Q01: Path to Pub

(This question is part of a larger subseries called Perpetual WIPs: Published Authors. For the remaining questions, see here.)

What kind of house were you published by, and can you tell us briefly how your deal came about?

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One of the agents I queried was one I’d sent previous work to, so she was already “on the lookout” for me. This was apparently the winning project (lesson: if at first you don’t succeed, write another book!). She shopped it, a bunch of houses were interested, and we had an auction. The winning bid was from one of the biggest houses on the planet.

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My publisher is a large imprint of a big-six house, and I love them like burning. The deal came about in a pretty straightforward way: Agent sends manuscript to select editors. Some editors are interested. Some are not. I spoke on the phone with the ones who were — and though they were all excellent people with big brains and great ideas, there was one that I connected with the most. She understood me, she understood my book, and she knew how to take what I was trying to do, and make it WORK. There’s a long, business-y part of this story too, which involves money and offers and whatever, but the important part is, Awesome Editor ended up buying my book. I am the luckiest ever.

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I’m published through a smaller publisher that is growing bigger by the day. I heard about them, saw their books were beautiful and sent a query. Then I crossed all my fingers and toes and hoped they’d want my book. A couple months later, they offered me a contract, and I squeed and jumped around. My life’s been different ever since, in the best way possible.

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I have been published by two different “Big 6” publishers, in two different genres. My deal came about from placing in a writing contest and getting an offer from an editor even though I didn’t win. With that offer I approached agents and found my current agent.

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I write YA and adult fantasy.  My first two YA were published by Crown/Knopf/Random House (CITY IN THE LAKE and THE FLOATING ISLANDS) and my first four adult fantasy by Orbit/Hachette (The Griffin Mage trilogy and HOUSE OF SHADOWS).  The trick was in getting an agent; after that my agent did the heavy lifting!  I know that my path to publication was shorter than some; I sent queries to twelve agents; one asked for a full and then asked for revisions and then agreed to represent me.  Two months later she was negotiating contract details and I was walking on clouds for the rest of the year.

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My publisher is in the “big six” and my agent sold in a two book deal/preempt.

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I’m published by one of the Big 6. At the time, my agency was sending out a newsletter featuring ms ready for submission and included the pitch for mine. My agent got a number of requests from editors interested in reading it, and a week later, we received a major pre-empt offer from my publisher. I got to talk to two different editors within the house and choose which one I wanted to work with.

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I write about education in addition to writing fiction. One day I was at an education conference, and was blown away by the keynote speaker, who was a renowned expert in his field and published author. I plucked up courage to talk to him, and he couldn’t have been more encouraging. We chatted and exchanged contact details, and I gave him a sample of my work.

Fast-forward several months, to a Friday night, and I’d been out with friends, who’d been asking me about getting published. I told them that realistically, I didn’t expect it to happen for a long while, if at all. Then, as I walked in my front door, the phone was ringing. I answered, and this guy on the other end started talking about my writing, and how he might want to publish my work.

I was convinced that this was my friend’s boyfriend making a prank call, and that my friends were all listening in and giggling. So I kept the conversation going with some very sarcastic answers. Finally, after several very weird exchanges, he said something that my friends would never have known and I realized that it really was a publisher asking if he could publish my first book!

Years later, I plucked up courage to ask him what he’d thought of our first conversation. He remembered it clearly, and thought it was all very odd. Thank goodness I didn’t hang up on him!

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