by Angie Gallow, author of The Coven
I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to receive some of the advice that I learned on my own as a writer before I published The Coven. There were times where I wish someone would have come and handed me a guidebook with all the strange and awful truths about being a published author. Even though I went to a school where all of my professors were all experts and working in their fields, some things were just secret. They didn’t warn us or give us a heads-up about this whole writing business and the little things that would have made it a whole lot better in the end. It would have weeded out the strong from those who should reconsider this career choice.
For one thing, no one ever prepares you for rejection and that’s a big deal. While it’s published now, it took quite a while for The Coven to get picked up by a publishing company. I was ready and raring to go; ‘Yeah! Publish this baby!’ But when I starting getting rejection letters, I either got used to it or I wanted to give up all together. I went through both sides at one point and the thing I want to tell any writer waiting in line for that big break: kill your darlings to make them better. We’ve only heard the ‘kill your darlings part’ but they forgot to tell us that killing our stories to build them up again is just as painful. You may feel a twinge of guilt erasing that scene you think is amazing, rewriting chapters to make them all fit, or completely rewriting the whole thing all together. It may hurt, but it’s worth doing if you want the reward.
Another thing that’s helpful for the up-and-coming writer is to find a mentor. In the beginning drafts of The Coven, I actually had the opportunity to stumble across an editor who rejected my work, but took time away from his own career to coach me on my writing. So, don’t be afraid of criticism, or help; use it to your advantage as a writer and to strengthen your craft. Whether it’s an editor, a professor, or a knowledgeable friend; don’t develop an ego just yet, you haven’t earned it.
One thing a lot of new writers think is they’ll publish one book and it’ll become a bestseller. Chances are it probably won’t. The thing about first books is that it’s a first book; you haven’t been established yet. Don’t take this as a downer that no one is buying your work, but take it as a chance to up your game. Get more stories under your belt. Get some shorter work published in different places. Give readers a chance to get to know who you are and expand on your writing with new genres and characters. Grow with your readership. Step out of your comfort zone a bit.
When I wrote The Coven, no one told me these things so I learned on my own but I’m proud that I took the time to learn because of how important it is for young writers coming into their own. I learned to write a query letter, as well as how to accept rejection and criticism. Art is a selective trade and one that demands strong willpower and the flexibility to match its ever changing demands.
Trying desperately to protect the secrecy of their coven’s location below the streets of Whitechapel, London, Sebastien finds himself at odds with Maurice in his desire to not engage in all-out war with the renegade Catholic faction. At the same time, he must also battle the other vampire coven to guard their anonymity from humans. In doing so, Sebastien is forced into choices and alliances he might not otherwise have made.
Set in the tone of Victorian England, The Coven is a thrilling and horrific journey through the seedier workings of the vampire underworld, and pious ideology of The Diocese Club.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angie Gallow was born in Chicago and currently attends Columbia College Chicago. This is her first novel.
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