Today I have a guest post from Jessica Knauss, someone, who like her novel, is awash with talent. Besides writing, Jessica has also spent many years as an editor. I first encountered Jessica when she edited my historical biography, Anahareo, A Wilderness Spirit. Our shared love of history and writing were two of many things that extended our relationship beyond editing that book. Jessica has lived many places, but currently she lives in Arizona where she is editor and writer.
My contemporary paranormal, Awash in Talent, has been picked up by Kindle Press and is now available for preorder. Here’s a little more about it:
Emily can’t escape her annoyingly Talented telekinetic healer sister by going to a university 3000 miles away, in Providence, or even by doing a field study in Ethiopia. Why don’t people give credit where credit is due?
Kelly is forced to attend a pyrokinesis school/lockdown facility, but she must escape and bring Emily’s healer sister to Boston—her mother’s life depends on it.
Appointments with Emily might drive psychic therapist Patricia insane. Meanwhile, Patricia falls ever deeper into her husband’s selfish, cruel trap. In Providence, Friendship is a one-way street.
Awash in Talent is a novel in three interrelated novellas, all set in Providence, Rhode Island, where telekinetics, firestarters, and psychics attempt to function in a largely un-Talented society unappreciative of what they have to offer. Love/hate between sisters, mother and daughter, scared teenagers, a mismatched married couple, adult female friends, and an obsessive and the object of her affection are all put to the test.
Awash in Talent started as a handful of lines I wrote after a vivid dream. It was in 2010, and I was living in Pennsylvania. Over the next few years, I would live in four different states and would work on the first novella, Hope & Benevolent, whenever I had a spare moment. I focused on other projects and only ran Hope & Benevolent by my critique group when other writing wasn’t moving along.
While living in a hotel in North Carolina, I decided there was much more to the story, and completed the second novella, WaterFire, during NaNoWriMo. Ideas for the final component, Friendship Street, had been percolating, and by the time I’d moved to two more cities (only one across state lines), it had wrapped up the story in a way I found satisfying. The critique group was enthusiastic about how Awash in Talent finally turned out, but after lots of editing and a few more beta reads, I had trouble finding a publisher quirky enough to consider it.
After a year of submissions, Awash in Talent had been rejected only twice. I was already exhausted from the waiting and hoping that had come to naught with my agent queries for my first novel. That first novel had been accepted by its own small press in the end, and I was ready to place Awash in Talent as soon as possible, as well. I purchased the best cover in the world from designer Jasmine Green and was about to self-publish it when we moved across state lines again.
I was taking the long stroll between our new mailbox and new apartment with my husband when the sunshine got to me. “There’s this thing called Kindle Scout” was more or less my pitch. “Do you think I should try it?”
“Why not?” was the idea behind my husband’s reply.
It was the best decision I could’ve made for Awash in Talent. In the Kindle Scout process, each book gets a 30-day campaign during which the author can rally support from readers. It doesn’t feel so much as if it’s just a few people concerned with salability and marketability who make the decision to publish or not. It’s more about convincing a bunch of readers to feel enthused enough to click a button in favor of the book. It’s traditional publishing with a very modern slush pile.
There are a lot of factors to consider before an undertaking like this, but in my case, it was all pros and no cons.
I did more social media campaigning than ever before in my life during the campaign. In spite of some very moving shows of support from my intimate friends, I honestly don’t think my numbers were that great—and a significant number of my votes must have been for the sake of the great cover alone. But no one knows how Kindle Press uses the data collected during the campaign. They have the final say on which books are published, no matter how many votes a book receives.
That’s why, when I got the fabulous news that Awash in Talent was going to be published by Kindle Press, I was sure it was because of a single editor who pushed against any objections to demand the best for my little book. Deep down, I most want to be appreciated on that hyperlocal level. Just let me share this zany story with you!
I go into detail about what I learned from the Kindle Scout experience here, and muse further about how Kindle Press makes their decisions here.
I’m pleased with the professionalism at Kindle Press and am thrilled with their speed of action. That’s what I was missing from traditional publishers! Awash in Talent is already available for preorder and I hope you will check it out if you like action-packed stories with a lot of heart.
I hope someone will review it and say that it’s “Gilmore Girls with a paranormal twist!”
You can find Jessica on the following sites:
Kristin Gleeson is a writer, artist and musician who lives in the west of Ireland in the Gaeltacht.
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