How did CWILL BC members get their first big breaks in the publishing world? In this series of interviews with local writers and illustrators, we ask what advice they would offer and what mistakes they would never repeat — an inside look at the publishing process, from the creators’ point of view. Please feel free to tell your own publishing tales in the comments section below.
Did you have a mentor in the publishing world, or did you do it all on your own?
When I first decided to write a novel (Raging River), I checked out several books from the library on how to write a novel. They helped, though I wish I’d known from the start about the one I use and recommend most now: Heroes’ Two Journeys.
How did you find your publisher/agent?
A friend of a friend recommended my agent, who found my first publisher after nine rejections over a three-year period.
How did you handle early rejections?
Unlike many unpublished authors, I had worked in the publishing industry, so I was well aware that rejection was just part of the business, not something to take personally.
Is there a publishing mistake you would never repeat?
When my first book was accepted (but its contract not yet issued and signed), my family and I all went out for a fancy dinner to celebrate. The next week, I got a call saying the publisher had decided not to publish my book. I happened to get that call while cleaning out my desk at my day-job, from which I’d just been laid off. It took several months for the manuscript to place at a new publisher. By then, I’d learned a lesson I’ve always stuck with since: Never celebrate until the contract has been signed!
What project are you most excited about at the moment?
I’ve taken the past year to co-author a book for parents with my sister on getting pre-teen and teen boys to read (Jumpstarting Boys). It will be out fall of 2013 with Viva Editions of San Francisco. Now I’m back to young adult novels.