Monday, October 17, 2011

My journey to publication (Part 2)

Continuing with my story...

I sent Heather Howland (Managing Editor with Entangled) a query at like 9 p.m. one night. An hour later she requested the full. Two days later she requested a call. A week later I had a contract. A CONTRACT!! I spoke with Heather twice during this process and both calls were awesome. She "got" my book. She loved my book. Finally, I was dealing with someone who really understood what I put into this MS. It wasn’t enough for the book to be fiction. It had to have a merit of scientific theory behind my story. I researched to death to make sure everything from hyperspaces to blows to the gut read as realistically as possible.

Now of course, it wasn't all lollipops and candy canes. She wanted a deep revision, very, very deep. The kind of revision that makes certain writers run away, but not me. I agreed 100% with what she wanted from the book and made the decision that day that I would sign with Entangled.

Why? Because I get 40% of cover price for e-books and let’s face it, the trend is moving there whether we like it or not, plus a simultaneous print release. Because their editorial process is amazingly thorough and thought-out based upon each book. Because they push hard for foreign sales and have already sold tons. Because their marketing plan for each book is sickly aggressive. Because on day one, I received an email from my publicist, which does not even come out for another year. And finally, because the authors in the Entangled circle are a unit. They support each other throughout the entire process. Sure some of these things you can find with a Big 6. But let’s say your debut isn’t a high profile, large advance book. Will you still receive all the above? Maybe. I don’t know, obviously. I’ve never signed with a Big 6. Though, I’ve read enough to make me pause and think through the decision of whether I wanted to risk it.

Now all that sounds great, right? Well there was a complication -- I still had fulls out with agents and had a call already scheduled with one of them. I gave the agents reading two weeks to make a decision and by the Friday before I had to fax my contract to Entangled, I had multiple offers. The thing is, I didn't have the connection with any of them that I did with Heather. They were all lovely, all thoughtful, and all would make fantastic agents for any lucky writer, but for me, I knew I had to be 100% sure. I was confident, after all, that I wanted to work with Entangled. I needed that same level of sureness to sign with an agent, and I didn't have it.

So I made a very scary decision that brought lots of tears and stress -- I turned down the agent offers.

This isn't to say I will NEVER sign with an agent. If I spoke with the right agent and everything felt right, I would sign. I think the right agent can do amazing things for your career. But it isn't something to go into lightly. Don't sign with the first person that offers. Make sure you have no doubts, and trust yourself.

So that's my journey and how and why I made the decision to sign with Entangled. My book will not come out until next year and already I have had countless emails/calls from my editor, countless emails from my publicist, and everyone seems so excited. It is a very supportive environment. I have no regrets. I'm a businessperson, after all, and business is about making a decision, sticking with it, and following through personally to make sure the decision is the right one. I will not be standing on the sideline during this process. I am still the main publicist for my book and intend to make sure I do my job well. :o)

Now, to circle back to the personal bit -- as this book would not exist without my father bugging the hell out of me, I will be donating 10% of my earnings from this series (please note that says MY earnings, not total dollars received by my publisher) to the American Cancer Society.

And that's it folks. Feel free to ask any questions you have.

M.B.

* P.S. Please note, Entangled is not an e-publisher. They are a print publisher all the way.

8 comments:

  1. Whoo hoo for the double post! :-) ...Your hard work/dedication is seriously so inspiring! And I'm not embarrassed to admit that I teared up at your plan re: the American Cancer Society. Such a fabulous idea.

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  2. Thanks, Laura! You know you will have a special place on my acknowledgements page. Three cheers for amazing crit partners!

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  3. Congratulations! And thanks so much for sharing your story. For sure, a lot of hard work went into it all first :-)

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  4. Thanks for sharing your story. I love it when I see writers trusting their gut and doing what feels right. You are so right about agents. You want to be able to find the right partner but it seems like you found it with your publisher!

    Congratulations and continue to keep trusting yourself!

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  5. Yet again, so excited for you. And so happy to have you as a fellow Entangled YA author! ♥

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  6. Kenda -- Thanks! It has been a rollercoaster ride!

    Karen -- Thank you and thanks for all your wonderful advice along the way.

    Kelley -- :) Thanks for letting me bug you to death during the process!

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  7. Wow. Thanks for sharing your journey. Can't wait to read Gravity. I remember reading the announcement in PW. Your father must be so proud.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by, June! He is excited indeed. :)

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