While I don’t have a book to promote (yet), I’m so excited to be moving in that direction I couldn’t wait to put together my author website/blog! So here it is! Eventually, I’ll change out the ginormous photo of myself for the cover of my book, but for now, you’re stuck having me smile back at ya’ whenever you visit. My plan for this site is take you with me on this journey. As you can probably imagine, the road leading to publication can be long and sometimes the potholes are so deep it can be difficult to make yourself climb out of them.
Almost two years ago, at the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (MN SCBWI) annual fall conference, an editor from a large publishing house critiqued ten pages of a YA paranormal novel I had started writing. Critiques are always a little scary, but this particular editor had told me she hates YA paranormal – so going into the critique, I was more than a little nervous (I might have had a mild panic attack just before entering the room). As I sat across from her, sweating profusely and trying not to hyperventilate, she said something I wasn’t at all expecting. “I really like it. If you sent this to me, I’d read more.” If you know anything about editors, you know that’s a pretty big compliment. Unfortunately, I had only written those ten pages – there was literally nothing more for her to read. So, I got to work.
By the time the next MN SCBWI fall conference came around, I had a pretty good chunk of the story written. That year an agent critiqued the revised first ten pages and requested to see the finished product (whenever I got around to finishing it). After I’d revised my initial draft roughly 4 million times, I sent it to that agent – and only to that agent – figuring if she decided it wasn’t for her, I’d go down the long list of others I’d researched who might be a good fit for my freaky, little ghost story.
Luckily, I didn’t need the list! After I spoke to her, I was thrilled to realize she might actually love my story as much as I do! So she sent me a contract, which arrived in my mailbox the day before I flew to LA for the national SCBWI conference. I packed the envelope in my suitcase and hopped a plane to the West Coast where I danced around my hotel room, reading it over and over again before I finally sat down at the desk and had one of my roommates take a picture of me signing it.
I wanted to start my posts with that photo, because it was in that moment that I honestly felt kinda-sorta like a professional writer. The contract called me “the author” – so it must be official.
Unfortunately, I don’t have that picture…yet. I’m sure my friend will send it as soon as she’s not swamped, but I couldn’t stand to wait. I want to start sharing my awesome trip to getting published with you NOW – so my husband snapped a shot of me pretending to sign my contract. This isn’t actually the picture taken that exciting day in LA…it’s more of a tribute to that moment. But the smile is totally real, partially because I still get giddy when I hold my copy of the document and because I couldn’t stop saying “this is so cheesy” as I was posing for the recreation. I promise, when I get the real picture, I’ll share it. But until then, this one will have to do.