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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Author Insight: The Path to Publication

What was the most challenging part of
your road to publication?

"Writing Tell Me a Secret was not an easy task. It meant delving into the sad events that inspired it, and the pain of difficult relationships. There were many times when I thought I was wasting my time and babysitting money, that I would never be up to the task of finishing it. I learned a lot, fighting through those doubts – mostly that they were an Everest of my own making. After I realized it, they had much less power over me." - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret.

"The highs and lows. I would get great feedback from someone, but then the lead would go nowhere. That happens a lot in publishing. Serious mood swings." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

"Well…the most challenging part for me has been staying published. It’s an illusion that once you get there, you have it made. There are so many things that can happen once you sneak past that velvet publishing curtain." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Waiting and seeing books that have some minor similarities with mine release before mine. Most authors can probably say this, too--If books were released as soon as they were written and edited more (and different) books would be praised as inventive. Remember that 13 to Life was written (and an award winner) in 2008 although it's out in June 2010." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"Our road to publication is very atypical, particularly because we never intended to write an book in the first place. My co-author, Margaret Stohl, and I wrote Beautiful Creatures on a dare from Margie's 15 year-old daughter. We never intended to publish the novel. It was simply a story we wrote for Margie's daughters and her friends. After we finished, the book was moving virally through several high schools, so we considered putting it up on a website. Luckily, our friend, middle grade fiction author Pseudonymous Bosh (THE SECRET SERIES), sent it to his agent Sarah Burnes at the Gernert Company. Sarah loved the book, and asked us to make some changes. After we finished (about 3 months later), she sent the manuscript out to publishers and it was auctioned a few days later. We were really lucky." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Oh man. Getting an agent. I sent queries to every agent alive today and NOBODY would read my manuscript. It was deeply depressing. Finally a friend of mine who was getting published asked her agent to take a look at my manuscript and she signed me. I love her so." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"My story’s not all that different than everyone else’s, I’m sure. The waiting is always tough. I wrote Personal Demons last year and submitted to agents June-August. I didn’t have any fingernails left in Sept. when the first offer came. We went on submission to editors in October, and again, fingernails gone by December when it sold at auction. It’s scheduled for release on Sept 14, 2010, which also seems forever away, though I know in the publishing world that’s pretty much the speed of light. I’m lucky that my waiting has been significantly shorter than most, and I have no right to complain, but I do anyway." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons.

"Probably just the uncertainty, the not knowing if a book deal would happen for me and when. Every time I did well in a contest or sold a short story, it was like a little boost to keep me going for a while longer. The process takes so long that you need those small encouragements sometimes--something to reassure you you're on the right track." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

"Waiting 18 long months for the book to come out. That's like being pregnant...twice." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"Waiting. Waiting and the first book, The Shadow Mile, not selling. But even though the not selling was agony (it went to acquisitions 3+ times) it was also the best thing, because at some point I went from moping to absolutely DRIVEN, and really strove to make my work better. So I'll just saying waiting. Because waiting sucks." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

"For me, it’s probably all of the waiting required. I’m impatient, and it seems like I’m always waiting for something! While that may not necessary be a challenge, it’s still one of the hardest parts, no matter what stage of publication you’re in." - Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder.

"There was a point where I'd fired my first agent (after getting rejected by about 20 or so before signing with her), editors had all said no for this or that reason. It had been over a year since I finished the book, and it looked like I'd had my chance, and it was over. It was one of those times where everything in your life just goes horrible wrong until you wonder if you're living in some kind of Silent Hill world where things are just bad. I couldn't bring myself to write anything new because it just seemed so pointless. My best book, the one everybody told me would get published, hadn't gotten anywhere. I wished I could just shrug it off and keep at it, but after nine books, it was the last straw, and all my hope had run out. Luckily before officially giving up, I sent the book off one more time on my own to a smaller pub, got an offer, then got a new, kick-ass agent who got me an even better offer, and everything turned out all right. Can you imagine? One e-query is what that comes down to. The difference between a lifetime of failure and of newfound success boils down to one email I could have just as easily not sent." - Chelsea Campbell, author of The Rise of Renegade X.

"The most challenging parts were probably the near misses -- when editors wanted to buy one of my manuscripts, offered fantastic revision suggestions, etc., but then were turned down by the acquisitions committee." - Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood.

"I would say just keeping at it and not letting myself get frustrated because things were not happening as fast as I wanted them to." - Alexandra Diaz, author of Of All The Stupid Things.

"I don't think I'd be alone here if I said the waiting. And waiting. And the self-doubt. Oh yeah, and the waiting." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

Tune in Thursday to find out what the most difficult part of the path to publication was for our other authors!
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  1. I can really relate to Shannon Delany's comment so much. And to everyone who said, "Waiting!"

    Ha! :-)

  2. This is such a wonderful post. I love having all these fantastic authors in one place and getting their perspectives.

    Thank you so much! I'm going to put this in our best articles This Week for Writers on 5/21/10.


  3. Seriously great post! I'm so glad you gathered all of these responses in the same place. Sometimes I just want to compare answers, but it often feels like there's no way to do that (or it's too much work...lazy me!).