Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Post: "My Aspirations" by Stacy McKitrick

My Aspirations

B.E. asked if I would guest blog. I guess she thinks I’m someone important - haha! Well, I don’t feel all that important, but I have reached a level I wondered if I’d ever attain. Probably a level some of you would like to reach. So I’ll tell you how I did it.

I started writing in April 2009. Yeah, I’m not one of those people who have been writing all their life. I did do some writing in high school, but never pursued it. What I love to do is read. But something inside of me kept pushing me to write, so I thought: why not? Could I actually write a book? Four months later I had my answer. I could!

But was it any good? Did it have merit? Should I bother to revise and edit the story (because I knew it still needed work)? My daughter thought it did. That was all I needed. I joined RWA and pursued publishing.

I wanted an agent. I wanted my books in book stores. Those were my aspirations. I took classes and polished that novel to the best of my (then) ability. Thought it was pretty good. A year later I started querying that first book.

To say I crash-landed is putting it mildly. I took some more writing classes and wrote my next book.

I thought it was great. My readers (that would be my daughter and my friend) thought it was sappy. Guess I still had more to learn. I took some more classes and wrote another. My daughter said that was the one that would get me published. In 2011, I started querying that third book. And while I queried, I wrote my fourth.

Agents didn’t want it. Vampires are done to death (try telling that to my daughter, though!). Did I really want an agent? Well… yes. But I wanted my story to be read. So I dropped the aspiration of having an agent and being traditionally published, changed it to just being published, and started querying small presses.

Did I feel like a failure because I was aiming lower? Yes, I did. But then I realized it’s like an entry position at a company you want to work for. You just want to get your foot in the door. While I queried for that foothold, I wrote my fifth.

The rejections continued. As I crossed off the publishers on my list, I had a decision to make: do I sit on the book or self-publish it? I couldn’t sit on it, so I set up a deadline. If I couldn’t find a publisher by the end of 2013, I would do it myself. And let me tell you, that decision was not made lightly, because I really didn’t want to do it myself.

I discovered a pitch session on a blog in Feb 2013. Wrote up a decent pitch and got a request for a full. Next thing I know, I’m offered a contract! And all before my self-imposed deadline. “My Sunny Vampire” will be released on January 6, 2014!!

In order to get my vampire book published, in order for it to see the light of day, I had to lower my aspirations. I also had to keep learning and keep writing.
Has this path changed what I want? Heck, no. I still want that agent and hope this is one way to prove I deserve one. Then again, I may end up proving to myself I don’t need one. I have these two non-vampire books to work with, too!

In the meantime, I’m writing my next vampire book and wondering if self-publishing is in my immediate future, because, you see, I want that first vampire book to see the light of day. And you know what? Self-publishing doesn’t look as scary as it used to, especially with this experience behind me.

Do you have lofty aspirations? How much are you willing to work to achieve them? And are you willing to lower them?


Stacy McKitrick fell in love with paranormal romance, decided to write her own, and found her passion in life. She used to work in accounting, now she spends her time with vampires, ghosts, and aliens. Born in California, she currently resides in Ohio with her husband. They have two grown children. You can find her at her website or her blog.

Stacy's book isn't available for pre-order yet, but it's due to be released 1/6/14.  You can check it out on Goodreads. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.  =o)


  1. Thanks again for having me, B.E.!
    If anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to answer (and hopefully promptly!).

  2. I don't think you lowered your expectations at all. I think you found another way in.

    And THANK YOU for mentioning how much you like to read. I get so tired of new authors who hadn't read anything since 8th grade trying their hand at writing.

    1. Maria, I don't think I'll ever understand that "I don't read" bit, either. How else are you going to learn? Shoot, it was my love of reading that inspired me to write my own. I don't think I would have bothered otherwise.

  3. Well done, Stacy! Sometimes, the alternate paths lead us to the most interesting places. Here's wishing you much success. And I don't believe that paranormal, urban fantasy, OR vampires are as dead as New York would have us believe. Just sayin'... :D

    1. Thanks, Silver. My daughter would agree. She can't get enough.

  4. Okay...I hope that previous comment went through. LOL And yes, Maria is right! One HAS to be a reader before they can be a writer. Definitely!!!!

  5. Sometimes we have to adjust our expectations or try new paths we hadn't realized were an option when we made our original goal. I'm glad you found a way to look at your journey in a different way. Congrats on the upcoming release of My Sunny Vampire!

  6. The moral I'm getting from your story is that in order to succeed, a writer needs to never give up. Thank you for sharing, Stacy. I hope to follow your good example.

    1. Samantha, that's the one thing that got DRILLED into my head: You want it bad enough, don't give up. That, and persistence pays off. So nice to know it's TRUE!!! :)

  7. Stacy, your journey sounds a lot like mine. It is exciting to see the fruits of your labor pay off. I'll be staying tuned on your career. Can't wait to read My Sunny Vampire.

  8. Gemma, It is exciting! Especially when someone says they want to read it - haha!! Thanks for stopping by.


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