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Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Author Insight: The Path to Publication

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

"The first major roadblock was finding an agent. I spent over two years researching agents and sending queries, and wasn’t offered representation until I had completed my third novel (The Tension of Opposites). The second major roadblock was revision. Once I landed my agent, I revised for eleven months before she pitched the book to editors. It all worked out well, though, as I had three offers in three weeks!" - Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites.

"Waiting to announce that we'd sold the series... it took nine long months to hammer out the contracts, and I am a terrible secret-keeper!" - Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theatre Illuminata series.

"Ignoring acquaintances who thought it should be easy." - Bonnie Doerr, author of Island Sting.

"The two toughest parts of The Secret Year’s road: first of all, while I was writing it, wondering whether it was a book anyone else would care about. I knew it was important to me, and I had a lot of faith in it, but was I just deluding myself? And then after that, the toughest part was waiting for it to come to the bookshelves." - Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.

"All the waiting! Waaaaiiiiiiittttttiiiiiiinnnnnnnnggggggggg. Like a book zombie." - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"The waiting. I’m not a patient person at all. I can’t even stand to watch a movie without looking up how it ends on Wikipedia before I even sit down to watch it. This industry, almost more than any other, demands the kind of patience that would test the willpower of saints and the sanest of people. There’s no way to circumvent it, either!" - Alexandra Bracken, author of Brightly Woven.

"The most difficult part of seeking publication was that I was only fifteen years old when I started sending my first novel out to agents. It’s especially difficult as a teenager to be taken seriously in the writing world." - Riley Carney, author of The Fire Stone.

"Two years ago, I would have said just plain getting published, but waiting 17 months from contract to publication date is pretty agonizing, too. I’m sure it gets easier in subsequent go-rounds, when you know what to expect, and I hope to have the opportunity to see that happen." - Jessica Leader, author of Nice and Mean.

"Figuring out what I'm good at so I could focus on that. I will often read amazing books by authors that have talent I just don't have, and I think it's futile to want to try and be anyone else but myself. For a long time, I didn't realize that. I was wishing I was other people and then getting depressed because I wasn't. I can only be me. And either it will be good enough or it won't be, but that's what I have to offer." - Lisa Schroeder, author of Chasing Brooklyn.

"Suffering through tremendous financial hardship and absolutely, unequivocally believing I could do it - through all five books it took me to sell one." - Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of Sisters.

"To be honest, finding an agent. I had a hard road with that, especially in the beginning. I just don't think I knew enough about the business when I first started. I wish I'd done more research before I started." - Suzanne Young, author of The Naughty List.

"Learning patience. I always worked in television production or did event planning--things where you work hard and see results. It was excrutiating to have to turn over my work to agents and editors and wait. I wanted to be more active in the process and at a certain point, you can't--you just have to wait for someone else to make decisions about your work." - Shari Maurer, author of Change of Heart.

"The not-knowing, hands-down. Not knowing when I'd hear back from queries, not knowing if the queries were good enough, not knowing when to stop editing my manuscripts to death, not knowing whose advice to listen to, not knowing if it's best to invest in this con or that workshop, not knowing which agent would be the best match for me (then not knowing what happened to that agent... then not knowing what to do when I had to find a new agent!), not knowing when to expect an edit letter, not knowing if the editor would like my revision, not knowing about contracts or timelines or website designers or widgets, not knowing when I might be bumped again or whether I'd be published at all..." - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.

"Not freaking out constantly. Remembering to eat. My road to publication occurred very quickly, which was overwhelming." - Steph Bowe, author of Girl Saves Boy.

"Justifying the sacrifices everyone in my family had to make so I could keep going. Everybody has the right to dream, but I thought a lot about whether I deserved to actually pursue it. I'm lucky enough to have a husband who believed in my potential that he kept pushing me to go, and working extraordinarily long hours so that I could." - Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

"The endless waiting. I’m a rather impatient sort (bet you couldn’t tell) and waiting to see what an editor/agent thought of my book, the waiting for them to get back to you, was torture." - Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King.

"Getting past the self-doubt." - Janet Fox, author of Faithful.

What emotion is most difficult for our authors to convey in print? Come back on Tuesday and find out!


  1. Great post! It's always interesting (especially since I'm an aspiring author) to read others struggle. Thanks so much for this post!

  2. Ohhhh! Juicy. Thanks for posting this. Love your blog layout, etc. Will peruse more later. Thanks!


  3. I just love reading these! You do such a good job.

  4. I love the way these posts are set up so we can hear insights from so many different authors! The setup is very unique and I look forward to reading them every week!

  5. I always enjoy these 'Author Insight' posts! :)

  6. Wow this is really interesting! I love getting inside the author's head. I like Bonnie Doerr's comment. I thought everyone just understood that writing a book and getting published is not an easy task. Guess not!

    Thanks for the post
    GBU Book Reviews

  7. I cannot imagine keeping my trap shut for NINE MONTHS after finding out I would be published. No way.

  8. What a great blog site.
    Kelly Bookend Diaries