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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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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