VBT & #Giveaway: The Sunrisers by Robyn Singer
@Archaeolibrary, @GoddessFish, @EmmaLSinger,
After years of adventures, professional thief and amateur noodle critic Yael is invited to join The Order of the Banshee, a collection of the greatest female thieves in the universe, despite being decades younger than any of them. Yael’s childhood best friend, Molina, has lived the opposite life: a stern and serious member of The Sunrisers, the universe’s premiere peacekeeping organization, she’s just been promoted to Captain, serving under her father. Her first assignment of her new command: Bring down The Order of the Banshee. Yael and Molina now find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict neither of them will escape unscathed. The love they have for each other is the same as when they were young, but either their personal values or their love will break. In this game of cat and mouse, both women must use all their wits and tricks to stay ahead of their new enemy. Will order triumph, or will chaos? No matter what, Yael and Molina will both lose.
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“I'm so glad you came. This should, uh, be a lot more comfortable than talking over a holo-call or while I'm trying to avoid getting killed and you're trying to arrest people.”
The cadence of her voice and the way she spoke were identical to how she'd talked when we were younger. I believed that I'd grown and changed for the better in that area over the past decade, but this was one area where Yael hadn't changed at all. If I was going to get Yael to do what I wanted, I needed her to trust me. And more importantly, I wanted her to trust me.
Only a little afraid, I opened my arms up for a hug. “Try not to crush me this time, please.”
Her eyes slightly watering, Yael tightly, but not too tightly, wrapped her arms around me. In turn, I put mine around her. When we'd hugged on Milash's moon, I'd been too caught up in the moment to fully appreciate it. Now though, being in her arms again, feeling safe and protected, a single thought overtook my mind. Or rather, a single desire.
“Do you think we hug too much?” I'd once asked when we were 13.
“I mean, if you're getting tired of hugging, we could always try kissing,” Yael had replied.
I'd blushed and tugged at my long hair. “Are you...are you being serious?”
She'd narrowed her eyes. “Am I?”
Pet Peeves of the Publishing Industry
The publishing industry, like most creative industries, is dreadful. It’s oversaturated, it’s gate kept, it’s lacking in diversity, unlivable wages, and trying to break into it without either already being famous or knowing the right people is the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket, if buying said lottery ticket required you to write and edit a polished novel first.
To describe the oversaturation problem, allow me to share a common experience I’ve found among people I’ve talked to who’ve managed the seemingly impossible task of not only landing an agent, but getting traditionally published by one of the big 5, and winding up on the New York Times Best Sellers List. They excitedly tell their friends and family about their massive achievement, only to be told “What’s the big deal? Every book makes that list.”
Between all of the different mainstream publishers and the lack of real marketing which goes into most of them, the most successful books are the only ones most people even hear of.
When it comes to gatekeeping, I understand why agents exist. They’re professionals who understand the industry, and who know how to negotiate deals well, and without them, the mainstream publishers would be overwhelmed with submissions.
That said, none of this changes the problems with the system. Between the sheer volume of submissions each one receives, inevitably resulting in the majority of them being rejected, even if they might have loved what they saw of a book, agents having specific tastes which could result in your book being rejected over one little thing even if they liked the rest of it, the confusing issue of needing to be original, while also playing into what’s popular at the moment, accessibility issues, and general bigotry in a profession dominated by cishet white women, just landing an agent, let alone a publishing deal, is something that takes most writers years to do, if they ever even manage it.
But don’t go thinking the bigotry is limited to agents, because it’s so much worse on the actual publishing end. Mainstream publishers are willing to release so few books a year which feature BIPOC or LGBT lead characters, and even fewer which are actually written by BIPOC or LGBT writers. It’s especially bad for the former communities, to the point where BIPOC writers actually encourage white writers to not use BIPOC leads, because they’d be taking an opportunity away from a BIPOC.
When you take all this into account, it’s all the more frustrating when you read about a celebrity getting a seven or eight figure advance for their debut novel, despite lacking any creative experience, or a truly terrible book gets released and pushed because the author went to college with the right person in authority. Even if you’re one of the lucky few who manages to get traditionally published, you’ll still balk at how much these authors make, while you’re not being paid enough to live off of.
I’m never going to get famous writing for small presses, but between the fruitless pain, work, and stress I’m avoiding, and the fact that there’s a good chance traditional publishing wouldn’t even net me significantly more success, I’m more than happy where I am right now.
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Robyn Singer is a lifelong New Yorker, and since she was a kid playing with her action figures, all she’s wanted to do is tell stories. She went to SUNY Purchase to get a degree in Playwriting & Screenwriting with a minor in Film and has produced several comic books, but she’s always had her eye on becoming a published novelist.
As an Autistic, bisexual trans woman, diversity and inclusion in stories are vitally important to her, and she seeks to represent as many groups as possible in her work. While she wants to show characters of marginalized groups experiencing joy, she also draws inspiration from real-world problems which bother her.
The Sunrisers (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, November 2022) is her debut novel. She writes novels and short stories of all genres and for all ages, and she continues to produce comic books. Her ongoing series, Final Gamble, will begin publication by Band of Bards in 2022.
Follow her on twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmaLSinger
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robynlsinger/