Hey guys! A.G. Howard wrote a new book and I am seriously so excited about it! It is called The Architect of Song and it will be hitting shelves on August 15th! As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of her Splintered Series so when I heard that she was self publishing a new adult historical story with paranormal elements, I was over the moon excited. I got to read an early copy and you guys Anita did not disappoint! I adored this book and would highly recommend it! My full review should be posting on the blog very soon!
I’m going to be honest, I was very curious to know why Anita decided to self publish instead of going the traditional publication route. And guess what? That is exactly what my guest post is about. Anita talks about her choice to self publish and her experience with publishing as a whole. I thought this was an excellently written post and if you are an aspiring author you should definitely check it out! Or if your like me and just want to know more about Anita then you should read it as well :D!
There is also a fantastic giveaway at the end of the post and there will be 12 winners so make sure to check it out!
About A.G. Howard:
A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.
When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.
You can visit A.G. around the web here:
Want to read more from A.G. Howard?
Why I chose to be a hybrid author…
For those who don’t know, The Architect of Song (think Pride and Prejudice meets A Certain Slant of Light) is the first book in my New Adult series. If you’d like to read more about my conception of the story idea, check out this post.
All four books of this series will be published by me under my own trademarked imprint: Golden Orb Press.
You might be asking, “Why did A.G. have to publish this herself? Didn’t any traditional publishers want this series?”
The truth is, I didn’t *have* to. My agent and I originally sent this out to several publishers who passed for reasons I’ll address later in this post. But, there were still a lot of publishers remaining that we could’ve approached, and a referral on which we never followed through. There were options available that I scrapped to go this route instead.
So the question becomes not why I had to do it. It’s why did I *choose* to?
I’m going to answer that today, in hopes to discount the “authors self-publish because their writing isn’t good enough to meet the standards of a traditional publisher” misconception that still seems to pervade certain circles. It’s just not true.
Some authors choose to self-publish so they’ll have more control over things like covers, edits, deadlines and launch dates, while others (like me) do so because their story breaks genre rules, and doesn’t fit into a traditional publishing box.
My books have always been difficult to label. In 2006, my first novel, a romantic fantasy called INFINITY’S POND—about an elemental witch set in the colonial era and how she’s persecuted for her abilities—won honorable mention at a writing conference and the attention from an editor at Kensington, yet later received a hundred agency rejections because no one knew exactly how to sell it. After two years, I put it aside and started querying my third book to agents, a dark vampire fantasy called THE WISDOM OF BLOOD, about a powerful clan of female halfling vampires.
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In 2009, I met my first agent. She really liked my writing in THE WISDOM OF BLOOD, but the literary quality of my prose paired with the horror/fantasy and romantic aspects gave her pause, because she wasn’t sure how to sell such a combination. She ended up falling in love with my fourth book, titled FORGOTTEN SILENCES (now known as THE ARCHITECT OF SONG), because it felt closer to a traditional romance. After signing me, my agent submitted the manuscript to publishers as a historical single title romance.
Here is some of the editor feedback we received:
In essence, my book was turned down, not because the writing wasn’t good enough, but because the overall plot and story didn’t fit romance guidelines. They wanted the romance faster paced; they wanted third person dual heroine and hero POVs; they wanted only one hero who’s consistently in the story from the beginning—so the reader knows who the heroine will end up with from the get-go.
To put it simply, my book didn’t fit into their box. Could I have rewritten it to make it work? Well, yes and no. I could’ve, but it would have shattered my author’s vision and crumbled the story’s foundation.
The first person POV is pivotal in this book. The reader has to be isolated and engulfed by Juliet’s deafness for the very reason voiced by one of the editors: “the magical, haunting quality of the story stayed with me, rather like a complex chord in music”. That haunting magic would be lost were there also a “hearing” POV in the story, such as the hero’s, to break the spell. And on the subject of heroes, both of them are crucial. The mystery and tensions fall flat with only one of them there.
As painful as it was to think of my book never being published, I refused to compromise, because I knew this story needed its uniqueness—those very things that set it apart from traditional paranormal romances and kept it from being “sellable.” So, I moved on to writing other books that my agent didn’t know how to sell for their uniqueness.
Three books and two years later in 2010, I parted ways amicably with my first agent (deets about our breakup are here) without finding publication. Within months, I had signed with my present agent (the fantastic Jenny Bent) with book number seven, an Alice in Wonderland spinoff, and a few months later we sold SPLINTERED (which itself had 23 publisher rejections for being “hard to place” before it went to auction).
Once the dust had settled from my YA series, some five years later, Jenny and I sent out THE ARCHITECT OF SONG to publishers again, this time as a mainstream women’s fiction entitled GHOSTFLOWER. The feedback from editors?
On this venture out, so many of the perceived pros and cons contradicted one another, proving subjectivity played more a role than genre boundaries. Yet still, once again, they couldn’t decide where the book would belong because it straddled lines between literary and commercial fiction, and YA and adult.
Out of the handful of mainstream submissions we sent, I ended up getting a referral from one of the editors to the romance-based imprint of their publisher, because they were “huge fans of A.G. Howard” there. As flattering as that was, it felt like coming full circle to the prior experience I had with my first agent in the romance venue.
What is it they say about insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
As far as I could tell, the romance genre still had the same strict rules, and even if they took on my book, I suspected things that I knew were necessary would have to be compromised during edits to make the story more “sellable” from their perspective. By this time, I’d had two agents believe in this book enough to champion it, glowing compliments on the beauty of the writing from editors who read hundreds of manuscripts a month, and many beta readers who loved the story itself. I knew it was sellable as is. So, I never followed through on that referral.
I wasn’t going to let the “process” hold me back any longer. Not when I had an advantage I didn’t have before. The biggest hurdle for a debut indie author is finding a readership. And I’d already earned mine with The Splintered Series.
And to sweeten the pot, now there was a category that fit my book’s “somewhere between adult and young adult” quality: New Adult (NA)—a genre in which many authors were already finding self-publishing success.
However, even while sharing some likenesses with NA, my book was still going to be different. Most NAs are contemporary or urban fantasy. There aren’t many gothic historicals with paranormal elements. Also, NA has a reputation for more graphic love scenes, bordering on erotica. And my prose—having a literary quality—doesn’t quite meet that expectation. Sensual, yes. Erotic, no. But this time, since I was planning to indie-publish, those peculiarities could be a good thing, because it gives NA readers something different to read in a rather new and limited genre. So instead of needing to change what makes my stories hard to place, I could at last embrace it.
In the back of my mind, I’d always toyed with the idea of being a hybrid author one day . . . publishing both traditional and indie books each year to lessen the wait between titles for my readers, and this series would be the perfect springboard to my indie career.
I was free. No more trying to land a traditional home for my non-traditional, genre-crossing, niche story.
In case you’re wondering, my agent was and is fully supportive of my decision. In fact, Jenny’s written an inspirational blog post about self-published authors here: Think of me as a conduit, not a gatekeeper. Although I’m in charge of domestic publishing, Jenny is helping with foreign sales, audio sales, and film/TV rights, etc… So, my agent is still aiding in my career, even on the indie side.
If you’re an aspiring author, and you’ve had outside reads from legit readers (not just friends & family) who love the story, yet you’re being rejected consistently by agents or traditional publishers who seem hung up on “how to place the book”—all the while complimenting your writing—you don’t have to trunk that manuscript for life. Self-publishing is a viable option for those willing to put in the work. In an upcoming post on this tour, I’ll be sharing some online tools I’ve found very helpful during my own experience.
If you’re a reader who’s been looking for unique stories, but shies away from self-published books because you think it somehow reflects on the skill of the writer, I hope you’ll reconsider. Today you’ve been given a behind-the-scenes look at the obstacles some authors face while trying to put their hard-to-label well-written stories into your hands. Check out the reviews of other readers; they can serve as the acquiring editor / gatekeeper in this instance … they’ll let you know if the book is well-written.
Traditional publishing will always have its place—for books that can be branded; but there are wonderful stories that get turned away for no other reason than editors don’t know where to shelf it; and now, thanks to indie publishing, those stories have a place, too.
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I hope you enjoyed learning about my journey to being a hybrid author. Now, onto the exciting portion of the tour: the prizes!
At each guest post, I’ll be spotlighting one of the above prizes to give you a closer look. Today, the spotlight is on The Architect of Song paperback.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be giving away two signed paperback copies, (and also three e-book versions!). That’s five chances to win a book (INTL).
So be sure to enter the rafflecopter, and join us during the rest of the tour where there will be reveals, excerpts, and reviews to give you glimpses into the characters and settings of my NA gothic historical series!
7/25/2016- Dark Faerie Tales– Guest Post-Hybrid Author
7/25/2016- a GREAT read– Review
7/26/2016- Lisa Loves Literature– Review
7/26/2016- Bookfever– Review
7/27/2016- Fiktshun– Character Interview
7/27/2016- The Cover Contessa– Review
7/28/2016- The Reading Café– Review
7/28/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie– Review
7/29/2016- Please Feed the Bookworm– Review
7/29/2016- 21st Century Once Upon A Times– Review
8/1/2016- Once Upon a Twilight – Exclusive Excerpt
8/1/2016- Ramblings of a Daydreamer– Review
8/2/2016- My Friends Are Fiction– Guest Post- Fashion
8/2/2016- Sarcasm & Lemons– Review
8/3/2016- Cornerfolds– Review
8/3/2016- BookHounds YA– Review
8/4/2016- Bookiemoji– Exclusive Excerpt
8/4/2016- Owl Always Be Reading– Review
8/5/2016- Mundie Moms– Review
8/5/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post- Playlist
This contest is provided by A.G. Howard!
2 – signed The Architect of Song paperbacks
3 – The Architect of Song e-books
1 – heart locket necklace
1 – Architect of Song poster
1 – faux leather journal
1 – 5X7 musical print
3 – The Architect of Song swag packs
(12 separate winners and all prizes are INT)
Available August 15, 2016 by Golden Orb Press
About this Book:
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.
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