Four years ago, I woke up on a chilly January morning with a big smile on my face. After eight years of writing, querying, editing, and pitching stories... I was finally an author. I had over 72 rejection letters under my belt, 8 backlist manuscripts that had been shelved, but I had defeated the odds! They say success is where preparation meets opportunity, and I couldn't have felt more grateful. All my hard work had finally paid off and I had a story to share with the world.
My husband gave me a big hug and congratulated me on achieving my dream. His phone pinged and when he went to check it, was absolutely shocked...
The night before, at midnight, he helped me post about my debut. And while we slept, that post had gone viral. It was named the top post of the day on Imgur, gaining over 150k interactions overnight and was named editor's pick of the day.
He has always been my top cheerleader, but that day I felt like he had brought the world with him to cheer me on.
I got a message from my publisher... "What on earth did you do?! Your sales are insane!" My debut book was selling in over 13 countries within the first 24 hours of release, hitting bestseller ranks in fairytale and time travel on Amazon.
I couldn't believe it. I was getting support and shout-outs from all over the world. I responded to each comment, replied to every message, and thanked every person who connected with me that day. It was a full-time job, but I couldn't believe how nice everyone was in supporting me, a stranger, in achieving my dream.
From there, the buzz just kept growing.
A German scholar reached out to me; Eckhard Sander. I recognized his name immediately. I had studied his research and included many of his findings in my novel. He was the leading expert on the truth behind Snow White—based on a German duchess named Margaretha von Waldeck. Using a colleague as a translator, he congratulated me on the book, thanked me for using his research, and told me if I ever wanted to tour Margaretha's castle, he would give me a personal tour.
It felt like a fairy godmother had sprinkled magic dust all over my debut and sent it across the world in a magic carriage. I recognized that these amazing moments were coming from people who were kind and willing to celebrate with a stranger, me, because I had finally achieved my dreams. The world can be a very bright and supportive place.
That night, I had a release party with some of my local friends, and went to bed feeling complete gratitude. Yes, I had written a fairy tale, but kind people from around the world had literally turned my day into a real-life happily ever after.
But, the pixie dust didn't stop there.
Not too long after, Deep Magic eZine contacted me and asked to highlight my novel in their upcoming issue.
One of their contributors, Charlie Holmberg (also one of my favorite authors) set up a live interview with me and I got to chat with her about books and fairytales.
Brian Crosby, the creative director of Marvel themed entertainment, gave me a blurb for the back cover of my book and posted about my book on Instagram.
He said, "Rachel Huffmire is an exciting new voice who takes familiar ideas about fantasy and time travel and shatters those expectations! Literary escapism achieved!"
A few weeks later, a group of readers nominated Shattered Snow for a Swoony Award and it won best fairytale retelling!
Readers sent me pictures of my book in libraries, in their local bookstores--all because they had requested copies.
Readers' Favorite posted a trade review that made me cry. It said, "This time-traveling fairytale will take your breath away as Shattered Snow is charming, addictive, original, and sets the bar for all fairytale retellings."
More readers nominated Shattered Snow for a Whitney Award, and it became one of five finalists in a YA speculative category, along with Allie Condie!
I could honestly go on and on about all the amazing things my readers have done to support me. And that's the biggest point I wanted to make in this post, is that none of this would have happened without the kindness and support of you, dear reader.
The fact is, I don't have an agent. I don't have a publicist or marketing director. Every bit of magic that I have experienced over the last four years as an author came from you.
So, I'm going to keep writing, keep building worlds all in the hope that I can turn that magic right back around and send it your way.
You are the best fairy god-mothers I could have asked for!
Haven't read Shattered Snow yet?
You can check it out by clicking here.
And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments. I'd love to chat with you!