Category: Publishing

The Indie vs. the Traditional Debut

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.

Post Birthday/Book Birthday Post!

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.

Win Free Stuff!

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


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.


The Renegade X sequel has a title!

I updated the title on Goodreads, so I thought I’d do an official announcement here!

The title is….


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 ( your sequel questions, and I will do my best to provide answers!

Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye

I am proud to present the cover and description blurb for one of my upcoming March releases! The blurb was written by me and the amazing cover art was done by Chloe Tisdale.

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.

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 facing 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.

A Gaggle of Announcements

Loud honking announcements that will chase you around the lake and beak you to death for a crust of bread!

Er… probably not.  These are actually very lovely announcements that don’t resemble geese in any way.  But gaggle is a cool word.  It’s right up there with gusset.

Anyway, onto the announcements!

  • In exactly 28 days I will turn 30!  (That’s March 2nd, for those of you who forgot it was leap year.)
  • I have TWO–count them, TWO–new books coming out in March!
  • One is GROWING UP DEAD, a humorous MG about a vampire trying to survive 8th grade.
  • The other is HARPER MADIGAN: JUNIOR HIGH PRIVATE EYE, a noir detective novel set in junior high.

I know, neither of these is the Renegade X sequel.  But it’s coming!  And in the meantime you can tide yourself over with some more great reading. ;)  Each of these will be available in both ebook and paperback.

Blurbs and covers will be up very soon!  If you want to be notified when these books are available for purchase, you can sign up for my newsletter in the top right corner of my site. And if you’re a book blogger interested in reviewing either–or both–of these books, please email me at or through the contact sheet on my site.

Want to get exclusive news about my books?

Good news! You can now subscribe to my brand new newsletter and get exclusive information on the Renegade X sequel! You’ll be one of the first people to find out the title, see the cover, and read an excerpt before any of it goes live on my website. There will also be subscriber-only contests you won’t want to miss, including a chance to get a character in the sequel named after you! You’ll also stay informed on when my next book is available, so you won’t miss out.

To sign up, go to my website (if you’re not already there) and enter your email in the top right corner, then click “Subscribe now!”

Boy Books

Hi, my name is Chelsea, and I write boy books. Even though I’m a girl and even though boy books aren’t necessarily flying off the shelves. But you knew that already.

There was a big kerfluffle lately, as a lot of you probably heard about, started when the NYT posted this article, about the lack of YA boy books out there and, consequently, the lack of boy readers. There have been a lot of good posts made by other authors about this, so I don’t want to get into the article so much as I want to talk about boy books in general. Especially since I’m a girl and I write them and that’s not exactly the norm.

I don’t really think of my books as boy books or girl books. They’re just, you know, MY BOOKS, and the ones I actually enjoy writing tend to have 1st person guy narrators. I don’t sit down and think, “Ah, I’m going to write a boy book! For boys! Now, what do they need to read about? What would I want to read if I was a boy?” Psh. Seriously, I write what *I* like reading. I’ve actually been surprised at how many girls have thought they wouldn’t like Renegade X–but totally loved it once they started reading–because it’s got a male protagonist. O__o I mean, I’m a girl, so I tend to write about guys that girls will love, while still being real boys. I write stories that I hope resonate with both genders, that are full of adventure and romance and snappy dialogue.

I can’t say how many boys are reading YA or not, but I can say most of my fan mail and reader comments are from boys, usually teenagers, while most of the public reviews are written by girls. I don’t know if this means girls are just more public about their opinions, or if it means boys don’t have enough books to bother making a review site. That’s not to say that girls don’t write to me, or that guys never write reviews, because they do. But girls have told me that they relate to Damien and his dilemmas in the book, and guys have told me they saw my book at the store and grabbed it off the shelf. So, yes, girls can relate to male protagonists (while also finding them swoon worthy), and guys are going to the book store, even to the YA section. They’re also going to the library.

It would be cool if there were more boy books out there, because I’d like to read them. (And I wouldn’t mind if I never got another rejection letter stating that a male protagonist makes a book unsaleable.) I’d also like if there were more dystopians (yes, really, especially actiony ones like The Maze Runner), and more horror. Definitely more horror. Double points for a dystopian horror with a male MC, plenty of action, and a romantic subplot.

What’s New

So it’s been a little while since I posted. Real Life sort of kidnapped me and locked me up in a cage dangling above an oversized cauldron and I only just now escaped. *phew* It’s been a busy sprummer, and I think it’s only going to continue to get busier until fall. (In the NW, we have winter, sprinter, mud, a short spring, and a long sprummer, followed up by a few days of real summer, and then fall.)

But anyway, here’s what’s been going on with me. I started grad school, which at first was underwhelming and now is totally overwhelming and I have to go to Syracuse for a one week residency in only a little over TWO WEEKS and I have to get all the work done for two classes first and agghhh!!

Ahem. Grad school has made this a pretty crazy sprummer, especially since it took over a month for financial aid to go through, due to me taking different amounts of credits during different sessions. (I’ve never had financial aid in time to buy books and stuff before the beginning of school, but this takes the cake and eats it too.) And then I have the two classes I’ll be attending during my residency, but I have to get all the work and reading done for them ahead of time. Plus keep up with my regular class that spans the whole semester. Hopefully in the fall things will calm down a bit, especially since I’ll only be taking two (hopefully evenly spaced) classes.

Oh, and as soon as I get back from my residency, I have jury duty. -__-

In more exciting news–I know it’s going to be hard to top the excitement of jury duty, but I have to try–my film option with Disney was almost up, and they decided to renew!!! Huge W00T!! I know very little about this project, but I do know that the writers are making good progress and that Disney liked their revisions to the script.

The paperback version of The Rise of Renegade X is out on August 23rd, if my current info is correct. I don’t remember if I posted about it here or not, but it was supposed to be out in May, BUT the sales reps liked the blurb on the cover from the awesome Julie Kagawa and wanted more time to pitch it to bookstores and stuff. (Or whatever sales reps do.) It will be much cheaper than the hardback, but just as cool! And I’m planning to have a contest to go with it, where I’ll be giving away a behind-the-scenes annotated copy of the hardback.

I also have a new book going out on sub soon that I think you guys are going to love.

And that’s all for now because my five page paper isn’t going to write itself… by Friday.