Emails like this are like fresh flowers in my inbox. Enjoy!
I've been a reader of your blog for several years (at least 4!) and I wanted to let you know that my first YA novel will be released next week.
It's been a loooooooong road to get there and I owe a debt of gratitude to your website. I had participated in several contests over the years (Baker's Dozen and First words and Log line critiques). Here I will note that although I NEVER won a contest, the feedback and advice was invaluable. And the support helped keep me going as I faced another rejection. I stopped keeping count after a hundred or so....
I wrote a YA sci-fi novel in 2009. Then it got rejected by every agent I contacted. I revised in 2010 - still more rejections but also more advice and help. I drastically changed the book in 2011 and that got me an agent 5 days after submission.
Needless to say I was thrilled.
Thought I had arrived. You know how it goes.
We did revisions and edited and went on submission.
The book didn't sell (did come very close). So then I had to write something else. So I did. I wrote and wrote. I wrote almost two full books, but nothing was happening.
My agent found me some IP auditions, but I never was picked, although the editors had a lot of good things to say about my writing.
I thought, "This sucks. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I suck." I felt bad, mainly because my agent was so supportive and I felt like I was wasting her time. Honestly, I felt like a fraud.
Then she heard about a new series Simon Pulse was developing and told me it sounded right up my alley. It was a survival genre story - I could write about whatever I wanted.
So I did. I wrote 30 pages and sent it on. I really liked it. I liked the characters, the setting, the idea of this type of story, which is not a type of story that I had ever considered writing before.
My agent sent it over to the editors.
I didn't hear boo. And so I forgot about it for a few weeks.
Turns out, they loved it.
They wanted me to write a book! In 4 months!
I thought, "Crap! How do I do that?" It did help that I had written a synopsis.
So I just did it - I hunkered down and wrote a book, page by page. Four months is fast for me.
And now, finally, next week that book (STRANDED) will be released by Simon Pulse!
So my path to publication was definitely not standard, and the one thing I did learn through the process was to say yes. Yes to other possiblities, yes to other types of work and other ways of trying. The more you say yes to things, especially things that scare you a little, the more opportunities start opening up.
So thanks again for all you do and all the support you give!