Monday, September 19, 2011

My Personal Path to Publication - Crystal Ward

This morning the author I have for you is a special one because she is a personal friend and my crit partner.  If you are new to the writing and publishing world, a crit partner is your critique partner, the one who helps you shape your manuscript, your queries, and helps you when phrases, wording, sometimes whole passages in your precious WIP just don't seem to work.  If you aren't new to it, you know your crit partner kicks you in the ass and says things like, "That sounds stupid." and  "No one talks like that." and my personal favorite, "I don't understand that whole chapter.  I think you should scratch it."  

In the end though, they help make your work better because they are the ear you can't have, the one that is not obscenely attached to the paragraph, the sentence, even the stupid word you can't let go of.  On top of that, she is an amazing and talented author herself.  The first book in her four-book series, (four books!) called The Supernova Saga, was just released in ebook form through her publisher, Firefly and Wisp, and the print form will be available in October.  And she may be coming to a convention to you soon.  Look at the bottom of this post for details.  In the meantime, enjoy the wit and humor that is my fabulous friend Crystal as she shares the journey that made her the incredible writer she is today.

1. How long have you been writing?

Oh, for as long as I can remember. The first story I recall writing was about farm animals, and I’m pretty sure I was eight. I remember trying to find a quiet place in my grandma’s house to record it on tape because I wanted to give it to my mom.  :- )  Fast forward to 5th grade when I decided I wanted to write film scripts.  I wrote a couple over a few years, then in high school, that came to a stop.  It wasn’t writer’s block.  I’d joined the drama club and fell head over heels in love with acting.  :- )  I was in twelve or thirteen plays during high school and was actually accepted to New York Film Academy, but that fell through due to stupid, money issues.  LOL Anyways, I still pursued it, but writing was always on the back burner.  I’d ended up writing another script, turned it in several places, and kept getting told I was too “wordy” in my scripts.  Then it hit; the dreaded writer’s block.  It lasted years and honestly, I didn’t realize how much I missed it until after I read The Twilight Saga.  After I finished those books, I desperately wanted to write something again, but I knew I didn’t want it to be another script.  Books were the way to go ;- )

2. Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author? If not, what’s your plan?

My first book, Supernova, is being published with Firefly & Wisp Publishing this year.

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 considered all three actually.  First, I tried for an agent.  Pretty sure I sent out over a hundred query letters.  Out of all of those, TWO requested to see more.  LOL  I saved all the rejection letters.  ;- )  I was still trying that way until I talked to a friend of mine about the publisher she had signed with.  So I sent Supernova to her publisher. A few days later, I checked my email at work and found a contract from them!  Needless to say, there were tears, lots of them. :- )  I’m pretty sure I showed EVERYONE the email and even though I still had work to do, my mind was set on getting home to read and sign that bad boy right away. :- )  I’m fast forwarding over the next few months, and without getting into detail, (Sorry, but I’m not going to), things didn’t work out with that publisher.  While I was still trying to decide whether or not I wanted to try for another one or go the self-publishing route, I talked to Danielle Zwissler a few times on Facebook.  She’s the owner of Firefly & Wisp Publishing.  She said I could submit to her, which I immediately did.  While I was waiting to hear back, I decided just to do the self-publishing.  I was going to be the next Amanda Hocking.  LOL I dream big. ;- )  It was either that same day or the next, I saw a status update from the Firefly & Wisp Facebook page that she was going to make a big announcement tonight when they got to 700 or 800 fans.  My face heated up and in the back of my mind, I prayed it was going to be about Supernova. So naturally, I helped them get their fans, then a chat window popped up with Danielle’s name on it.  :- )  She asked for my number, called me, and offered to take on Supernova.  Completely and totally STOKED!!!!! :- )  We talked for almost an hour and of course, I changed my mind about self-publishing.  Best decision ever :- )  That was back in the beginning of August.  Now, I have my new cover, ebook release with print on the way, and first convention in October! :- )  Although things didn’t work out with the first publisher, I wish them nothing, but the best.  :- )  I’m soooooo happy to be a Firefly.  Things worked out beautifully for everyone.  :- )

4. Why did you choose that particular route?

I can be very patient, expect when it came to my books.  Just like when they were getting written, I had to do it fast, which is why all four took only a year to write.  I couldn’t stop. LOL So, since I’d tried for an agent for probably a year, and that friend I told you about, Monique, went that route and seemed happy with it, I decided what the hell?  I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. :- )

5. How long did it take you to write your first novel?

Three months, almost exactly.  I wrote the entire saga in a year. :- )

6. How long did it take you to publish it?

Ummmmm. . .  Maybe a year and a half.  From the time I wrote the last word to the time I signed the contract with Firefly & Wisp. 

7. How many times did it get rejected before it got published?

I have over a hundred rejection letters saved in my email.  LOL  Don’t ask me why I kept them all.  I’m a weirdo, I think.  LOL

8. Tell us about worst rejection letter.

Honestly, none of them were horrible at all.  I got a lot of “form letters”, which was fine, but all the ones that people actually typed out were nice or just to the point.  “Not for me.” was a big one.  LOL

9. What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel?

Probably when I got a phone call from Danielle on August 31st.  Originally, Supernova wasn’t due to come out in print until next year, but she told me the E-book release date was moving up and the print would be AT the convention in October!  :- )  I’ll be signing the very first copies of my book and actually handing them back to people! :- )  Can you say, dream come true? :- )

10. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?

“Change it,” which wasn’t technically bad.  Just a difference of opinion. :- )

11. Now, tell us the best!

Besides “Man up!”?  LOL  My mommy telling me I’ll know the right path for myself and to follow my heart.  :- )

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

Shit does and can happen, but don’t let that deter you.  Figure out what you want and go for it.  Let nothing and no one stop you.  No matter what your passion is, be prepared to suffer some sleepless nights, endure loads of criticism (good and bad), and wait.  The waiting game is the hardest, but if you can do it, if you can pull it off, it’s more than worth it.  It’s when the road is the bumpiest that the end is always sweeter. :- )

13. Where can we read your blog? Buy your books? Connect with you on facebook? On Twitter? Your website?

E-book release date – Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords!!!

Print release date – Presales will be soon. It will be officially released in
October 2011 :- )
 Blurb -
Life is full of temptations, choices, and tragedies, but through the struggles, hope and meaning can rise.  Everyone is born for a purpose, and for Evania Laylen, that vocation is about to make itself known. 

Guilt ridden after the death of her parents, Evania sinks into a deep depression.  Living only for the addiction, and the man who saved her, she gives up on life.  That is until the enigmatic Desmond Kane enters and shows her the life she was born to live.  Thrust into a secret, action-packed world of good versus evil, Evania must rid her life of the addictive temptation, prepare her body for battle, and learn to embrace the possible in a world of impossible.

With her mind littered with choices, rising from her sorrow and accepting the new life could prove difficult, but for a Guardian in training, fulfilling her destiny shouldn’t be too hard . . . right?

Crystal may be in your area soon.  If you live in Kentucky, or are looking to travel to a great convention, you might want to check this one out.  Crystal will be book signing at A Day of Mystical Bloodlust in Lexington, KY on October 22, 2011.  Here is the link to the details: to get more information.  I know Crystal would love to sign a book (or two!) for you.


  1. I only have one thing to say, I think you're in love with me. haha! ;)

  2. Great blog ladies. Best wishes with your new book :-)

  3. Crystal,
    I am halfway. I always am when it comes to great writers! I wanted to show my aspiring writer friends that crit partners are very important. Crystal and I are on opposite coasts and we bounce things off each other constantly. Its very important to step away from your own writing and let someone else read and critique it when you get too close. Thanks for being one of my someones, Crystal!

  4. I got your back, sista! ;)

  5. Great post! And congrats on the release, Crystal!

  6. Great interview, ladies. And Crystal - bless your mum, you're one very lucky daughter! Great advice to aspiring authors/writers - it's so true!

    Good Luck with "Supernova" and all your other books. I'm sure they'll be a huge success!

  7. Wonderul interview! I read Supernova in one sitting and was absolutely captured by the story. It's interesting to hear about Crystal's journey to publication. Things might not have gone exactly as planned (do they ever??) but I'm thrilled she found a home with Firefly and I'm sure the company feels fortunate to have her talent!

  8. Thanks so much ladies :)