It's all subjective. Repeat it with me: It's ALL subjective.
Agents? Editors? They're readers too. Reviewers? Yep. They're readers too.
I see reviews by folks who hate my books now. NO book works for all readers. You will be rejected by agents, editors (one told my ex-agent that Harper "made a mistake" offering a preempt on WL), reviewers (so far one of the big review spots seem to hate my books whereas another gave a killer review & a slam--two diff reviewers, two books, same venue), readers, and . . . other authors. I had one gem of a moment where an author at a book event asked me how I felt about "writing my book to ride the coattails of Twilight." *pauses* Yeah. That was a really killer moment. I wrote WL before Twilight was pubbed, wrote the story that became WL before Twilight was written . . . but that author needed to believe that my book's initial response was from Something Wrong.
It happens. It's all subjective.
Here's the deal: if you want to do this, you gotta face the facts that 1) there will be hosts of folks who have nothing positive to say . . . and others who love your characters more than YOU do and 2) it's not personal--these folks don't hate me (typically/I think/I hope). It has nothing to do with me, & everything to do with a book, their own tastes, and sometimes their own baggage. Try to remember that. You do this because you HAVE to write, because you love the story, because you believe you can do it, & . . . well, you're going to try. It's not easy.
Also? The numbers don't matter. Subjective individual experiences. I understand the urge to try to quantify it, but you can't. It simply doesn't help--but it does distract you from what you CAN do, which is keep trying & keep writing.
And remember too that the human tendency is to remember the outlier. We remember the lottery ticket that won- not the 138 that didn't. We remember the date that was the start of a fab love--not the 200 that weren't. We remember the aced test on no sleep--not the ones that we struggled to get. Writers' stories are like that. I can remember that I couldn't even get responses for my first novel--or in some cases for WL--or I can remember that my editor skipped her tea to read my book. We, as a species, prefer to remember the magic moment.
To contextualize on the agent thing-- Yeah, I got lucky with the responses to Wicked Lovely, & it was my debut novel. There is the illusion that it can be an "overnight" success. I don't buy it. I taught for 12 years, spent another 7 years before that studying lit, & then 3 years writing. . . *counts* That's a realllllly long night. During that, I raised kids, homeschooled, before that I bartended & waitressed & worked odd jobs. AFTER this, I might do something else. The agent rejections, the editor rejections, the books unsold, those are all not-important. There's no magic number, no statistic that will lead any one of us closer to the goal that we seek.
. . . at least that's my take on it :)
Sacred-texts.com has a lot of old texts scanned in. If you're going Celtic faery, go here. Start reading. The Secret Commonwealth (Kirk) is essential. If you're going Welsh, read the Mabinogion. Evans-Wentz Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries is a great text. Thomas Crofton Croker.
If you're looking for hard copy (newer but still awesome), Eddie Lenihan is a master (http://www.eddielenihan.com/).
Honestly, there's a lot of great stuff there. Read the old texts.
Do NOT read other novels with faeries until after you do your research. (Yes, I realize that I am suggesting that you don't read my books, too.) It's the source texts that matter most. Read those. Read critical texts.
Hope that gives you a start. I can tell you what I'm reading but half the fun is the journey so simply reading the articles I read is going to be less useful (& less fun).
World Rights (all languages)
World English (English in any country)
When I sold the YA novels (& the anthology stories AND manga), I sold "World Rights" to HarperCollins US, Children's Division. They have a team of people in the "Subrights Department" there who function much like agents do for authors.
They sell rights in each country. Harper paid me more up front for the control. That means they get a percentage of the sale in each country, BUT it meant I got more money up front (the "advance") and they do the leg work at selling overseas. With Harper & as a debut author, this felt like a wise move (& I think it was). If I'd only sold NA Rights, my agent would need to shop it to publishers in each country. I could earn more--or not.
So at Harper, there are some great folks--Jean and Alpha are the two who've handled most of my sales, & they are completely kicking it. WL will (or has) release(d) in more than twenty-five countries: US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand), Singapore, the Philippines, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, China, Japan, Romania, Estonia, Indonesia, Poland, Russia, Serbia, et al. Some are via "exports." The UK edition goes to Australia & New Zealand. The US edition goes to Canada. The German edition goes to Austria.
So a translation is sold as "World Spanish" or "World German." Anywhere the book goes that speaks that language then gets into "export" territory. . . and to be honest, even figuring out this much has been a lot of questioning on my part. How a book gets from spot A to W is sometimes just downright perplexing. It does, though, & then I get to hear from readers from all over--which is pretty fabulous, IMO.
NOTE: Derek wasn't the prototype for Seth. No one person is the basis for Seth, or Beira, or Ash, or Keenan, or Don, or . . .
But I write a world where choice is always central, so they're not JUST Summer.
And, umm, the folks who said the names in the book trailer were winging it too. Actually, the audio reader for INK didn't ask for how-to. (He says "ogham" wrong, but *shrug* it doesn't matter in understanding the story.) Storytelling is about the story not the accent or inflection.
It's like names. I, for instance, prefer to use my full name. I don't like it being shortened when people speak to me aloud. . . except under certain conditions. My niece calls me "Aunt Miss" (she had the "M" & the "Iss"). My baby cousins used to call me "Lissa." My Pap used to call me "Missa Ann." Those were all affectionately spoken & because of the origin didn't make me cringe. I answer to "Miss," "Missy," & "Lissa" . . . and in truth, if anyone needs to shorten my name, I prefer "Lissa." It's all ME though. Then we get into accents, my UK editor & my Italian editor both call me "Melissa" but if you saw the phonetics, it wouldn't look the same as how most of you say it.
The hags were actually chosen because of folkloric sources; the bone girls (Scrimshaw Sisters) were a touch macabre so I associated them with Winter Court & the Dark Court. OTOH, Beira's sprites were there under protest. They made bargains (bad choices) and were suffering for it.
A variety of the faeries were not "real" types so as to expand the world. Rowan is a sacred wood. Scrimshaw is a touch disturbing. Thistles hurt and get under your skin (says the person who has foolishly walked barefoot where it wasn't bright to do so). There are others--wraiths, Gabriel Hounds, Jenny Greenteeth, Leanan -Sidhes, beansidhes, Gancanagh, Far Dorocha, kelpies--who are more traditionally ordered because the lore supports it.
So, I guess it's--like most things--for a variety of reasons.
As we look at each of those 4 courts, it becomes clear (IMHO) that no one stance is "purely right" or "purely evil." To some degree, everything is relative. That's a central point of philosophical inquiry to me personally. I'm enjoying trying to poke at ideas & characters & threads to see which factors need shifted for a character to be classified as "good" or "evil" & an act as "right" or "wrong" (hence the multiple POV). Life, in my opinion, is complex, so a simple two answer system seems tedious to write (& less able to reflect the way things look to me--which like all the rest is merely one perspective).
Where did it come from? I'm not entirely sure. B/c I like seasonal myths? B/c I like multiplicities of meaning? B/c I find Winter terrifying & tempting? B/c I thought the dynamics were more interesting? I'm never entirely sure what the answer is . . . or maybe there isn't a single answer.
Did I make some up? Yep. Folklore & fairy tales aren't stagnate. They evolve. There's a wonderful tradition of re-telling, of re-envisioning, of adapting & updating the old tales. Frex, there's no myth of a Winter Girl. Cailleach Bheur (Beira's source) is not gorgeous. She's a blue-faced hag with razor sharp teeth & blue lips in many tellings. There is, however, a story of Beara traveling on the back of a great white wolf as she spread winter over the earth.
Glaistigs are in lore. Rowan People are not (although the rowan--AKA Mountain Ash--is a sacred wood). Ditto the Hawthorn Girls (Hawthornis sacred, but there are no Hawthorn People). There is a Seelie & Unseelie Court in lore, so the idea of balanced courts comes from there . . . but the Winter Court, Summer Court, Dark Court, & High Court are not all present. Eating the food of Faerie is dangerous (akin to the Persephone myth sometimes). Music & all night dancing (or years missing when it felt like but one night) are lore sourced ideas. The role of tattooing in folklore (as in INK) is not found in source texts. OTOH, the idea that tattoos can hold supernat'l power IS in lore.
I guess, in sum, it's a mix of sources, but not all of them are direct one-to-one things. They are (mostly) with some source though. My mind is an amalgamation of such things; they filter into the words when I try to write.