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Guest Post - From Indie to Traditional: The Story of One Little {Twisted} Book That Could

16 Jan 2015

Synopsis

I was seven when I swallowed my first needle.

My mom freaked out and rushed me to the emergency room.

She stayed by my side all night.

I never wanted it to end.

When you spend your whole life feeling invisible-when your parents care more about deals and deadlines than they do about you-you find ways of making people take notice. Little things at first. Then bigger. It's scary how fast it grows. Then one day something happens that makes you want to stop. To get better. To be better. And for the first time, you understand what it's like to feel whole, happy . . . loved. For the first time, you love someone back.

For me, that someone was Drew.


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From Indie to Traditional: The Story of One Little {Twisted} Book That Could

It started with a mental image: A dark-haired girl sitting at her vanity, a syringe clutched in her hand as she stared bleakly into her own reflection in the mirror. It intrigued me.
Okay, I’m lying. It didn’t just intrigue me; that image grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. I knew instantly what the girl’s problem was: She had Munchausen syndrome, a psychological condition that causes sufferers to make themselves sick for attention. And then another humdinger of an idea: What if she fell in love with a boy who was legitimately, gravely, physically ill? And what if he had no idea about the skeletons in her closet?

I began to write the story in spite of the fact that up to that point, I’d only written a dystopian and a paranormal romance serial. This one was contemporary, but it made my heart sing.
I’ll be honest: when I first put the book out, I wasn’t sure if anyone would get it. Of course I hoped people would like it—every writer hopes that—but let’s face it…it was weird. The protagonist injects herself with saliva. She’s despicable at times, selfish and self-serving and immature. And she befriends people who are legitimately sick to revel in their sickness. Not exactly a light hearted story.

And sure, there were plenty of people who didn’t get it. I got emails from readers saying, “Hey, I thought this was going to be sweeter, like The Fault in Our Stars. Da f*q is this??” I began to get embarrassed. Was I the only one twisted enough to enjoy a story like this? To actually see that it’s about hope and redemption and triumphing in spite of deep, dark secrets?

But then other readers began to reach out. Readers like our very own Laura here at Bookish Treasures. They loved the book. They wanted to know if there was a sequel. They’d stayed up all night reading it. They’d shed tears at the exact same parts I had while writing it! I knew then that I’d found my tribe.

Don’t let anyone tell you that book bloggers are anything but magical. Laura included my book in a post that talked about the “most different” NA (new adult) books out there. And guess who happened to read her blog post? A literary agent at one of the biggest agencies looking for a good new adult book she could sink her teeth into. When the agent read the blurb, she bought my book and read it. And then she emailed me.

My little, twisted, weird book had landed me an agent. And not too long after, we got a publishing contract. That book is now One Last Song, with a brand new cover (the last one was too pink and not nearly gritty enough) and substantial edits (more friendship, more romance, and a more complete ending).

This whole experience has been completely surreal. With the same book, I walked the spectrum of doing everything myself—writing it in isolation, asking beta readers to rip it to shreds before hiring my own editor, hiring a cover artist, asking friends to help me do a blog tour—to having the same book repackaged and publicized with one of the Big Five publishers.

While I love many things about the indie process, the traditional process was luxuriantly painless. Everything was done for me, and I must admit, I liked it. But what I especially loved was having an editor who picked my book from the slush pile, who believed in it enough to work with me for months on how to reshape it into something better and stronger. It was a transcendental experience, no lie.

So what have I learned from this whirlwind year and a half? I’ve learned to write what’s in my heart, no matter how whacky or weird other people may think it is. I’ve learned that book bloggers, those readers with a true passion for stories, are an amazingly giving bunch. And I’ve learned that there are other twisted people out there just like me. Really, what more could you want?

About S.K. Falls



2014 IPPY award-winning author S.K. Falls believes a degree in psychology qualifies her to emotionally torture her characters in an authentic fashion. When she isn't writing her twisted love stories, she can be found gallivanting around Charleston, SC with her family. Visit her on the web at www.skfalls.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorskfalls.

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