Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Personal Path To Publication - Rue Volley

The blog is in for a special treat with today's guest.  She has to be the hardest working writer I personally know, and one of the most nurturing.  Rue Volley is the author of the Blood and Light series, a six book offering in all.  The most amazing part is she wrote the first five in the series in eleven months!  She is also one of the founders of the much-lauded facebook group Volley View, clearly named after her.  A meeting place for all things creative, inhabited by writers, artists, editors, and publishers, its members love it and gushingly sing its praises hourly.  An author at Vamptasy Publishing, she is also its main cheerleader.  Like many of the authors I have featured in this blog series, her journey hasn't been easy, and her experience has been painful, joyful and enlightening.  I am personally all the better for having been blessed with her friendship.  Please now, enjoy reading about my friend Rue.

1.       How long have you been writing?
*I started writing in February of 2010 and never stopped. I had a birthday that blew major ass (I lost my father to a sudden heart attack) and I had already written 15 pages in my first book. After his funeral and mixed feelings about his absence in my life from the age of 7 I found myself staring at those 15 pages asking myself why the hell I started to write it in the first place. I really honestly had no idea and then as those feelings about him and finding out at his funeral that I had a sister and brother that I never even knew (fun right??) I fell into a deep depression and to climb my way out I started to write…and when I say “write” I mean every single day for months on end. I left my retail management job, and dedicated myself to writing everything that I felt, my whole life and I veiled it in a “vampire/paranormal” epic that spans 6 books in length called the “Blood & Light Series”, each book about 350-400 pages long before formatting. During this my Mother became ill with cancer, and still to this day is battling it as she is almost done with her chemo treatments. During the writing of book three “Oil & Water” in my series I hit rock bottom and most days I could not find my way out of bed. I just leaned over, grabbed my laptop and wrote. It was as I wrote the last lines in book 3 that something changed in me and a silver lining appeared, you see my main character spent 11 chapters in an asylum in that book and honestly that is where I felt that I was. So you see…writing to me was a journey that I will forever be grateful that I took, without it I have no idea where I would be.

2.       Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? If not, what’s your plan?
*I am published now. I did release the first book in my series last November through self-publishing on authorhouse and the upside was that the book was out on a lot of sites…the downside is that I had no money for marketing and had a limited reach to expand a fan base, but I started up a facebook page and a fanpage for the series, built a website and I networked my butt off…and when I say I networked, I mean I spent hours every single day sending out emails, linking, making new contacts, sending out “please read this” to as many publishers as possible…but the reality is that NO big publisher will even open your mail without a Literary agent and there again was a problem for me, I had no money to do that either. So…I sold as many books as possible through linking, liking and getting the word out. I made posters and distributed them everywhere…I believe that every single Starbucks in the Midwest had one when I was done, lol and I went through apartment complexes and college dorms and plastered them and as I watched the sales start to pick up I picked up my camera, grabbed a few my closest friends/models and started a campaign to give people a visual of my work by creating the characters for them. I have done over 100 shoots with the models for the characters of my books and I have made posters, flyers and book trailers not only utilizing the photos I took but music that my husband and I made for them. I also contacted every single privately owned book store/ candle/coffee/art/craft/witchy shop that I could find and started to place books in those stores too along with posters of the characters and my other photography work for sale. Then I decided to burn ebook discs and although I could not find but one store to sell them for $5.00, I sold about 200 of them just by pushing it hard every single day, and as I did that I also handed those discs out, trying to get more people excited and involved in the story itself. At grocery stores/coffee shops/Kinko's and pretty much any place I went.  In short….I became a one man wrecking machine when it came to my series because it is my legacy, what I have poured every inch of me into and all be damned if I ever sit back and go…”Well, I could have done that, but I didn’t get around to it.” That is not me, and if you care about it you have to find a way.

3.       Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the “indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish?
*I went directly to my publisher…Vamptasy Publishing, I was actually guided there by Ashley's Freelance Editing (you can find her on facebook) She contacted me about a book she wanted to collect of horror tales and I jumped at the opportunity, this book was going to be released through Vamptasy and I visited their website and then went “Ohhhhh” with a smile on my face. I wrote Ashley back inquiring about Vamptasy and she told me to email and submit to them, so I did and they contacted me and picked up the series. Now we talked for awhile, weeks really…skyping back and forth about everything and when they sent me the three year contract I did take it to a lawyer to look over and when the lawyer said…”It all looks good” I contacted them and signed. Trust me, I thank whoever sits above us every single day that I was picked up. I am thankful to Vamptasy for taking a risk on a new author and I am grateful at the chance to be on such a great publishing company’s roster. Vamptasy is ran by an author herself and because of that she understands what it is like to be a writer and cares about what we want and need. Nicola Ormerod is amazing and I am forever in her debt.

4.       Why did you choose that particular route?
*I would have self published the second book in the series myself if I had not been picked up by Vamptasy. I had already set aside the money and prepared myself to go on a campaigning blitz in the tri state. lol

5.       How long did it take you to write your first novel?
*Well…it is easier for me to tell you how long the first 5 books took…exactly 11 months to the day. I am currently finishing up book six now.

6.       How long did it take you to publish it?
*I self published book one “Blood & Light” in November of 2010, I had submitted it in the summer, making my first payment to authorhouse in June 2010 and by November they had it ready and up online and had sent me the first 15 copies of it. I bought additional copies to sell a month later to sell in bookstores and hand carry and sell.

7.       How many times did it get rejected before it got published?
8.       Tell us about worst rejection letter.
*I never received a rejection letter…publishing companies just ignored me. lol

9.       What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel?            *When Vamptasy Publishing sent me a contract and I knew it was real. I was doing stupid dances all over my house.

10.   What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
*I had a representative at another self publishing company tell me to break my first book into three, without even seeing it. I told him that it was not the way the story was written and would not serve the story and he tried to convince me and I finally said…”Listen, I understand that if I break it up you guys get paid for three books with my first one and that is awesome for you guys…not for me” so he dropped it and started to gripe about Stephenie Meyer and “twilight” and I hung up on him and his drama. lol

11.   Now, tell us the best!
      *The best?? From my editor Holly Buckler…while I was writing book 3, I called her… a complete mess, crying and trying to catch my breath, telling her that I felt broken and she quietly said “you can never be broken…write.” and I went back to writing and finished that book.

12.   What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication?

*Be exactly who you are and write what you know. Do not let anyone judge you and your art and never give up. You need to take advantage of every single situation that arises and plug your work and don’t let people who do not have your best interest in mind slow you down. Some people love misery and would rather you not succeed. Also, edit that book…find someone to do it cheaply or spend time on it yourself. Send out as many emails as possible, but if…like me, you have no money for a literary agent, try” Indie” Publishing and while you wait, build a website, set up pay pal, format your book for ebook and sell it as best you can. Trust me, you will cause a stir and then the right people will see it and you will be signing a contract of your own. There are so many great groups on facebook to become a part of to further your networking like…Author Exchange, Volley View and Creative Mind Collective, just to name a few. Get involved, like those pages, support those authors and they will support you in return. Set up a twitter account and tweet as much as possible, “Tweetdeck” allows you to set tweets up to go out throughout the day so you do not have to monitor it. And…write, write, write.

13.   Where can we read your blog? Buy your books? Connect with you on facebook? On Twitter? Your website? home website  publishers website buy book one & two on buy at the Kindle store on!/RueVolley on twitter

      Enter into the world of 16 year-old Rue Volley...who, up until one fateful night, thought she was "normal" or as "normal" as she could be.
But "normal" does not include being a vampire...a truth about herself that she will soon discover.

Rue Volley lives in the quiet little town of Calvary, Minnesota...nestled in the thick woods lining the Great Lakes. Rue, along with her brother Kai, have lived an otherwise calm life up until their Mother was committed into Rolling River Asylum, after she mysteriously stopped
speaking to anyone. Rue is convinced by her brother to attend a party on her birthday, and after she experiences something that she cannot explain, she and everyone in her world is thrown into madness. Join Rue on this epic journey, 6 books in all, as she struggles with grief, love, humor, old crushes, new found infatuations, hot boys, AND vampires, lots and lots of them.

This first book in the series starts you on a journey that you will find hard to ignore and once you start reading you will be hooked...or perhaps bitten.

Book Two in the series, called Smoke and Mirrors, has a cover also and Rue wanted me to share it with you here as well.

Okay, that is "smokin'".

Hope you enjoyed meeting my lovely friend Rue.  She is just like everyone else I have showcased here on the blog...she would love to connect with you.  Friend her, follow her, let her know how you feel about her book.  I know she'd love to hear it.  But most of all, tell her what you're writing.  She'd love to hear about that most of all.


  1. I met Rue in the Author Exchange group- she has such positive energy that you feel drawn to her. I recently started her novel Blood and Light. Rue is very talented and so far I'm in love with her novel. Rue is also a very supportive author who goes out of her way to help others to promote their work- great interview!!

  2. Thank you for sharing such a profound blog ladies. I found it immensly moving. And congratulations Rue.

  3. Loved the interview. Rue you have given so much advice. I think I am going to print up the Interview and pin it to the wall so I can use it for reference.


  4. Every interview I receive, I think, this is the one, this is the best. And then I get the next one. I am surrounded by the most talented, kindest, generous writers I could ever have imagined meeting. Having this idea was like an epiphany. If you are getting something out of this, awesome. You cannot IMAGINE what I am getting out of it. And we are only halfway through. Keep reading, followers, more amazing, giving authors just like Rue are on the way!

  5. I also met the Fabulous Rue on Facebook. She's the kindest, most giving, energetic, person I think I've ever met online. Always willing to help out fellow-artists, in all areas. Thank you, Rue, for sharing your personal struggles, also. I know that's not easy.

    Great interview, and much success! :D

  6. I met Rue about a year ago and she truly is a Great sole. People are just drawn to her and her awesome personality. I am so happy for you Rue! And what a great interview it lets so many people that have never met you see some of the inner you.