The best way to explain Swoon Reads is as a public querying platform where readers influence agents on what to publish. The agents behind of this site are from MacMillan Publishing.
Swoon Reads publishes under Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan.https://www.swoonreads.com/about/
Writers: The platform was initially for YA Manuscripts only but now also accepts NA. The MS must be the writers original work and posted as an exclusive query to Swoon Reads for at least 6 months. One uploaded, it cannot be edited – that would be a new submission.
Readers: Site members read Manuscripts that appeal to them. They can comment to give the writer feedback with ideas for improvement or how much they loved it! Readers rate stories.
Back in January 2014, I uploaded a copy of Drift to Swoon Reads. Drift was first drafted in Dec 2009, so I’d spent about 3 years working on it and thought it was ready to be queried.
The idea of readers choosing my book really appealed. At first, I got lots of positive ratings and excitedly awaited an agent to notice… and, I waited… and, I waited… and, after 6 months I returned to the traditional query trenches.
As you know, Drift has changed a lot in the last 10 years.
- Was 24 chapters, then 36 chapters, now 30 chapters
- Prologue cut
- Merged with book 2
- Changed character names
- Given Ana (formerly Annie) a bigger role
- Added a full mermaid shift
- Added an epic battle
- Changed the ending
- Professional edit (twice) plus the countless self edits
- Renamed as Ocean Heart
I uploaded Drift to Swoon Reads in January 2013. I got quite a few votes which moved my book into the top three most voted at the time. I thought this was pretty impressive as I didn’t have a huge social circle and my social media was limited to who I knew in real life, and I was too shy to tell them to go read my novel.
Despite the attention I got from readers, the agents never showed any interest. I don’t even know if they read it. But, the books they chose were always well deserving brilliant stories.
After 6 months, you are free to leave your book on their site in hopes an agent will stumble across it and fall in love. I saw no harm in doing this.
I then queried and pitched other literary agents and publishers. I entered competitions. I did everything I could think to get my MS in their hands. Until, I realised, I could self publish.
This year, I’ve been working hard towards self publishing and in August, I got a strange message on Tumblr. They claimed to be a publisher that had seen ‘Drift’ on Swoon Reads and were interested.
One reason to Self Publish is there are lots of con artists about. Most reputable agents or publishers are so busy with manuscripts sent directly to them that they are not crawling the web looking for authors. They certainly wouldn’t use another publishers platform to poach authors.
I ignore them but it did remind me that my book is on Swoon Reads. I began to panic about their rules and if it’d affect my self publishing- eek.
They are a publisher that have built a good reputation for themselves so I hoped when I explained the situation they’d take my book down quickly. I explained:
- Drift was uploaded in 2013
- I’m self publishing but…
- It has been edited a lot (characters names and plot changes)
- Has a new title – Ocean Heart
- Has a new cover
It was anxious for their reply. When I heard nothing I logged on and found it was gone. I’m no longer an author on Swoon Reads.
Readers can make comments on stories to encourage you or help the writer develop. Swoon Reads does warn writers to save these before taking an MS down otherwise they’ll be lost. I took screenshots. Here they are:
There will be, but book 2 is from Kiely’s perspective and much darker.
Tarot has done a great job of summarising Mariah (aka Lily) first love. Yes, I’m going to indulge you in a whole series based in the world of shifters.
Thanks Mike – met on WeBook a writing platform that no longer exists but where Drift was first posted online!
Mike, it’s evolved more! It’s got even better! No longer a twinge of magic, there’s even an epic battle.
I love comments like this.
Yay! Thank you x
You’ll be pleased to know that prologue is long gone. Lol
Thank you so much Debbie, I’m glad you loved my twist on magic.
Wow! This makes me want to happy dance.
Hopefully you won’t have to wait much longer as I’m working on Sky Heart (book 2) for 2021.
Thanks Anni. I’m working hard to make sure book 2 is just as awesome.
Do I recommend Swoon Reads?
Yeah. It’s been a positive experience for me. I didn’t get published but I did get useful feedback and encouragement from readers.
Drift has evolved and transformed into Ocean Heart. The comments above are by readers of the 2013 version.
These comments make me so happy. Whenever I get nervous about putting Ocean Heart out into the big bad world, these readers sweet words make me feel braver.
Soul Heart Readers
I’ve created a Facebook group for my Street Team, basically my first fans.
They’ll be first to hear how Ocean Heart is coming along, be offered ARCs and to be part of my virtual book tour, plus more…
If this is something you’d like to be part of, come join us in the Soul Heart Readers Facebook Group.
If you enjoyed this post, you will like:
Soul Heart Readers – Street Team
Why you need a developmental editor!
Why I have chosen to Self Publish
Writers Beware: Know who you are querying
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