Two years ago, we started a little blog to share about our big passion for science fiction and fantasy lit. This is our 57th post (we know, we wish it were a round number too). We’ve had a blast writing away these past two years and growing into other projects. Here’s a quick round up of all the things we’ve been working on this year.
Traffic on our site is up more than 60% this year as we’ve written about our favorite authors and newest books. Rebecca’s favorite post was a rundown of SFF authors living in her home state, Wisconsin. Nicole’s favorite post was Small Press Publishers of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, & Horror. Based on the clicks in and out from our site, we can tell we’re helping the world discover new authors and small presses.
We’ve reached over 6,000 views on the Conquer Books YouTube channel. We love talking about books, but we’ve also discovered that we kinda like acting like goofballs on camera too. We’ll post our 25th and 26th videos in January, a review about THE VANISHED BIRDS by Simon Jimenez and an exciting update about another project.
It’s been fun discussing book culture every day on the Conquer Books Facebook page. We’ve found so much community there, it inspired us to…
Host CONQUER CON with our brother, Ryan. Conquer Con is Appleton’s science fiction and fantasy convention. We’re going to gather 1,000 fans at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton, WI on Saturday, September 19, 2020 for a day of gaming, book talk, speakers, and fun. Learn more about Conquer Con here.
I wrote 16 short pieces in the past year. None of which I submitted. One of my goals for 2020 is to submit everything I finish and be sure to finish everything that has potential. Finishing a piece to satisfaction is difficult because I’m often so taken with the next shiny idea I want to get to work on it right away and leave behind the almost-sparkling project I was just hacking at.
My novel is close to being completed. Enough that I can give you all an idea of what it’s about. My working title is:
While working for an information dealer, Maybe comes across a book that looks different from any other she’s seen. Even though she has extensive experience with books that are more than books, this one unnerves her.
When the tome goes missing, Maybe is blamed and the modern life she fought for is at risk. To find it, she’ll have to confront the reckless bookbinders who create weapons with words.
Now, Maybe must face the collision between her past and her future and decide who deserves the sought-after book–even as she sees destruction laced through its pages.
It’s been an exciting experience writing a book from start to [almost] finish. I’ve learned a ton about plot and I have good faith that the next novel-length project I undertake will be even more fun.
A year ago, I collected beta reader responses to the third draft of my science fiction novel. At the time, I was calling it A Place in the Universe. Yeah, they suggested I change the title. And that wasn’t all. It’s scary sharing your creative writing but so invaluable in pushing the book forward. It’s essential to grow as a writer. I made substantial changes based on the feedback I got:
- I changed the title from A Place in the Universe to Dangerous to Heal
- I went from 27 chapters to 34 chapters
- I added 20,000 words, much of it to setting and character development
- The main six characters still stand, but I killed off some characters, invented new ones, and combined others together
- I fixed significant plotting problems
- Went from draft 3 to 4 to 5
It was A LOT of work to get the manuscript ready to query. (For those who don’t know, you send a query which is like a cover letter to literary agents asking them to look at your book. Then they decide if they want to help you sell it to a publisher.)
I sent out query letters and then, after the first round of rejections, I made further edits which seemed to bring more positive feedback from agents. I’m closing up the process now, and I unfortunately have to report I haven’t been taken on by a literary agent. It’s disappointing, but not surprising.
I do want to share some of the numbers. It was hard for me to find honest reports around querying online, so it might be helpful/interesting to writers out there. Also, if you’re a querying writer and need some help, feel free to comment below or fill out the form on the Contact page.
I queried 80 literary agents and got:
- 4 full requests followed by rejection
- 2 personalized rejections
- 29 form rejections
- 45 I never heard back from and can assume rejection
Dangerous to Heal and my first book, Life Without Pants, are still books I believe in. Maybe after I get more experience I can polish them up more, or pursue other ways to utilize the work.
In 2020, I’m focusing on a nonfiction book and then I have plans for another science fiction novel. I’m very excited about both of them, but you probably won’t hear too much about them until I’m deep into drafts of each.
I’ll post my synopsis for Dangerous to Heal below just for fun. Thanks for a great year!
It is dangerous to have the ability to heal oneself.
Yaniqui is a refugee. A refugee with secret, self-healing powers. To survive, Yaniqui, must remain hidden in a galaxy ruled by corporations that profit off rare beings. More than anything, she dreams of escaping the labor planet she lives on and reuniting with Hloban, the man she was betrothed to before their home planet was destroyed.
Though the life of the displaced is a treacherous one, Yaniqui expects fate and the traditions of her people to protect her. But when Yaniqui risks healing another refugee, she is discovered and captured. Her story spreads all the way to Earth, where Hloban lives. With his wife. That doesn’t stop him from immediately assembling a rescue party to save someone he hasn’t seen since childhood.
An expelled student from an elite galactic university, a Native American living in the environmentally-fractured US, and an alien that only thinks in the present tense are pulled into the disaster that is the meeting of the estranged, would-be lovers.
Fate, Hloban, or herself—Yaniqui doesn’t know which one is going to save her, but it will have to be soon, before she disappears deep into galactic human trafficking trade forever.