I have this weird habit of doing a heap of blog posts within a couple of days of each other and then disappearing off the face of the Earth for a while, don't I.
Sorry about that.
Lots of things have been going on with me, one of which I've been wanting to tell you about for months but decided not to until it was all finalised, just in case it fell through.
Which it did, so I'm glad I didn't tell you at the time.
The Publishing Deal
A couple of months ago I was approached by a US-based small press who wanted to publish The Kiss Off series and potentially make a web series and then, in a couple of years, pitch it to Hollywood as a TV show. OMG, am I right?
After lots of back and forthing on the contract and making sure I was clear on what everything meant, I decided to pass on the deal and keep publishing my own way. I was bummed I came to that decision, but that specific deal wasn't the right one for me.
I held off on doing revisions and editing of Over It (The Kiss Off 2) because I thought I was taking the deal and the small press would be providing me with an editor.
It's been to some amazing beta readers who gave me excited and incredibly helpful feedback, but it hasn't been revised and edited yet.
It was extremely timely that Stephanie Perkins came out recently about how her new book has been pushed back a year due to her struggles with depression, as it's something I've been wanting to discuss here but haven't been brave enough to do so until now.
I, too, have depression and honestly, it's been hitting me harder and harder every time I fall down. Writing comedy (or at all) is pretty damn impossible when the world feels dark and hopeless. So I haven't been. I know Over It is supposed to be out in July, but I don't think I'm going to make it.
As many of you probably know, I work for myself as a freelance editor and book cover designer and as much as I enjoy the work and know I'm good at what I do, times have been tight, as I mostly work for independent authors, I don't charge a proper wage because it's a huge chunk of change for one person to bear. Worry over how to support myself has been a constant rainy cloud hanging over my head. I had to move two hours away from my social sphere and though I've had a support network, I've felt quite isolated here. I have to say no a lot to spending time with friends and helping them celebrate milestones because of a stupid thing called money, and living too far away.
I applied for a grant which I truly thought I was a perfect candidate for, through which I was going to jet over to America and attend Book Expo America, have a stall at American Library Association conference and attend Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators conference, LA, visit friends around the country and organise some group book signings with awesome writer friends everywhere I went. I am craving an adventure and this was going to be it, fo sho.
I didn't get it.
But Things Are Looking Up...
I just got a new job as a Digital Editor at an international publisher with a great team and a great work culture and I'm going to be earning a normal person's salary which has taken a load off my mind and is already helping me feel hopeful and, frankly, like a human being again instead of a black cloud.
Not only that, but it's back in Melbourne where my social life is and I should be moving back and in with some friends within a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to starting my new job, though I also have three editing jobs booked for the same time period so moving house teamed with working full time and finishing up two Billington Media jobs and one for Month9Books means I don't know if I'll be sleeping, let alone revising Over It.
Other Good News
I attended my graduation ceremony two weeks ago, I'm officially a graduate! I wore the gown! I walked across the stage! I have the certificate! And the head of my course told me she nominated me for Student of the Year as well which is an unexpected honour (I didn't get it, but I didn't expect to).
Book Cover Design
I've been practicing my book cover design of late and having a good time doing it. I guess it's another form of creative outlet for me while I'm not writing. I made some pre-made book covers that people can buy from Billington Media (like me on Facebook to see them as I make them) for use on their own book and I think they're turning out really well. Not bad for self-taught, right?
I was interviewed on the radio station 3mFM three weeks ago about my books which was exciting, though so embarrassing to hear myself on the radio! The best bit of the day was when they took me through how radio works. If I was going to stick around the area I was totally going to volunteer at the radio station and be a DJ! Not of a talk show or anything, but still. Maybe I can find somewhere to do that in Melbourne. When my time's freed up again.
I've run a couple of self-publishing workshops recently and they went really, really well. I enjoyed doing them and the participants told me they were really informative.
Coal Creek Literary Festival
I've been invited to speak at the Coal Creek Literary Festival in October!
On a final note, leaving you with something awesome, I recently discovered The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube and promptly spent a whole weekend watching all 110 (3-7 minute) episodes.
Say goodbye to your week right now.
I, Sarah Billington, am an Australian writer of romantic comedies, thrillers, zombies, a TV extra, travel blogger for Expedia and animal blogger for Zookie. I also edit other peoples work sometimes, be they authors or businesses, and design their page layout and book covers.