C.S. Pacat

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C.S. Pacat

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Australia
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March 2015

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C.S. Pacat is a Melbourne writer. Her first series the Captive Prince trilogy began its life as an original web serial. Self-published in 2013 to critical and commercial success and acclaim, the Captive Prince trilogy was acquired by Penguin, and will be published worldwide in 2015.

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C.S. Pacat Captive Prince started off as a web serial that garnered viral attention, and after I'd written the first two volumes in that format I tried to…moreCaptive Prince started off as a web serial that garnered viral attention, and after I'd written the first two volumes in that format I tried to publish commercially, and was rejected just about everywhere - agents, publishers, you name it. But because I had so many requests for a paperback from online readers, I eventually self published, and the books shot up the charts - and after that were picked up by Penguin, where the series went on to become a USA Today bestseller.

I was lucky in that sense that I learned that rejection has nothing to do with whether a book will make it or not, or whether it will connect with readers. Publishers might reject a book because it's just not to an editor's particular taste, or because it's new - publishers are essentially venture capitalists, and if something is new it's marketing potential is zero, or at best "question mark". I was also really lucky to have had enthusiastic readers, who encouraged me along the way, and to be writing at a time when the internet and self publishing offers alternate paths for publication. My book got to prove itself to publishers in the market.

I didn't necessarily have a single method for dealing with rejection, but I remember when I was sending Captive Prince out on queries, I kept a "rejection book" where I printed and pasted all my rejection letters, and journalled my feelings about each one next to them. I found that useful to process what I was feeling, and make each rejection feel like part of a process rather than the End of All Things.

As for criticism - I think all writers receive criticism, because no book is universally liked. Liking a book is often not only a matter of personal taste, but of the exact moment in time that you read it: the book I read and loved at fifteen I might hate at thirty, and vice versa.

I think it's important to take criticism seriously but not personally. I always want to grow and improve as a writer, and I think criticism and praise both offer opportunities to do that, ways of glimpsing your work from the outside as it is received by different types of readers.

I am one of those writers who thinks that the book is made by the author and then remade by the reader's mind - remade by the act of reading - so that in a sense no two people read the same book. In that way, writing is an imperfect form of communication: you write hoping to evoke this image or this feeling in the reader, but your tools are blunt, limited, and once the reader begins to read, you the author have lost control over what exactly they will feel and experience. Thus a book that is consoling to one reader may be corrosive to another, a book that is boring to one reader may be brilliant to another, because a reader's mind is where a book springs to life.

The best advice I ever heard about criticism was from Karen Joy Fowler who was asked - but if books are subjective, how do you know when your book is working, how do you know which criticism is valid? She said (paraphrasing) that if there are people who love the book, it is working, and it's okay if there are people who don't like it, as that will happen for every book. But if the love isn't there yet, then rewrite. (less)
C.S. Pacat When I first started trying to write a novel, I wish I had known two things. First, that writing a novel is really hard, and second, that no one can…moreWhen I first started trying to write a novel, I wish I had known two things. First, that writing a novel is really hard, and second, that no one can write a novel when they first start out - everyone will have stuff they just can't do, like plotting, or coming up with ideas, or getting past the beginning, or making decisions, or whatever.

When I was starting out - and I think this happens to a lot of people - I found everything hard, and there was a lot that I couldn't do, and I thought that since it wasn't easy and I couldn't do it straight away, I must not be a writer. I wish someone had said to me then, "This is normal. It feels hard because it is hard. No one can do it when they first start out. What you're feeling, every novelist goes through this. The long period where you're producing bad work and you can't write a novel is the normal stage that everyone has to persevere through in order to be able to write a novel." (less)
Average rating: 4.28 · 81,905 ratings · 11,876 reviews · 11 distinct worksSimilar authors
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More books by C.S. Pacat…
Fence cover

I'm teaming up with BOOM! Box comics and the amazing artist Johanna the Mad to write FENCE - the comic of my dreams!

FENCE follows 16-year-old outsider Nicholas Cox as he enters the world of competitive fencing at an elite boys school. There will be intense rivalries, lifelong friendships, exhilarating swordfights... and slow burn romance between teammates!

To make sure you get your copy of FENCE... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on October 20, 2017 18:12 • 296 views • Tags: fence, new-release
Captive Prince Captive Prince: Volume Two Kings Rising
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4.28 avg rating — 81,593 ratings

Green but for a Season The Summer Palace The Adventures of Charls, t...
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4.27 avg rating — 8,754 ratings

Fence Fence #2
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4.31 avg rating — 212 ratings

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C.S. Pacat wrote a new blog post


I'm teaming up with BOOM! Box comics and the amazing artist Johanna the Mad to write FENCE - the comic of my dreams!

FENCE follows 16-year-old outsi... Read more of this blog post »
More of C.S.'s books…
“I think if I gave you my heart, you would treat it tenderly.”
C.S. Pacat, Kings Rising

“I lack," said Laurent, "the easy mannerisms that are usually shared with," you could see him pushing the words out, "a lover."
"You lack the easy mannerisms that are usually shared with anyone," said Damen.”
C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince: Volume Two

“Then, in the spirit of benevolence, "Your face is well balanced." She slapped him encouragingly on the back, "You have very long eyelashes. Like a cow.”
C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince: Volume Two

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