When I get feedback, my gut reaction is to read it and then promptly run away. (I also read my edit letters in reverse order, which is a totally strange quirk that I’ll talk about another day.) I need time to process the feedback and absorb it before I decide how to tackle it. And sometimes… I run toward another form of artistic expression other than writing! Here’s a time lapse of the hour after I received my most recent short edit letter!
My lifelong dream was to get a book published. Now that I’ve done that (NAMELESS QUEEN, published through Random House 01-07-2020), what’s next? What do I do once my Lifelong Dream has been achieved?
Here’s all my clips from Instagram on the day my first book, NAMELESS QUEEN, was published! It was a true, true honor to be able to debut in such great company, with all of the other spectacular authors debuting and with the support of so many people. Rewatching this video makes me smile and laugh and cry a little, and I’m so happy I get to keep these memories. I’m sure they’ll come in handy when I need a balm against the ego-burning madness of revisions as I continue to work on my second book!
My first book gets published in just a few days, and I got my Author Copies (a box of my own books) in the mail this week! They are GORGEOUS and I am so excited to be able to share it with you!
INTERESTED IN READING MORE? I read Chapter 1 out loud here!
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Happy New Year’s Eve! Not only are we starting a new year and a new decade, we’re starting it off with as many 2010-comparison memes, Gatsby throwbacks, and hope for the future as possible! And for me, the 2020s is starting off with pretty much my dream coming true. My first book, a YA fantasy about a thief who takes the throne, NAMELESS QUEEN, comes out in exactly one week on January 7, 2020!
This is a heck of a way to start off the next decade of my life. I’m so excited! Let’s take a look at how I got here:
In 2010, I was graduating high school and starting college. I had just finished writing my first book, and I had Big Dreams of writing more in college. I wasn’t quite ready for publishing. I knew enough to know I could be better and that my skill level wasn’t where I wanted it to be to debut. So, over the next four years of college, I wrote four more books. Then, in 2014, just as I graduated and started working at my first job, I started writing the first draft of NAMELESS QUEEN. It was my first foray into first person present tense narration, and even as I wrote it, it felt different. I knew as I wrote it that this would be my first time properly trying to get published.
I revised it through the first half of 2015 and was accepted into Pitch Wars, which is a mentorship program with an agent showcase at the end. I worked with the gloriously ambitious and kickass author, Laura Steven (EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY; A GIRL CALLED SHAMELESS) for two months. From the showcase, I got multiple offers from literary agents, and I accepted Peter J. Knapp, who is the cheeriest and most encouraging and best agent. Within weeks, we were on submission. Within a day, we had our first offer.
NAMELESS QUEEN sold at auction within a week to Penguin Random House, Crown Books for Young Readers. But then the contract boilerplate was being revised, and it didn’t get finalized and signed until August 2016. Then began revisions! So. Many. Revisions.
A whole lot changed in the manuscript, culminating in an 80% rewrite over two months in early 2018.
Yeah, you heard right. Almost TWO YEARS of revisions with my editor. Oof. It just goes to show that sometimes things move fast and sometimes they move sllllloowwwwww. In the first half of 2018, they finally settled on what the publish date would be: January 7, 2020. We could have *maybe* made it into Fall 2019, but we still had to do line edits and copy edits, and ultimately they really wanted the ARCs to have the final cover design on it, so they pushed the publish date out just a bit farther. This was a long cry from the original aspiration “late 2017” publish date that my agent and I expected back when we sold the book. But life is long and most of it is outside of our control. In some ways, I felt held back and stunted by this drawn-out timeline, but that has more to do with the cultural obsession of achieving “success” ASAP. The book needed 2 years of revisions, and so that’s what it took.
Needless to say, however, I don’t want to repeat that timeline, if at all possible. So, at my editor’s suggestion, I’ve hired a lovely freelance editor to work with closely on the first and second draft of my next book under contract. In late 2018/early 2019, I got a pitch approved for my second book. I wrote the first draft between August 2019 and October 2019. Now I’m working on the second draft after some revisions planning with my freelance editor, and I’m aiming to go into the New Year with a plan to finish Draft 2 by the end of January. As of now, I’m 17% through the manuscript. It’s a totally different world than NAMELESS QUEEN, so it’s a lovely stretch in a different direction after spending *checks watch* over half of the decade working on a single book.
I’m swinging into the New Year with A LOT of determination and ambition. I can’t wait to share NAMELESS QUEEN with you, and I can’t wait to continue on this Author Journey. Books are a joy, and I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have a life where I get to write and share them with you!
Happy New Year’s Eve, my friends. And Happy 2020!
Holidays can bring family and joy and festivity, but it can also bring vacation time from day jobs and free time to yourself. This isn’t true for everyone every year. But when it is, *chef’s kiss*, it’s a beautiful time.
Here on December 28th, I’m in a wonderful position of being on vacation until the New Year. Not all of my friends, family, and coworkers are so lucky, and it wasn’t more than a couple years ago when I was a contractor still and didn’t get any paid vacation or holidays at all. So, I cherish this time! Time to be around family, sleep in, enjoy good food and company, panic about the 10-day countdown to my book’s release, and spend some quality time with the revisions of my second book.
I’m in yet another unique situation where I’m working on Draft 2 of my second book, but I’m doing so with a freelance editor—and we don’t have a deadline. This isn’t to say that I should (or could!) be taking my sweet time with it until the heat death of the universe. On the contrary, I am a self-starter in terms of deadlines, and I can’t abide a deadline-free life. That’s one of the reasons I have done National Novel Writing Month in the past, because it imposes a one-month, 50,000-word deadline.
But I also don’t want to run myself ragged in the week that I have to reboot before the start of 2020, when just as many things will be pulling me in just as many directions. January, my friends. January.
January itself heralds the release of my debut book, NAMELESS QUEEN, on the 7th of the month. It also marks the release of a project at my day job that I spent the last year on. It also will involve me going to places around lower Michigan to sign stock and indie bookstores, signing at least 500 copies of my book (FOR SECRET REASONS!), and pondering the fate of the new decade.
January. I will survive it. Everything will be fine.
What I’m really saying is that I believe in deadlines as a powerful form of motivation, and here are my deadlines for the end of this year, my “End of Year To Do list” prior to my “2020 TO DO LIST.”
END OF 2019 TO DO LIST
- Finish revisions to Chapters 1-3, and send them to my freelance editor, Ruth.
- Build my calendar for January 2020. (Dot journals are amazing!)
- Start revisions to Chapter 4-onward.
- Plan out my next two YouTube videos. (I have notoriously gotten to the Friday before the posting day and been like “Oh. Filming and editing. I should do that.”) I’m off for the holidays but want to be ready for next year!
It’s weird to be working on Draft 2 of Book 2 before my first book is published, but here we are! My first book, NAMELESS QUEEN, is out on January 7, 2020. And my second book is well underway in drafting! 🙂