Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Personal Path To Publication - A Jacob Sweeny

We are filing today's blog under the heading Better Late Than Never!  This is only due in part to the the fact that AJ Sweeny, the author of the wildly successful self-published and amazingly reviewed and received A Pulse of Heroes is INCREDIBLY BUSY with a capital "B"!  She is writing, editing, and marketing her little behind off!  And if you are reading those reviews for her book, it's a good thing, because her fans are literally screaming for the sequel to Pulse.  When I reminded her that it was her day on the blog today, she graciously got busy on the post and I am happy to say, I have it!  I'm lucky to have gotten her, too, because she has been hard at work on said sequel, which she is releasing at the end of this month!  Her story is amazing and her book is that times one hundred, so hunker down and get ready!  I am pleased to be able to introduce to you, A Jacob Sweeny, if you don't already know her.

1.   How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pen, and before that I told stories to everyone. Use to make them up in my mind.
2.   Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author?  If not, what’s your plan?
I am published through Thalamus press, which is a company that me and a few local artists/literary types started. My plan is to get enough momentum and good reviews so a larger publishing company can pick me up.
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 chose to do the publishing myself because I understand how many manuscripts agents get and the number is staggering. Also with the publishing industry changing so quickly, they are very careful about choosing new authors, and would rather go with established ones that can bring in the money because they already have a devoted audience.  My other problem is that my novels are very long, much longer than publishers are willing to take a chance on. The longer the manuscript, the more money it costs to print. So between these two obstacles the chance of getting chosen for anything was so slim, that I decided that readers’ reviews are better to see where I stand before I even present my writing to anyone. If readers like my work it will show; so far the reception for Pulse Of Heroes has been humbling and beyond amazing! The other consideration for me was the thought of passing time. Why should I wait for someone to even look at my manuscript while others can enjoy it? I can die tomorrow and then what? When writing Pulse Of Heroes I did so out of personal reasons, rather than becoming the next ‘big’ author. I really had NO expectations.
4.   How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It took me a little over a year to actually write the manuscript, but the research that is presented in there has taken me many years to learn. So technically I will say one year for writing and six for research.
5.   How long did it take you to publish it?
With Create Space it took me a month
            6. How many times did it get rejected before it got published?
I only sent it to two places. The first response was actually very positive in my opinion, as it seemed that it wasn’t an automatic response. They actually wrote about my style and told me that I definitely had talent; they just weren’t taking on any new authors. The other response was a general “Thanks, but your work does not match what we are looking for.” This was funny because they were actually looking foe exactly the kind of story I wrote and it said so on their site. So I knew that no one really spent time reading what I wrote at all, and that is the way with most manuscripts.
7.   Describe your worst rejection letter.
Didn’t have real bad ones- see above.
8.   Describe the best news you ever got in your writing life and how it felt.
Well I had a few. My first teenage readers who are total Twihard fans told me that my book was even better than Twilight! They said that they were madly infatuated with my lead male character (Elliot De-Costa) and started hounding me for the second installment.  Then when other readers who I don’t know personally kept pretty much repeating these types of statements I knew that I did something right. One of my favorite first reviews came from a mom who loves! Twilight and even named her baby Bella. After she read my book she actually wrote, “This book blew Twilight away.” For me these statements meant that my novel is commercially viable! Now let me be clear that in no way was I competing with the Twilight books, in fact I have never read them and only saw the first movie on DVD while I was very sick with high fever; meaning I hardly even remember, it besides thinking that (don’t hate me) that the screenplay didn’t add up to all the hype I was hearing. The love story was great but it left much to be desired. (again, my personal opinion)
9.   What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?
Don’t publish it and wait for an agent to contact me…
10.   Now, tell us the best.
You should put it out there. E-publishing and other new formats are becoming legitimate and are succeeding. May I add that this advice came personally from the first author (Kemble Scott) who published his work on and it ended up being a huge success.
11.  What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication?
Keep writing and put your work out there. There is no better way to judge if you are going to make it than presenting it to an audience you do not know personally. And if it seems that you are not getting the responses you want, don’t have a huge ego and listen to what people have to say.
12.  Where can we read your blog?  Buy your books?  Connect with you on facebook?  On Twitter?   Your website?
About Pulse Of Heroes
Pulse of Heroes is a YA novel that weaves together elements of paranormal romance, suspense, myth, history, and at its core, a heroine’s journey and transformation. I sought to craft a true and sensitive coming-of-age narrative of a quirky teenage girl becoming a confident young woman, and at the same time I wanted to take her and the reader on a gripping adventure filled with geographical, historical and supernatural elements, while being swept under the crushing intensity of first love.
Michelle used to feel like she was behind in everything, especially school and relationships. Her great aunt from the old country says she is like a bland meal, "no salt or pepper". But in junior year, everything changes. Her father takes a position on the Town Council, a popular boy in school becomes interested in her, and most importantly, the Hekademos Learning Center, a private school for 'troubled' students, moves into her quiet neighborhood amidst the protests of the entire town.
After seeing the School Regent out with a group of young guys just before Christmas, Michelle is convinced that there is something odd about them. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she embarks upon a mission to figure out what is really going on. After an embarrassing fall over the school wall, Michelle meets Elliot and her ordinary ‘bland’ life changes its course forever.
Elliot is no ordinary human. In fact, no one at the Hekademos Learning Center is. Beautiful and fierce, they have survived throughout the millennia by weaving in and out of human events. Through them, Michelle learns that history and myths from around the world are dotted with references to their kind. Michelle falls madly in love with the ever-striking and mysterious Elliot.
Although Elliot carries numerous painful memories from his many pasts, he disregards his own better judgment and the advice of his friends, and finds himself falling for Michelle‘s offbeat personality. Their feelings grow in intensity, but when History catches up with them, the difference between their life paths threatens to destroy any future that they might have had together.
                Michelle learns that there are infinite shades of gray between black and white, and has to deal with the bundle of contradictory emotions called love. After some unexpected twists during a family trip to Europe, she has to trust her intuition in order to face the danger and uncertainty of being drawn into Elliot’s wondrous world. Ultimately, it is up to Michelle to make the split-second, life-altering decision that will either tear them apart forever or give them another chance.

Here's what AJ would like you to know about her:  
First I want to proudly announce that the second installment in The Pulse Series, Of Blood And Pulse is almost complete and set to be released for sale on Oct. 31st. 2011

I have been writing and storytelling ever since I was able to hold a pen. When I spent time working as a teacher with children of varying ages I was fascinated by the awesome power of words to excite and inspire the young mind. The art of Storytelling is what makes a good teacher great.

My degree in History with an emphasis on Ancient Near East, and my personal interest in world myths, combined with my fieldwork in archaeology have inspired my research and development of many elements in the story.
I also remember what it was like to be a girl myself and have often wanted to share my own thoughts, fears and dreams during that age with others. I read many books during my teenage years and some of them were essential in helping me make it through that time, and helping me become the satisfied person that I am today. I want to be able to return that favor to all the readers out there.

She'd also love you to see some reviews for A Pulse of Heroes:
Sample Reviews:
I love this book! Move over Edward and Bella, a new power couple has hit the scene! Michelle and Elliot from Pulse of Heroes by A. Jacob Sweeny will give Stephanie Meyer's characters a run for their money! I have read so many books, and it takes a lot to knock my socks off but A. Jacob Sweeny did just that! With her original storyline and unforgettable characters she has an award winning series in the making.
-Dawn Hagan, I love Books Blog-Page-

Sometimes I will come across a novel which I classify as a rare jewel: a book that captivates me from beginning to end… an amazing story that it is impossible for it to not capture my heart and Pulse Of Heroes is a rare jewel. There are only two other series' that I consider rare jewels: the Twilight series, and Vampire Academy... I was wondering when the next book would come along that would really pull me in, make me feel emotionally attached to the characters, make me care about them in such a way that I would think about them weeks, months after I had finished reading the story and Pulse of Heroes did just that.
-Alishia, Treasured Tales For young Adults Blog-Page-

 Thanks AJ, for being on the blog!  Don't forget, Readers, comment here or find AJ on facebook and let her know how much you enjoyed her interview or her book.  She'd love to know!


  1. Thank you for having me and being so gracious with my lateness :D

  2. Great interview A. just another reason to love Halloween! It will be in paperback also on Oct. 31st right?