From Imagination To Publication

Friday, March 25, 2016

MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY: Acorn Author Alyssa Petersel

Have you ever wondered how authors get their start?
How do they get agents?
How do they get published?
Is it luck? Talent? Drive?

This segment is an attempt to satisfy my immense answer the one question I'm dying to ask every author out there: 

How did your book become a book?


Alyssa Petersel
Author of 

NOTE: Alyssa Petersel is an Acorn Author. For those of you who don't know, Acorn Publishing is a collective and vetted group of writers self-publishing under the same label, our experienced team of self-published authors guide and prepare new clients as they navigate the self-publishing world. Meanwhile all authors keep their rights, make their own decisions, and retain 100% of their profits. If you're interested in this new avenue, please visit us at

Do you have an agent?

How many queries did you send?
Though I likely should have, I did not keep accurate track. I likely sent between 50-100.

If you don't have an agent is it by choice?
I inquired at a few agencies, but my book was not a good fit for many agents at this time.

Are you traditionally published or self-published?
Self-published under the Acorn Publishing label.

How did you (or your agent) find your publisher?
I originally hired my publisher as my developmental editor. I found her through Editors and Predators.

How long did it take to find a publisher?
Approximately three months; however, my original publisher eventually dropped my book because his new independent publishing house went under. I then secured my developmental editor’s new publishing house within 48 hours from the news.

What do you like about your publisher?
I love the guidance I am offered, the independence and authority I maintain in direction and decision-making, and the insight and wisdom my publisher and her team are able to offer as fellow writers. I also enjoy that eventually the hard work I have put in will turn around as direct profit (if there is profit) for me as the writer.

What do you dislike about your publisher?
As my publisher is on a smaller scale and functions more independently, the financial costs and the marketing and publicity work is still on my shoulders. Sometimes I wonder whether someone with more access or experience could do a better job on behalf of my book.

Did you or your agent hit any snags along the way, and if so how did you overcome them?
Snags specifically related to publishing? I was experiencing some formatting issues, which my publisher helped me to overcome. I also am experiencing some financial concerns regarding how much to invest in the book in terms of how many to print, how many promotional materials to invest in, how many festivals I can afford to fly to, etc. This simply requires strong money management and unfortunately some sacrifices that I wouldn’t make if I were more financially affluent or if the publishing house or hosting organization had a higher budget.

Did your publishing avenue produce a hardback or just paperback copy of your book?
Paperback and e-book.

What made you decide to self-publish?
New author, limited access, limited pull.

Did you do everything yourself (such as cover design, formatting, etc.) or did you hire out?
I hired out for a cover designer and did the formatting myself with substantial help from my publishing team.

Which platforms do you publish through?
Createspace, KDP, and Draft2Digital

What marketing tactics worked for you?
FACEBOOK, and all social media. Attending networking events, such as a reading by a fellow Jewish author or a Jewish-themed talk at The Jewish Museum, with business cards and courage to approach strangers. Email outreach to like-minded individuals and organizations. Email outreach to peers, colleagues to get them more involved in the editing and promoting processes of the book. Offering rewards for participation like tote bag and signed books.

Looking back would you do anything differently?
As of now, no. I am greatly enjoying this experience in all its ups and downs. That said, I don’t believe in regret and believe that in each moment we can only make decisions based on the information we have with us. Looking back, it’s difficult to judge any of the decisions made in earnest at the time.

Next time, I will look into exploring further whether an agent would secure me a contract with a larger scale publishing house for the sake of broadened experience. Then, book three will have the opportunity to have the most informed background and experience to make decisions moving forward.

What lessons have you learned?
This process is very time consuming. Pushing the book successfully through markets and networks may require some social or other professional sacrifices. Time management and patience are hugely valuable. Support systems are also hugely valuable. Identify the relationships that bring peace, insight, and joy into your life and feed those relationships as though they are a plant that regularly needs water. Share with those relationships as much as you expect and need those relationships to share with you. Most of all, practice gratitude and celebrate the small victories. Long-term success and change happens through small steps each day.

Can you provide names and/or contacts for the following?
Agent: N/A
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Formatter: Alyssa Petersel and Jessica Therrien
Cover Designer:
Audiobook: N/A
Hardcover printer: N/A
Promotion and/or marketing: Alyssa Petersel
Blog Tour Organizer, etc.: Alyssa Petersel


How do we come to be who we are spiritually? How does our political and social environment influence our development of self? What drives us to commit to our passions and to contribute positively to the world?

A young American author immerses herself in modern Jewish Hungary. The twenty-one stories she shares will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to be your own best self. Somehow I Am Different provides an opportunity to connect in a world that otherwise begs us to stand alone. This book serves as a reminder that in spite of the factors working against us, we have the power to stand up and make a difference.

In their own words, Hungarian participants will tell you about their views on the world, themselves and their city---

“Instead of emphasizing our victimhood, we should really tell another story.” – Tamas Buchler

“I am I. Maybe I am not perfect. Maybe I am not gorgeous, maybe I am not skinny, or fancy, or rich. But I am me. At least I am me.” – Devora Hurwitz

“After a while, you have to realize that you have the power, too. Our work is to put the power in everyone.” – Vera Feniasz


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