Thursday, January 17, 2013

From Writer to Author

ONE has always been a misfit of a book. This story about a girl with half a superpower and a boy who makes her fly grabbed onto me one late summer morning and hasn't let me go since. It has also defied genre classification and YA-lit cliche, which, I have to admit, I'm proud of.  I poured my heart and soul into writing, revising, and shaping it for nearly a year, and I dreamed of publishing it since I wrote the very first scene.

ONE has been lucky to have many readers - dozens, actually - and got mostly positive feedback.

I was delighted, if not super shocked, when my agent also fell in love with ONE. It hadn't had the best luck querying, and the fact that Agent Tricia not only loved the story, but understood it, had me hopeful that publishers would feel the same way.

The novel went on submission in the late summer. I was so lucky that some of the biggest names in publishing agreed to read the manuscript, and that all of them loved the concept - X-men meets Sky High - and praised my writing. Each one, though, felt that something stood in the way of being able to take it on - something different each time, in fact. 

What it boils down to is this: 
The publishers we submitted to don't think they can sell ONE, but that's okay. 
Because I think I can. 

 I'm thrilled to announce that ONE, my debut novel about a girl with only half a superpower and her struggle to make herself whole, will be published on June 11th, 2013.

The sequel, TWO, will release on October 8, 2013. 

Does this mean that I'm giving up on traditional publishing? Goodness, no, not at all! (In fact, my agent's submitting my YA Contemporary Mansfield Park redux, SOLVING FOR EX, to editors right now.) All this means is that I feel that this is the best way to get this particular book to readers at this particular time.

Am I scared? Heccccck yes. But ever since I've read this blog post from one of my heroes, Tammara Webber, its message has been my mantra. It's okay to be scared, but don't be frozen.

What I'm excited about:
  • I'm in control. The final edit of ONE reflects my vision for the story and characters, and no one else's. I can price the book where I want to, and release new material whenever I want.
  • I'm not alone. I've already assembled an incredible team, from editors to a cover designer to formatters to marketing artists to a shiny new assistant, who will all have a heavy hand in making ONE the best that it can be.
  • I'm not the first. I have friends and role models who are open and honest about this process, helping me along each step of the way. 
  • I am supported. Every single person I've told about my decision has been nothing less than supportive.  Beginning with my closest critique partners, so many people are holding my hand and lifting me up through the very toughest parts of this endeavor.
  • My career options are wide open. My agent believes that a hybrid publishing model is possible, exciting, and supports me 100%. I'm so very, very lucky to have a knowledgeable and visionary publishing professional on my side, and to be backed by one of the best children's agencies in the business

What I'm bummed about:
  • There's still some pretty heavy stigma out there. I can't join debut author blogs because I'm not traditionally published, and most book bloggers won't even consider a self-published title for review.
  • My book won't be in book stores. Yeah, it was part of the dream. For now, I'm okay with letting it go.
  • It's not cheap. Would I have loved for a publisher to pay the up-front costs of putting a quality novel up for sale? Yes. Is it worth the cost? Yes, and I'll pay it. Gladly.

All in all, I'm incredibly happy and confident with my decision. I can't wait for this book to be out in the world. I can't wait for people to read it. It's going to be a great year. 

In the words of my excellent assistant, John Hansen, I'm going to rock this. And when I do, I'll have all of you to thank. 

Speaking of you, a lot of you have been asking what you can do to help (and I love you so hard for that.) There will be cover reveals and blog tours to arrange, and John and I will be in touch with many of you about that. But the most important thing you can do is simple: if you are excited about ONE, talk about it. Online, at school, at work. In reviews or in the grocery checkout. Nothing is more crucial to the success of a book than word of mouth, and I am so grateful to any of you who mentions ONE in a blog post, on the phone with your mom, or somewhere on Twitter.

Lastly, you can add and follow and like ONE all over the internet. Here are the links:

Add ONE to Goodreads
"Like" ONE on Facebook
Sign up for my newsletter
Pre-order ONE

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You, sweet readers and supporters, are what make my world go 'round.

113 comments:

  1. Love the concept...cannot wait to read..you are so brave. <3

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    1. Thank you honey! I try. I can't wait for you to read it in final form. ;) #TeamONE

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  2. I am so so SO happy and excited for you!!!! This is a very brave endeavor but I am confident you will find success. You are an INSPIRATION and I love you for it. ~hugs and hearts!~

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    1. Thank you! I'm gonna be leaning on my indie buddies all over the place. You are wonderful. <3

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  3. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! The world gets to read one and fall in love with Elias and be all happy that there are awesome, strong, independent female MC's like Merrin and I am so happy I can't even stop typing this sentence so it will be the longest sentence about my love for you and ONE and Imma review the hell out of this book all over the place and oh my God TWO will be out just in time for my birthday which I know is probably exactly why you chose that date ok I love you you are amazing.

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    1. MEGANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN YOU ARE THE BEST EVER AND YES OBVIOUSLY THAT'S WHY I CHOSE THE DATE FOR TWO. LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

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  4. I just pre-ordered 3 copies. Because I won't want to share mine, but I'll be making everyone else read it so, this seemed like a reasonable idea

    I am so proud of you, and SO excited for the mounds of success you're about to have.

    LOVE you.

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    1. You did NOT! *bawls*

      Kels, from #TeamCupidsLC to #TeamONE, I'm just happy you're on my side. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!

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  5. I'm really excited for you! Your book sounds awesome and I'm glad you've found a way to make it available to readers. Good luck and CONGRATS!!!! :D

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    1. Thank you so much! You're fabulous.

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  6. I can't wait to read ONE. I'm so happy you're getting this book out there to readers, and I'm so excited for you!!! (Also I'm appalled at how all my sentences start with "I"...)

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    1. *I* am so happy you're excited. *I* love you tons. *smile* Thanks for your support, babe. <3

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  7. Oooooooh, so happy to hear this! The best part about this not going the traditional pub route? We can read it SOONER!!!! Looking forward to the release date!

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    1. YES. Just under five months. *stomach churns* Thank you honey!

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  8. WHEN I GET HOME, I'M PRE-ORDERING THE HELL OUT OF THIS!!!

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    1. HOLY GEEZ STOP MAKING ME CRY WOMAN. (thank you. Love you.)

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    2. NEVERRRRRRRRR!!!! (you're welcome. love you, too.)

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  9. Awesome! Becca and Trisha both say it's 5 stars, so that's good enough to get me to give it a shot! :D

    (And the more awesome, professionally done self pubs there are? The more the stigma will go away. Then it's a matter of finding only the well edited, amazing books!)

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    1. Thank you thank you thank you. So much. Geez. This is amazing. <3

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  10. LEIGH ANNNNNNNN!!!!!!!! I LITERALLY HAVE TEARS IN MY EYES RIGHT NOW. I am so, so, SO proud of you and SO excited for people to read ONE! My total girl crush on Merrin can finally be shared and I CANNOT WAIT!!!! Congrats, babe. Love you so much! WAIT ALSO--will there be print books? If so, you NEED TO SIGN MINE OKAY??? Okay. :D

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    1. Amanda, I'm gonna sign the SH*T out of your books.

      Also, Merrin has a girl crush on you, too. She told me. <3

      LOVE YOU TONS!!! Thank you so much for being on #TeamONE! <3 <3 <3

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  11. I make your words mine! I'm gonna self-pub a novel in April and it's scary as hell! But I'm not done with trying to find agents and going the trad route yet - I'll try that with another novel ;)
    *high five* You're gonna rock!

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    1. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I DID NOT KNOW THIS!!!!

      Best of luck and email me about ANYTHING okay!!!!

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  12. So excited that One will be out there soon :) Can't wait to read it. There are several book bloggers who will review indie published books and I'm sure (hope!) more will latch onto the fact that there are some awesome self published books out there and do the same :)

    Good luck with One, Two and your Mansfield Park redux.

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    1. Thank you!!! I'll be dropping you a line soon. *wink*

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  13. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *breaks into song and dance*

    This is awesome. AWESOME. And I'm super happy for you. Count on me to support the LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of you, girlie. Best wishes now and forever.

    *sings and dances even more*

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    1. Eeeeep! Thank you! I'm SO excited to have you on #TeamONE. *smoooosh*

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  14. You are awesome! This is going to be great.

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    1. JAYE!!! YOU are awesome! It's going to be fun. I think. :D

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  15. Yay! I'm super excited for you. Sorry I can't think of something better to say, but you are going to rock self-publishing.

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  16. This is SOOOOOO exciting!!!! it's a huge step and you are so going to rock this self publishing business!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS! Can't wait to read it!!

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    1. Aw, thanks! That's my hope! You are fabulous.

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  17. YAY AGAIN!!! <3 I'm so happy for you and I admire your tenacity and kickass spirit so much. I cannot wait to read and fall in love with ONE!

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    1. Aw, thanks dear! This means the world to me. I'm just trying to be brave and get through, just like anyone else. <3 <3 <3

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  18. This is so inspiring.

    In 2010 I wrote a novel about sidekicks. It was set in a world nearly a decade after a villain had won and effectively killed off every hero in the world (heroes and sidekicks were "realistic" occupations, like sheriff and deputy, so no spandex, but a few "mythic powers" pop up). It was a book with a tone closer to Kick-Ass than Fantastic Four. I spent a good chunk of 2011 revising, then sent it out.

    To my delight, it was requested and read in full by some huge agents. Unfortunately, in the end it was always rejected. They all had great things to say about my writing, premise and characters, but not so much about the book's marketability. Superhero books don't sell, I was told. "Make it a graphic novel." "Make the characters older or younger." "Write something else." I even had one amazing and super helpful agent give me the stats on a superhero book she repped that was critically praised but no one bought.

    By early 2012 I had a pile of rejections--I think 18 was my total. I moved on to a new, completely different book, and I'm currently querying agents. I still have a lot of love for that book on the shelf, but I know putting all my eggs in that basket isn't smart.

    So reading this post and seeing what your book is about was inspiring and encouraging. I just purchased my pre-order and I can't wait to evangelize for ONE upon its release. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help and support your book--from artwork to Amazon reviews, I'm all over it.

    Good luck Leigh Ann!

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    1. Wow, Austin! Thank you SO MUCH for your pre-order and, most of all, sharing your story.

      Let's watch these one and see if we can prove the whole "Superheroes don't sell" thing wrong, huh? ;)

      Thank you so much!

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    2. This conversation makes me so unbelievably nervous. I'm just starting to query agents with a superhero story for Upper MG. But I will totally join in trying to prove the "superheroes don't sell" thing wrong!

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  19. WOOO! I can't wait to read ONE and I'm so proud of you for doing this. You know I will help you in any way I can! <3

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    1. Ohhhh thank you SO VERY MUCh. You are wonderful! <3 <3 <3

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  20. Congratulations!! So happy for you!! :)

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  21. HUGE CONGRATS! I'm so excited for you. I will tell everyone I know about your book because it sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it.

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    1. Aw, thanks honey! You are fabulous. <3 <3 <3

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  22. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!! IT'S OFFICIAL!!!!!! Can't wait to see it on my kindle ;o) YOU'LL ROCK THIS! Totally pre-ordering my copy tonight!! SO SO SO SO proud of you!!

    <333 E

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    1. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ALL THE TEARS! Thanks babe! I'll never forget when you read and loved One for the first time. What would I do without you???

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  23. Oh Leigh Ann....this is the first thing I've read this morning (thank you Twitter feed) and b*H I am so thrilled to hear this. Dahlia raved to me (in. person. I might add) about how wonderful Merrin and Elias and Leni etc. are and it was such. a. tease.! I'm so effing EXCITED for you and ONE and the gang. I really hope there are print books because *cough* I don't own an e-reader and somebody still owes me challah. Or Jeni's. Or both. ;-) I kid. The point is here- CONGRATULATIONS. I cannot WAIT to read ONE and get to feel the love and excitement your CPs have for this book as well as Trisha too.
    *off to pre-order*

    xo Rachel

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    1. P.S. I will ABSOLUTELY review and do a cover reveal etc on my blog. <3

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    2. UM, YEAH. You are ON THE LIST. And I'll send some challah with it. ;)

      THANK YOU SO MUCH BABE!!!! <3 <3 <3

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  24. I still absolutely love the concept of your novel, and I loved your first 250 words from contests. I'm really bummed about the publishers not coming through for you, but I think you can absolutely rock this! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Rena! I'm excited, and hopeful. You are the greatest. <3

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  25. Done all the things! In the words of Mr. Hansen, "YOU'RE GOING TO ROCK THIS!" Put me down for the tour and a giveaway (my dime). Hugs! It's going to be awesome!

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    1. Ohhhhh sweetie! THANK YOU! ALL THE TEARS! lol. You are just the best.

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  26. Wow. Those rejections had to be hard, but congratulations on staying true to your vision and persevering. Best of luck with your self-publishing journey AND with finding a home for SOLVING FOR EX!

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    1. Well, they were hard only because I thought it would be an easy sale LOL. Oops. :D
      But thank you, really. I think it's going to be a very good year.<3

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  27. Congratulations, Leigh Ann! What fortitude on your part, and how inspiring.

    Can't wait to read ONE.

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    1. Thank you honey! I like to think I have fortitude LOL. Thanks for everything.

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  28. Oh Leigh Ann, you are so badass! I'm smiling while I read this and the comments! This is going to be amazing, and I'd love to help with ANYTHING so sign me the heck up!! :) June is right around the corner, girl!! Can't wait.

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    1. Aw, YOU ARE. Thank you so much for the love and support. I'm getting you on our contact list RIGHT NOW. <3 <3

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  29. Pre-ordered, pre-ordered, PRE-ORDERED!!! Leigh Ann, you are so my hero today!

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    1. Kaaaaaaaaate. Thank you so much, honey! I really am feeling so so so so so lucky! I hope you like it. <3

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  30. Best thing that ever happened: DONE

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    1. YOU ARE. Thank you so much for being so endlessly supportive. <3

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  31. Aaaaaa! So happy for you! And so excited for the rest of us! Congrats! You truly are going to rock this. Yay!

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    1. Thank you babe!!! I'm so excited for One to be published, and BEYOND grateful for all the support I've gotten - including yours!!! <3

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  32. Yay! Congratulations. I'm happy to hear we'll get to see it so soon!

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    1. Thank you sweetie! I know, five months is, like...TOMORROW. <3 <3

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  33. I have an agent for one series but I independently publish another. It is the best writing decision I ever made.

    I wish you lots of luck in your exciting new adventure. Congratulations.

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    1. DONNA. HI. Thank you so, so much. I may be leaning on you in the coming months. <3

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  34. THE ANNOUNCEMENT THE ANNOUNCEMENT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF AWESOME HAS ENTERED THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeayyy! You wrote this so beautifully. I LOVE THE FIRST LINE. "One has always been a misfit of a book." :-). So excited for you!!

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    1. I LOVE YOUR FACE! Thank you so much for every single ounce of support you've given me, honey.

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  35. so excited for you :) of course I'll do what I can to help!

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    1. Thank you sweetheart! You are a wonder. I'll never forget almost a year ago when you read my query. <3

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  36. Leigh Ann,
    I knew I was missing out on something when I saw Twitter explode with excitement. I can't wait to get my hands on ONE or TWO or THREE copies of One. ;)

    Go for it, girl. Tell your story. We've got your back.

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    1. *bawls* The fact that you have my back is more than I could ask for. Love you tons, girl.

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  37. Good for you! Keep moving forward with confidence! I wish you all the best!

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  38. I feel like being all, "I knew this already," lol! ;-)

    You already know how proud I am of you, and the decision you've made. You know how I feel about these stigmas and the writer-on-writer hate. Its bull. You are paving the way to a better relationship between writers, and I know you are inspiring others out there right as I type this! Some day the lines will be blurred. No one will care about HOW you published, just that you did, and just that YOU are happy, and you are making your READERS happy. What else matters?

    You are chasing your dreams, girl! And you have SO MANY fans and supporters in your corner, that ONE is going to blow up the charts!!!

    I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!!

    XOXO

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    1. Tee hee! I did blab quite a lot to you, huh? :D

      You know, it constantly baffles me. *I* don't care how a book was published, and I think my readers will care even less so. They trust me to put a good product in their hands, and I won't rip them off. I just hope people read and enjoy.

      Thank you so much sweetheart!!!

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  39. What a wonderful blog post about your journey. Thanks for sharing it with other authors who are on the same path. It is inspiring and comforting to hear. I'll help in any way I can! Book? Check! Facebook? Check! Newsletter? Check! Goodreads? Check! Now go on and celebrate with your bad self! ;) Best wishes on HUGE success!

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    1. Thanks Colleen! You're an absolute doll! <3

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  40. Congrats, dahling! It's been a long time coming! It's going to feel amazing to send your baby out into the world :)

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    1. GINAAAAAAAAA. I LOVED finally writing your name on an acknowledgements page. <3

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  41. I read the Goodreads description online and your book sounds amazing and fun! It seems so different (a good different) :) from what I have been reading/read. I like it! I hope everything works out and you are able to make this book come to life because I definitely want to read it.

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    1. Ooooh! Different *is* good, thank you! And thanks so much for commenting! I won't disappoint. :D

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  42. Congratulations!! That's so very exciting! I know what you mean about wanting to see your book in a bookstore, but it will be worth it! Go you! I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you darling! Your support means the world to me. <3

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  43. I only started following you late last year but ever since then I've loved the sound of stories and it is SO exciting and such great news to hear One will be releasing this year! A huge, happy congratulations! One sounds amazing and I absolutely can't wait to read it! X-men meets Sky High? Yes please! I'm a YA book blogger and though I don't read self published novels, I'll definitely be checking out yours. Congrats again!

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    1. Aw, HI Rebecca. Thank you so much for your comment. I'm absolutely HONORED that you'd consider reading my book - thank you thank you! I'm running over to check out your blog now, and I'll shoot you an email. ;)

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  44. Congrats Leigh Ann! Very excited for you, and inspired by you. I've moved on from the novel I was querying while you queried ONE, but I still think about it a lot and knowing that even people with agents self-pub makes it feel okay for me to do it, too. Not there yet, but maybe some day :) And I'll definitely be reading ONE! Congrats again.

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    1. I think it's TOTALLY doable, as long as you have a plan and you're committed to producing a quality product. Then, you can't go wrong. Count me as a resource should you have any questions in the future! Best of luck going forward, and THANK YOU so much!!!

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  45. HOW DID I NOT COMMENT ON THIS YET.

    EEEEEEEEE.

    I'm so happy I get to be a part of this! And the rest of the world will finally get to read it!

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    1. Because you're a loser.

      Thanks, Chess. You've been here from word one. Literally. I really can't ever thank you enough.

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  46. You fantastic lady, you!!!

    I am SO excited for the release of ONE and I can't wait to pick up my own copy!!!! GO YOU!!!!!!!!!

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  47. Thank you for this truly inspiring post! As a fellow author facing similar struggles with my own book and the publishing industry, your approach has given me some much needed perspective. You're welcome on my blog Off the Page for any promo posts/reviews etc. whenever you and ONE are ready :)

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  48. Congratulations and I can't wait to read ONE! I'll be sure to parrot it around to everyone I know!

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  49. Very exciting news! Congrats, congrats, congrats!

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  50. This is so exciting :) I can't wait for your first cover reveal!

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  51. I'm happily the one-hundred-something person to say this, but congrats and thank you for sharing your story, it is super-inspiring...and thank you also for sharing your story...it is going on my TBR list. Cheers!

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