I get to share a fantastic guest post from Dela, author of The 52ND! She's here to tell you about her publication journey (which may be helpful to you writers). Here book looks so cool and different. I really hope that you all want to read it as much as I do!
I’m 32. I have 1 husband, 3 kids, and 2 fat Chihuahuas. I’m half Mexican, half Canadian. I lived in Mexico for 6 months when I was 16. I went skydiving when I was 18. I love snowboarding; I even attended a snowboard camp in Bend, Oregon when I was 21. I was married at 22. I love going to concerts and listening to new bands, a thing I do on a regular basis with hubs. I was born in Las Vegas, and I still live here and absolutely love it—though it enables my crazy, Mexican family to hire Elvis impersonators for our Christmas Eve parties (so weird). And I have the worst memory in the world; I write everything down on post-its and they’re all over my house! (Unofficial bio)
Places you may find me:
Publisher: Wise Ink
Publication Date: October 27nd, 2014
(No Goodreads link yet)
Unofficial Book Blurb:
THE 52ND is about deceased Aztec and Mayan kings called Executioners who are allowed to come to earth every 52 years and snatch 52 people for sacrifice. The story is modern, and takes place mostly in Lake Tahoe, but the entire premise of the book is based off historical facts and legends. The preface is from the P.O.V. of one of two main characters. His name is Lucas. According to this agreement that lets Executioners take people, Lucas is put in place to witness the abductions—sort of as a guard, to make sure the Executioners don't take anymore than what is allowed. The other main character, Zara, is the last victim chosen for sacrifice, the 52nd. The story is about their forbidden relationship, and what they go through to save her.
Make It About Others
Hey Kaitlin, thanks for letting me be a part of ‘graduation’! I love Reading Is My Treasure, and I think you are awesome for tackling such a big job all at the same time as accomplishing graduation. Go CLASS OF 2014!!!!
I wanted to share something with you and your readers before I tell about my publication journey, as I think it’s important for any graduate who is about to embark on a new adventure to here this.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge music fan. Right after Fueled By Ramen signed Twenty One Pilots, they produced a video to showcase the newly-signed band. One thing Tyler Joseph said during the video hit me hard. I wrote it down in my notes and occasionally (and quite often) go back and read it over and over. Its says:
“Don’t give up. Push through the droughts. Channel the inevitable disappointments back into your craft. Break molds. Think. Create. But most importantly, stay alive. And in the meantime, make it about others. That seems to work. Stay strong, live on and power to the local dreamer.”
These are two kids from Ohio—no music background, no huge following. They created. They pushed through. They channeled negative comments back into their craft. And most importantly, they stayed strong.
THE 52ND took me 3 years to write.
Like any novel, THE 52ND has undergone multiple versions. The story you will read in October is not the same story I wrote 3 years ago. I stuck with it because I wanted to ‘break molds’. From the first draft I knew it wasn’t right. So I tinkered with it. I tinkered over and over and over. And as a first time author, you don’t have a publisher in the beginning to tell you whether you’ve tinkered enough! Needless to say, I think I nailed it now.
After my second draft I sought out professional help for ‘eyes’. I hired an editor through Writer’s Market named, Gloria Kempton. (Oh Gloria. So glorious.) She only read the first 100 pages and guess what she did? She tore it apart! Not what I was expecting. I remember sitting in bed and reading all the critiques. It was utterly daunting. My husband was like, “Are you seriously going to start all over?” But I’m sure you all can guess the answer I gave him… a big fat “YES”.
After Gloria’s critique, it took me a good 9 months to re-write the entire book. I consider this next draft my first official real draft—if that makes sense. A LOT of things changed. During this time I went to Cancun for vacation. We rented a car and drove to Tulum, the place where my fictional family, the Castillos, are from. Prior to this, during the first summer I started writing, I had spent 3 months researching all that I could about the Aztecs and Mayans. I had done a lot of reading, but I wasn’t finding the connecting piece. (Plus I have a Mayan grandmother who kept telling me “no, this isn’t right.”) Err.
So, I went to Tulum with a purpose: I needed to find a reason for the Aztecs and Mayans to work together because in real life they hated each other. Once I got to Tulum I bought two books in their gift store, Mayan Prophecies and Tulum. Of course what did I do when I got back to my hotel on one of the world’s most prestige beaches? I buried my nose in a book. Those books. I just knew that they were going to help me solve my problem. I vividly remember flying home, sitting on the airplane when the light bulb went on. This was when I knew I could get the plot right because I figured the connecting piece. Numbers. 52—to be particular. Both civilizations evolved around solar and religious calendars. Both civilizations celebrated the 52nd year.
When the manuscript was complete, I went through it again to catch errors in flow. I also tried to further develop characters because at that time A TON of dialogue came to me. This was a hard time for me because in essence it was crunch time. Get this baby done already, right? My poor husband and friends who were all neglected. (Note: Don’t do this! Not recommended. No need to make them suffer. Find a balance.) I took myself off chat groups, text message groups, and anything else that sucked time away from me. I was basically living in a cave.
For me, as a reader and not the writer, the most intriguing part of this novel is that it's an alternate story to our known history about the Aztecs and Mayans. Today, people think human sacrifice stopped when those indigenous civilizations were destroyed. This book says it doesn't. That it continues today; that these creatures can go around the world and take whomever they want. It gives me chills.
Around late fall 2013 I began querying agents. I would send out a few, and then revise some more. And then send out some more, and wait, and revise some more. I HATED this process. Meanwhile, I began educating myself on self-publishing. With family being in the music industry, and hearing all the insane success stories of artists doing it on their own, I felt intrigued. I used to tell my husband “I want to be the Macklemore of books”. I felt that no matter if I had an agent or not, the amount of work I was going to put into my book was going to be the same. So why have someone take a cut if they really are sitting behind a desk and putting other clients first? Well, don’t get me wrong, agents can be great—if you have the right one. But my gut was telling me to take the futuristic route. Especially when ALL my beta readers are the queens of one-click buys on Amazon. They’d read a book and a recommendation would pop up in the end, and what do you know? They bought it. I researched that, too. 99% of those books were all self published. Another thing to nudge me in that direction. Future, guys. Future.
Next I attended a self-publishing conference in L.A. last September. It was here that I met my publisher, Wise Ink. And it was by chance, too! I am so grateful I skipped a class to chat with Amy, the co-founder of Wise Ink. At that point, I was pretty much sold on using Abbot Press from Writer’s Digest. But again, my gut was telling me to go with Amy—more personal, more attention to details, and they had distribution. HUGE.
Conference ended and I hadn’t done anything with my manuscript except query the agents who requested material. Believe it or not I was STILL waiting for replies when Amy contacted me early December. We discussed my novel some more and sort of started a plan. I talked with my husband to make sure he was on board, and then I contacted Amy and gave her the go; we’ve been hard at work ever since, and it feels GREAT to be near the end.
Creating a story is a gift—not to the writer, but to the engaging reader who can escape one world and enter another through your written words. Like what Twenty-One Pilots said, “make it about others”. I hope THE 52ND brings you all moments of bliss. I never wrote this story for me. It was always meant for you.
THE 52ND’s Timeline:
January 2011 – THE 52ND conceived, early stages of writing
Summer 2011 – Research
Fall 2011-Fall 2013 – Writing
Fall 2013-Summer 2014 – Revising
October 27th, 2014 – RELEASE DATE
I hope you Dela's guest post (I really liked it). Come back tomorrow with an interview with the next Class of 2014 author!
Hint: Her debut is a serialized book.