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In which I announce a book. My book.

Posted by on August 22, 2013

This may be news to some of you. I self-published my first novel (read: failure) two years ago. Since then, I’ve written three more books. I wrote, revised, queried.

And then I wrote UNBREATHABLE. It was spontaneous. It stemmed from a need to find a perfect first line. And then I thought, in how many books do you find a first line where people are looking for Earth when most stories took place on Earth, or where people were escaping Earth. That’s where it came from. That first line I ended up scrapping.

I wrote and wrote. I stayed up at night and tapped away, and I loved the story so much. Too much. It took me the longest to complete and ended up the longest story I had ever written – at 110,000 words. And then I took a deep breath and queried.

My first book had 2 requests in the span of months. My second had 3, just the same. The day I queried UNBREATHABLE, I got one request. Within two weeks, I had twelve, and then more trickled in after. So many full requests from some of the best agents out there. I was ecstatic, I was terrified. Some of those requests turned into rejections. Others came back requesting a revision.

A revision. I had never thought someone would love it enough to correspond further. So I sat down and revised and revised. And sent it back, my heart in my throat. Only to have it fall down again when they rejected me.

I had a goal to get published before the age of 20. And here I am, a few months past 20. I tried to stop writing. I got busier with designing and I thought writing wasn’t the path for me.

But I couldn’t stop.

The thing is, I love UNBREATHABLE, even now, despite all its rejections, and flaws I may never see. I never loved any of my books as much, and receiving so many requests only made my love grow stronger. I can’t just set it aside. I can’t. And so, I came to a conclusion.

The time for science fiction set in space is coming to an end. The only time for publishing space sci-fi is now. So why not?

With a mighty push from my parents, Asma, Leigh Ann Kopans, Darci Cole, Cait Greer, KK Hendin, Ashelynn, Amanda Foody, Nazarea Andrews, Jessica Baker, L.M. Augustine, Alex from Peace, Love, Fangirl, and so many others who believe in a story I couldn’t believe in, I’ve decided to self-publish. Though I’m sure the ‘self’ part is far from the truth.

UNBREATHABLE will be published in October 2013 — Add it to Goodreads!

The details are still slightly hazy, but I had to take the leap. I designed myself a cover (that I can’t wait to share) and I had to put this out here to steel myself for getting UNBREATHABLE out there, or it will never happen. Because even as I write this post, I’m filled so many doubts and indecisions that I’m more terrified than excited. Here’s what UNBREATHABLE is about (though the final synopsis may change):

Unbreathable Placeholder 

Three days ago, Earth was a rumor, and Lissa was human.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Earth was destroyed, and the remaining humans fled to the dusty red planet of Jutaire, where the only oxygen is manufactured, food is scarce, and death strikes often.

When Lissa’s father discovers Earth still exists, she accidentally breathes the toxic air of Jutaire and in one breath, she discovers she isn’t quite human.

Her father hangs for his discovery, and Lissa knows the Chancellors will come for her, for she saw the Earth that night too. With nothing to lose, she sets out to expose the truth. It isn’t long before she meets Julian, a beautiful boy who can breathe the toxic air like she can – and shows her that the Jute, the original inhabitants of the planet, are more tangled in their lives than she knows.

As mankind races to extinction, Lissa finds out they aren’t the only ones in need of Earth, and that the Chancellors are only pawns in a greater game – one where the Jute control everything. Now, Lissa has everything to lose. Earth. Love. The redemption of the human race. And more than anything, her life.

Because the Jute plan to leave Jutaire for Earth, but to get there, they need her. And they’ll stop at nothing until Lissa is in their clutches, even if they kill every human in the process.

The race for Earth has begun.

Does this mean I’ll never try to get an agent? That I’ve strictly chosen the self-publishing path for myself? No. I don’t ‘hate’ those agents for rejecting me. They rejected my work. One story because it was either not right for them or not right for the market. I won’t stop writing. Or trying.

Now for the doubts.

Should I be excited? Terrified? Both?
Would anyone be interested in being an early reviewer?
Will I ever have a team?
Will I ever have fans?

And most of all: will I regret this decision?

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  1. Oh my god, this is amazing news! Congratulations on your self-publication. I can’t imagine how much perseverance you must have acquired to continue on this path, and I admire you for it. Added your book on Goodreads, and I think it sounds fantastic. I love sci-fi! You have my full support, Hafsah, and I’m looking forward to reading Unbreathable :)

  2. Congrats on your decision! Your book sounds amazing, and I think you’re right: the time for sci-fi is now. Sometimes the traditional publishing world can’t find a place for a book that would still find an audience. As brutal as I know (from experience) that it was, good for you for querying and making those revisions, and still having the strength to recognize that even if traditional publishers couldn’t see the book’s potential, you still love it.

    And the wonderful thing about publishing these days is that we can choose different paths for different books. My view is that I’ll self-publish if it doesn’t fit into the traditional market right now, but I’ll leave the door open to traditional publishing if I ever have a book that happens to fit the market.

    I’ll be rooting for you, and can’t wait to read UNBREATHABLE!

    1. BRUTAL is the best word to describe it.
      I strongly believe the time for sci-fi is now, but I’m also sure there were other factors involved in not being able to sign with an agent. I love my book – but I know there are countless flaws in it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’m a huge sci-fi lover and your book sounds like something different and intriguing enough, so I plan to check it out for sure! Added to my GR!

    Also, can’t wait to see the cover you’ve designed!

  4. I think it’s awesome that you stuck with your dreams. I never could have imagined writing a whole story at age 20. Even now! Unbreathable sounds pretty wicked! Congrats. :)

  5. Congratulations on Unbreathable, Hafsah!! Sounds awesome!! I’ve added it on my goodreads to-read shelf and I’ve signed up for the newsletter as well. I love supporting self-published writers- people like you have courageous souls and a true love for writing. I’m real excited about the book cover too, since your designs are really beautiful!! :D

  6. SOOO proud of you! One who doesn’t risk, has no chance of winning so I think you’d rather regret the decision of NOT going forward with a story that’s so close to your heart than going and perhaps receiving an audience who’ll stick by your side and want more and more and more until you’re so tired of writing that you don’t want to write anything. Which I highly doubt you’ll feel–your reviews are great and you’re talented in many ways so I’m more than sure writing is another talent of your gorgeous self. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you:) *huge hugs*

  7. This is so amazing and inspiring! Congratulations! Unbreathable sounds amazing! I’m headed over to add it to my goodreads and I can’t wait to read it! I’m definitely a sci-fi fan so I am so excited for this! I would most certainly be interested in being an early reviewer if possible!

  8. Eeek! Congrats, Hafsah! You know I’m proud of you :) I would sign up as an early reviewer, but I can’t 100% guarantee I’ll have time during the school year, but I’d love to do a guest post or a spotlight for you! I can’t wait to buy it and see it on my Nook screen and have all sorts of feels.

  9. This is AMAZING news! I read the synopsis for UNBREATHABLE and I love it! I already added it to my TBR shelf on goodreads and I must say that you are making a great decision. I can already see so many people supporting your decision and being excited about your novel, myself included. Best of luck with everything and you are inspiration to us all. :)

  10. Yey for u! I love ur synopsis and am so excited for you! Let’s get your book started on the success path! My friend and i decided to just selfpub our long been finished book we made 5 yrs ago,lol. And we hope to publish it before the yr ends. Anyway, im so happy for u! :)

  11. Unbreathable sounds SOOO Interesting!!! Congratulations on completing your book! That’s got to be one of the BEST feelings ever!!! I filled out the form above for a chance to read and review it! I promise to give a completely honest review! Wish you the Best of Luck!

    1. Congrats on taking the leap! I published mine at 17 and still regret it. I wasn’t ready, that’s for sure! Thanks :)

      1. Our mom was really the one who pushed us to publish. We weren’t quite aware of publishing, but now I think we’ve become more experienced since we published our first book while being only 15. We’re turning 17 soon and have just self-pubbed the sequel, but we feel SO much more experienced than before. I’m glad to here you feel more comfortable with it now :)

  12. Best of luck, Hafsah. I’ve gone through a very similar journey to you: agents, revisions, and ultimately rejection. I self-published last month and it was the best career decision I ever made. Now my destiny is in my own hands.

    I’ll be buying your book as soon as it’s available. I’ve been dying for some YA SF, and Unbreathable sounds fantastic.

    Go forth and kick ass, girl.

  13. Congrats! I am truly happy for you. Ive heard the road from the idea to write the book to putting the book in our hands is a long and hard one. Many give up. You didn’t! I am stoked your dreams are coming true.
    Cant wait to read it!

  14. Awww, yay! I can’t wait for more people to get to read this book! It’s all kinds of awesome, you know. Also, if you’re doing a cover reveal in which other people get to help, I want to help!

    I’m so glad this is happening, girl. It’s going to be great!


  15. Having self-published before I knew what I was doing and fallen flat on my face, I know these feels and these fears. I peeled myself up and did a re-match, though. And you have way more market savvy than I, so I have complete confidence in you. <3
    Your book sounds amazing! And I agree, now is the time for space sci-fi. You totally got this. You're gonna kick butt.

  16. Hafsah–

    This is the best news I’ve heard in a long while! I cannot wait to read Unbreathable! You are a phenomenal writer and your ambition is just as remarkable. Congratulations!

    You’re awesome.


  17. Wow! Congrats for taking the plunge! I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to self-publish. Your book sounds amazing, so I can’t believe an agent didn’t want to snap it up. In my opinion, there aren’t enough good books set in space, and yours seems different from the rest.

  18. *gives you a big round of applause* GOOD FOR YOU. It’s a huge leap, one that’s both terrifying and exciting. Having an agent and a publisher would be great, but I think what’s really important is sharing your story. And having the GUTS to share your story. I self-published a little over a year and a half ago and even though there have been bumps along the way, it’s been so rewarding, and I haven’t regretted it. You have a leg-up because you’re already well-known in the blogging community, and I’m sure there will be tons of people not only rooting you on but also spreading the word about your book. It sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to see the cover. Wishing you the best of luck! :-)

  19. This is so exciting and it sounds amazing! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! It’s awesome that you’re book has so much support, even if it also had it rejections! CONGRATS!

  20. This is so fantastic, and I’m so happy for you! This book sounds like something that has to be shared with the world, and I’m so thrilled that you’ve decided to do just that. Congratulations! We’re all behind you on this! :)

  21. This is so exciting! I’ve wanted to be a writer since the third grade, but never had the motivation to continue with writing books. Good luck with Unbreathable. Hopefully it gets lots of hype, great reviews, and agents and publishers alike will work with you on this or your next possible project :D

  22. Oh wow, congrats Hafsah! I’m so excited for you and look forward to seeing the cover of Unbreathable and eventually reading it. I have no doubts that it’ll be awesome and know that one day you’ll become a traditionally published author too. Don’t forget your neighbours to the north then, okay? ;)

  23. Yay, Hafsah! I’m so excited for you and your book! I can’t wait to see the cover (it’s going to be amazing, I know it!), and more importantly, I can’t wait to read this book! :-)

    Wishing you all the success I know you deserve!

  24. I am so happy for you! I’m always elated when a fellow blogger does what every blogger secretly or publicly wants to do – write a kickass book everyone loves. Love the summary and I can’t wait to see the cover :D
    I hope going this route will be the best route for you and Unbreathable.

  25. I am so happy for you! I’m always elated when a fellow blogger does what every blogger secretly or publicly wants to do – write a kickass book everyone loves. Love the summary and I can’t wait to see the cover :D
    I hope going this route will be the best route for you and your book Unbreathable.

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