I’m so excited today to have a guest post from Danika Stone – author of Internet Famous – to share with you today! If you’ve ever wondered what the publishing process might look like, this is the post for you!

Before we jump into the fray however, I just want to mention that you REALLY need to go check out my review of Danika’s book, Internet Famous. It was an awesome read about a senior in high school with a huge social following – and a huge troll problem. When a smoking-hot French exchange student sets her heart ablaze, will the troll douse the flames? Or will they burn brighter than ever?

And now without further ado, I present to you Danika’s guest post!

The Hybrid Author

By Danika Stone

When I first started writing, I had a rose-colored vision of how publishing a book might go. It followed a pretty simple plan:

  1. Write the book
  2. Query agents
  3. Sign with the one I want
  4. The agent would submit the manuscript to publishers
  5. A publisher would make an offer
  6. I’d sign a contract
  7. And – tada! – the book would hit the stores!

This did NOT happen.

My first round of querying was a complete loss. I queried and queried without success. What I got, however, was plenty of good advice. The agents I connected with talked with me about building a name for myself. Though I never signed with any of them, I took their advice to heart. I wrote more books. I made connections. I built a brand. And while the traditional publishing door stayed stubbornly locked, the self-publishing window was one I happily climbed through.

Eloping with Amazon might not be the way I’d intended to get my first novels out into the world, but it was an effective back up plan. I had one of my books place as a quarterfinalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel of the Year award and another place as a finalist in Black Balloon’s Horatio Nelson Book Prize. One of the unexpected bonuses about those first ‘indie titles’ I published is that they are still earning their keep years after I put them into the world.

Despite my independent publishing success, I never gave up on the idea of making the leap to traditional publishing.

My second round of querying – with a shiny new manuscript in hand – was significantly different than my first experience. Within days of sending out my query letters, my manuscript had been requested by a number of agents. Within weeks, I signed with Morty Mint of Mint Literary, Canada. Morty was impressed with what I’d accomplished during my years of independent publishing. He knew determination when he saw it. (And I knew the right agent!) Morty had forty years of experience, including a background as the one-time CEO of Penguin US and prior to that, as the President of Penguin Canada. He came with the business savvy I needed.

My first traditionally published book, Edge of Wild, was submitted and eventually signed with Stonehouse (Canada). With his ties to publishing, Morty was key in getting it into Chapters stores. The sequel to that title, The Dark Divide, was recently signed with Stonehouse and will be in stores in the next year and a half.

My last big leap in my publishing journey was one that came about because of the blending of these two worlds: indie and traditional. I entered a crowd-sourced publishing contest with Swoon Reads (Macmillan) and my manuscript, All the Feels, was selected for publication. From there – the unlocked side door of Big Five publishing – I was finally right where I’d try to be, years before. This led directly to the publication of Internet Famous. And now, with Internet Famous in stores, and another Macmillan YA on the way, I can finally look back on my convoluted journey and say it was all worth it. I believe more and more that with major endeavors, it’s about chiseling toe-holds, not an innate ability to climb.

So how about you? What has your publishing journey been like? Have you considered independent publishing? Small press? Big Five? Other combinations? Take a moment and put your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear!

And don’t forget to check out the other stops along the blog tour way!