Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Path to Publication

Just read Jessica Shea Spotswood's blog about her path to publication, and I agree! I love hearing people's stories about getting published too! So I thought I'd share mine--important dates in bold if you're in a skimming mood ;)
  • Spring Semester 2010: amorphous period where I start planning out Glitch. My last novel has just been rejected by enough agents, even ones who'd read the manuscript, that I figure it is time to move on with a new project. I'd always wanted to write a dystopia since I read and LOVED 1984 in high school, so I sit down and write out my favorite elements of dystopias and think about what my ultimate imaginary dystopic future might look like.
  • Chatting with computer science-y husband, and he brings up this article he'd just read in Popular Science. Ideas about implanted computer bits in humans start germinating.
  • Came up with the love interest hook and start falling in love with my characters and story For Serious.
  • June 2010: exhaustion from previous semester and some life things prevent actual starting of book. Instead, complete scenes play out over and over in my head, mostly at night when I am trying to fall asleep!
  • July 2010: FINALLY! Time and energy to write! I take after it like gang-busters and have a first draft by August 1st.
  • First week of August: edit non-stop for a very intense week, and start querying, probably before I should have, but oh well, I have the patience of a gnat!
  • August: get lots of requests from agents to read the manuscript! yay! and then:
  • Sept. 15 2010: Charlie Olsen of Inkwell Management emails saying he'd read the first third of my book and was loving it and would like to set up a phone call with me!! An actual phone call! with an agent! just like I heard about with others authors but had never happened with the two other books I'd queried. I still remember the coffeeshop chair I was sitting in when I got that email. After trying for YEARS to be a writer, I had my first indication that the impossible dream might be actually possible!
  • The next Monday: we talk on the phone, and I am a lot less nervous than I thought I'd be, even though Charlie is less excited about the second half of the book, parts where it dragged. We talk potential edits, he mentions what he'd like to see, maybe some scenes to add, and I am super stoked, because not only was I talking to an ACTUAL AGENT, but he really GETS the feel of the book, and all of his ideas are totally in sync with what I want the book to be.
  • Rest of September: Heather goes into Crazy Edit & Rewrite Mode.
  • Mid-October: I send in the edited manuscript, and Charlie asks for Outlines of Book II and III in the intended trilogy. I say 'sure!' then sit down and try to figure out how the hell to write an outline ;)
  • October 27th: Another phone call! Offer of representation! Giddy jumping up and down! I have an agent!!!
  • November: More edits. We decide to wait to submit to editors till after the holidays.
  • January 15, 2011: Book goes on submission!!!!
  • January 15th-26th: Absolute worst ten days of my life. A few editors pass. I am sure I am DOOMED TO ABYSMAL FAILURE, HOW COULD I HAVE DELUDED MYSELF INTO BELIEVING I COULD BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR? OH GOD, WHAT DO I WRITE NEXT? I THOUGHT MY BOOK WAS GOOD BUT NOW I'M SURE IT'S A STEAMING PILE OF SH---- then I get a call from my agent. We have an offer!
  • January 26th: Omg, an offer! From a super awesome publishing house, a 3-book deal! And not just any house, but St. Martin's Press! A publishing house that I have not only heard of, but one that publishes some books I've loved, that are sitting on my shelves RIGHT NOW! Squeeeee!
  • Feb 1st: Deal is official. Holy shit, I'm going to be a published author, slated for Sp/Su 2012. I walk around in a daze smiling so much my mouth hurts by the end of the day.
  • 2nd week of February: Magical foreign rights agent at Inkwell, Lyndsey Blessing, solidifies deals for Glitch trilogy in Germany and France!! OMG!
  • Feb. 10th: first call with my editor from St. Martin's, Terra Layton. She is AWESOME and so excited about my book! We talk for an hour about the edits and the process and I feel so lucky to have gotten such a rocking editor!


  1. Thanks for sharing your story-- and wow, your journey sure happened fast! I love hearing publishing journeys from other writers.

  2. Awesome story! Can't wait to read GLITCH!

  3. I LOVE reading people's publishing stories! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I do love reading writers' pub journeys. I've been meaning to post my own. *must get on that*

    And congrats on those foreign deals! :D

  5. Ah! I love this!
    Especially when you go all gangbusters :)

  6. Huge congrats, Heather! Having had my first contact with the fabulous Charlie on the day you talked to your editor for the first time, I'm hoping I can do a blog post like this sometime in the near (or even not-so-near future). :)