Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaways: Susan Kaye Quinn ~ Closed Hearts

I am so excited to have Susan Quinn here today at The Book Bag!! Susan is the author of the amazing book Open Minds (Book 1 in the Mindjack Trilogy). 

I read it and loved it! My thoughts are here

And don't you just love both of these covers!!!

Book #2, Closed Hearts has just been released and you can get in on some great fun. There is a Virtual Launch Party going on over at the author's website that you are not going to want to miss.

There is also a Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a "What I'm Reading Now" mug or a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card, so be sure to check that out!

And now ~~ here's Susan with her thoughts on change.
Embracing Change by Susan Kaye Quinn

The last year has seen nothing but change in the publishing industry. It's my firm believe that the people who do best in turbulent times are those who are most adept at embracing change.

The Many Paths 

In the past 18 months, I've seen writer friends switch from pursuing traditional publication to self-publishing their first (or second or third) novels (yay Indelibles!). I've known writers that stopped querying agents and submitted to small publishers (Cherie my publishing sister through Omnific Publishing). Other writer-friends have stuck with traditional publishing and landed agents and book contracts (yay Terry Lynn Johnson, Adam Heine, and Joshua McCune!). Still others are fence straddlers (that's me!) pursuing multiple paths at once. 

Embracing change is scary.

Self-Publishing Route

For writers taking the road less traveled along the self-pub route, it can be frightening to deviate from the "established" path, especially if the dream of a big advance from a large publisher has been a long cherished one. The bold will go forth into self-publishing because it makes logical business sense, but for the less confident, it can feel like quitting without trying hard enough. One thing that encouraged me to take the leap was the resounding chorus coming from the other side of the publishing point. There were many, many self-publishers that were extremely happy with their choice, whose main regret was that they waited so long to take the leap. As someone who is on the "other side" now, I can heartily say the same thing. Do I regret self-publishing? Not a bit. Every day, I'm happier I chose to leap when I did: people are reading (and enjoying!) my work, I'm building a fan base that extends beyond my awesome writer friends, and I have a measure of control over my writing career that eluded me before. This was the right choice for my Mindjack Trilogy and my career at this point. At the same time, I don't regret going through a small publisher for my first novel, and I'm still pursuing traditional/big publishing for my middle grade series (because those are the right choices for those books).

Small Publisher Route

For many writers, the small publisher route wasn't the "dream" they had as a child, but is the reality they are increasingly choosing as an adult. For a long time, I had to stop the small voice ( evil, as Adam Heine calls it) inside that told me this wasn't a "real" publisher because it hadn't been around for 100 years. This evil voice completely baffled my husband, who said, "They're willing to bet money that you'll make money for them with your writing." Ah, yes. This is a business, not a fairy tale! Strange, how often those are confused with one another. But this helped me put it in perspective and embrace my small publisher as an innovator in a tradition-bound field. Once I realized that, I found the small publisher route actually fit my personality quite well. While some writers with small publishers are increasingly opting for the self-publishing route (myself, Talli Roland), my friends who have chosen small publishers continue to find that to be the right path for them. I think small publishers are wonderful about embracing the desire to launch writers in their careers, which is part of what makes them a great place to start.

Big/Traditional Publishing Route

I haven't landed an agent or big publisher book contract (yet), but I have queried (extensively) and had some significant first-hand experience with agents and editors, as well as lots of second-hand experience through traditionally-published friends. Just because a writer chooses to pursue traditional publishing doesn't mean they escape the need to embrace change. Lately, with the rise of self-publishing, writers choosing to stay the course with traditional publishing have been on the defensive, feeling like they have to justify their choice. This is something that self-publishers and small-publishers have had to do all along, so it's an interesting turn in such a short period of time (a year ago, I wasn't seeing any of this). Self-publishing affects trad-pubbed authors as well - the industry is roiling, agents are fighting for their livelihood, editors under even more pressure to prove the "viability" of a writer before taking a chance on them. The stakes and expectations are higher for debut traditional novelists, and even those with novels already out. Elana Johnson spoke eloquently about how even after traditional publishing (or maybe especially then) that her definition of "success" all comes back to the writing. To me, this is key: the thing that rules, that has to rule, at all times along the journey is the writing. It is the creation of content that is most important, with the path to publication simply a means to an end.

To me, embracing change means embracing the writer.

No matter what path we follow, we writers are much more similar than we are different. Writers pitted against each other, judging each other for the path they choose or the level of "success" they achieve - who does that serve? Not writers, of that much I am certain. Writers are an amazingly supportive bunch ... when they're not judging another writer. We are our better selves when we're banding together to support and help promote one another. This is why groups like the Elevensies (trad-pub), the Apocalypsies (small and large pub), and the Indelibles (self-pub) are so important. I've seen this grouping of writers for support happen at my small publisher as well. I think it's a natural (and wonderful!) tendency for writers to band together and help each other out. These groups provide a safe haven of support and an avenue to celebrate each other's successes.

When it comes right down to it, we are all simply writers. Published or unpublished, traditional or indie, bestseller or midlister - at the beginning of every day we are moving forward with our writing. The journey (hopefully) is a life-long one filled with friends and a love for the craft.


Closed Hearts (Mindjack #2)

$2.99 at AmazonBarnes and Noble (ebook and print)

When you control minds,
only your heart can be used against you.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds, Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, which is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. The sequel Closed Hearts has just been released.

Susan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead

CLICK HERE to join the Closed Hearts Virtual Launch Party
(with more bonus Mindjack Trilogy content & guest posts) 



a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for hosting, Susan! :)

  2. I would rather read minds. Thanks for the chance to win!


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