Friday, April 29, 2016

How I Got Published After Self-Publishing by Rochelle B. Weinstein, Author of Where We Fall + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Where We Fall
Rochelle B. Weinstein

On the surface, Abby Holden has it all. She is the mother of a beautiful daughter and the wife of Ryan, a beloved high school football coach. Yet, depression has a vice grip on Abby and every day tugs a little harder on the loose threads of her marriage, threatening to unravel her charmed life. Meanwhile, Ryan is a charismatic, loyal husband who can coach the local high school football team to victory, but is powerless to lift his wife’s depression, which has settled into their marriage like a deep fog. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, Ryan is determined to heal the rifts in his family. Lauren Sheppard was once Ryan’s girlfriend and Abby’s closest friend. Now a globe-trotting photographer who documents the power and beauty of waterfalls around the world, she returns back home to the mountains of North Carolina, where she must face the scene of a devastating heartbreak that forever changed the course of her life.

As college coeds, Abby, Ryan, and Lauren had an unbreakable bond. Now, for the first time in seventeen years, the once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting their past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together. With hypnotic, swift storytelling, Weinstein weaves in and out of Abby, Ryan, and Lauren’s lives and imparts lessons of love, loyalty, friendship, and living with mental illness.

Ripe with emotional insight, Where We Fall explores the depths of the human mind and a heart that sees what the eyes cannot. As Abby, Ryan, and Lauren struggle to repair their relationships and resolve their inner demons, they unflinchingly hold the mirror to the reader, reminding us not only of our own flaws, but also how beautiful and human those imperfections can be.

How I Got Published After Self-Publishing

With little to no formal instruction, I sat down and wrote my first novel. It was 2000, our twins were a year old, and I was transitioning from a high-powered job in the music industry to a rigorous schedule of diaper duty and lullabies. The loss of my former identity shrouded me in uncertainty, and those napping angels gave me plenty of time to consider my next move. Always a private journal writer, words and stories beckoned me. Armed with a journalism degree and a deep-seated fascination with the human condition, I penned What We Leave Behind. I did not have a plot. I did not have an outline. I did not read Story by Robert McKee. I wrote from my heart.

For years, 110,000 words sat under my bed until I picked up the manuscript one afternoon and began to read. Hmm, I thought. This isn’t that terrible. Significant criteria I placed on my hard work. And the query process had begun. As though it hasn’t been written a zillion times before, it is really hard to blindly query an agent who receives no less than one thousand queries a week and shine through the slush pile. Nearly impossible. BUT I KNEW AN AGENT! Who better to represent my part-personal part-masterpiece about love and loss and what could have been than my husband’s ex-girlfriend?

Debbie* once referred to my husband as an "unmitigated toad." But I was convinced, partly the author in me, the creator of destiny and happily ever after, that she would take me on as a client and we would sit together, arm in arm, on Oprah’s plush sofa and relish in delusional bestseller bliss. Here’s what really happened: She did not take me on as a client. Instead, she instructed me to find a good editor, even going so far as recommending one to me who I have used for all three of my novels.

Back to life. Back to reality. I was determined. Here is where I ask the key question. What is it you want out of your writing career? Do you want a tangible piece of evidence to leave behind in the world? Do you long to be rich and famous, the quintessential bestseller who travels the world? I knew what I wanted from day one. I wanted to touch someone with my words. Knowing my goal made the rest of the journey rather simplistic. I queried. I networked. I got rejected. I got rejected. Oh, and I got rejected. I could have easily wallpapered a bathroom with the standard form letter. Deflated, I got back up again.

Self-publishing was emerging as a viable option for writers to put their work out into the world. The internet and digital media were setting the stage for a new arena of talent that would circumvent the traditional outlets. It was now 2011. My book had sat, hopelessly, rejected in a box under our bed, and I’d already penned a second book—to no avail. I signed a deal with CreateSpace and within a few months, I was holding my first novel in my hands. Exactly sixteen months later, my second novel, The Mourning After, was released. And with my marketing and advertising background, I was able to single-handedly sell over 70,000 books.

When it came time to release Where We Fall, I was met with an inner struggle. Already running a publishing house from our home, the time was right for me to try my hand at a traditional deal. Book sales translated into interest, and soon I was deciding between not one, but two agents, which eventually led me to Lake Union Publishing and this fabulous book which brings together my three favorite things: love, North Carolina, and football.

It can happen to you. Don’t give up. Persevere. Be really clear about your intentions. Write from your heart. Exploit all your contacts—you never know who may be able to open a door for you—even an unmitigated toad’s ex-girlfriend. Find a great editor. Don’t read reviews. Be kind. Pay it forward. And good things will come your way. Trust me, I know. It happened to me.

*name has been changed.

About the Author

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Rochelle B. Weinstein followed her love of the written word across the country. She moved north to attend the University of Maryland, earning a degree in journalism, and began her career in Los Angeles at the LA Weekly.

After moving back to Miami, she enjoyed a stint in the entertainment industry, marrying her love of music with all things creative. When her twins arrived, she sat down one afternoon while they were napping and began to write. The resulting novel, the highly acclaimed What We Leave Behind, explores the poignancy of love and the human condition. Her second book, The Mourning After, is a moving story of hope and resiliency.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Where We Fall—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Rochelle's question in the comments below:
What project have you left "sitting under your bed" and isn't it time to take it out, dust it off, and find a way to share it with the world? Doesn't necessarily have to be a book, but a hobby, skill, or something else you've wanted to pursue!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Rochelle and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Lake Union Publishing!
Giveaway ends May 13th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!