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Swoon Author Jessika Fleck: My Publishing Journey

Since my second book with Swoon Reads is releasing SOON (Psst! March 10th!), I figured it’s as good a time as any to share my publishing journey… or more… my (condensed) publishing roller coaster.

Stay with me.

Mine certainly isn’t a unique tale. I’d dare say most authors have felt the extreme ups and downs and nauseating loop-de-loops of this thing called "trying to get your book published."

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I first began writing several years ago on a complete whim because I was in great need of a creative outlet. My goal was purely to write the stories that kept coming to me. Honestly, getting a book published—much less all of the steps it takes to get there—wasn’t even on my radar. Oh, past Jessika, how innocent and bright-eyed you were.

But as time went on, I wrote more stories and even more stories after that, and I actually got better at this writing thing. Then I started looking into getting published, because wouldn’t that be cool?!

Fast forward to many months of researching query letters and agents and the business of publishing later and I knew a TINY bit of what I was in for. I had written a young adult book about witches. My quick pitch was "Practical Magic meets Romeo and Juliet." I won’t bore you with my horrible query letter but I got A LOT of form rejections and even more no-replies. Like, a lot. Enough to take the wind out of my sails. But I kept on and I revised my query and eventually agents started asking for more pages. Then the full. And eventually I had an offer of representation. And I accepted. And then I had three books go out on submission (also known as author purgatory) and none of them—not one—sold.

Spoiler alert: That was my first agent. I’m on agent number three now. It took me three agents to find "the one." Pro-tip: Publishing is not for the impatient or the faint of heart.

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I’m going to fast forward again, but the next year or so was full of more query rejections, a small book deal with a mid-range publisher, a couple of offers of representation (agent number two came and went) and…you guessed it…my Swoon Reads publishing deal! On yet another whim, I uploaded my book, then titled The Offering to the Swoon Reads website. I had heard great things, I knew a few of their authors through various circles and groups, and figured, the odds were I wouldn’t get chosen, but why the heck not try?

Uh, I’m so glad I did! The stars aligned for my lil’ YA fantasy series and here I am, about to celebrate the release of the final book in the duology!

I should mention that somewhere between copyedits for Beware the Night and its official pub-day, I signed with my third agent and she’s a keeper!

So, the moral of the story is… if you’re trying to get published or thinking about getting published or maybe, possibly, toying with the distant idea of writing a book and one day potentially attempting to get it published: DON’T GIVE UP!!! Keep writing, take each rejection with a grain of salt, and persist when the going gets tough.

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Also, remember, when things are really difficult, you can always count of the fact that there’s a Simpsons GIF for pretty much everything.

Author spotlight

Jessika Fleck

Jessika Fleck is a writer, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter—she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do …

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