.
The paperback version is almost ready. My proof copy is on its way, though it might not get here until the 12th. I am spoiled from Amazon Prime, and I thought since Createspace is an Amazon company that it would carry over, but no… But it’s shipped and will be here soon. Hopefully everything will be sparkly and wonderful and error-free and I’ll be able to approve the book for publication.
You will be able to get signed copies directly from me once it’s out, too. I’ll post more details about that when it releases.
Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye is out today! *happy dance* Harper Madigan is a noir detective story set in junior high. See below for a more detailed description.
To celebrate, I’m giving away 10 free ebook copies (winner gets the format of their choice), and one grand prize of an ebook copy and a signed paperback once it’s available later this month! The contest starts now and runs through Sunday, March 4th. I’ll announce the winners here on the blog on Monday, so be sure to check back.
How do you win one of these marvelous ebooks? It’s easy–I’ll be I’ll be tweeting the entry tweet from my account (@CampChelsea), and you can either RT me or copy and tweet the following message:
RT for a chance to win an ebook or print copy of #HarperMadigan: Junior High Private Eye! Full details at http://bit.ly/zK6HfA
Winners will be chosen randomly. You can enter once each day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a total of three entries. And if you can’t wait and want to read NOW, you can sample and purchase the ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Smashwords for $3.99.
7th grade detective Harper Madigan works alone. He doesn’t need the vice principal assigning him a new partner to keep him in line, especially a stuffed-shirt wannabe-journalist who totally cramps his style.
And he especially doesn’t need his troublemaker ex-girlfriend showing up out the blue and asking for his help. She’s accused of attacking the star of the school musical, and with her less-than-sparkling track record, she’s only one suspension away from getting expelled.
Only Harper believes she’s innocent, and now it’s up to him to prove it, even if it means making an enemy of the PTA mafia, risking his agency, and confronting the mistakes of his own dark past. But when his new partner insists on doing everything by the book, and his old nemesis–the one bully he can’t catch–starts harassing his clients, it’s going to take more than just detective work to solve the case.
I updated the title on Goodreads, so I thought I’d do an official announcement here!
The title is….
THE TRIALS OF RENEGADE X
Did I mention I got to see the rough sketch of the cover a while ago? I don’t think I did, but it is kick ass. I’m not going to show it off until it’s done, though believe me I am itching to share the awesome. Newsletter subscribers will get to see it early, so be sure and sign up if you want a sneak peek before anyone else.
In the mean time, I am writing away and loving spending time with these characters and this world again! I might try and write up a blurb about the book soon, or I might put it off because blurbs are not my favorite things to write and I just wrote one for the Harper Madigan book–that gets me a blurb free pass for a while, right? Right?
I’m also going to be putting up a Renegade X sequel FAQ, so be sure to comment or email me (Chelsea@ChelseaMCampbell.com) your sequel questions, and I will do my best to provide answers!