I have been working on my YA novel for the past five years. I have shared various versions of the book with close to fifty readers, give or take a few. This book almost went into the drawer with my first novel. Only this time the plan was to burn the drawer after I stuck the manuscript into it.
Well, the story, or rather the stories, behind finding the publisher for my book are long and unless you are a writer who is hoping to get her first book published, they’re probably not all that interesting. Still, I will probably share some of them in the weeks ahead. But as my nine-year-old friend, Amina, said to me when I was looking for a title for my book, “All stories have to have a moral. So, the title should connect to that moral.” Well, we are still looking for the right title for this book. We are close, but no chocolate cigar yet. However, the story of getting this book published does have a moral, several actually–Don’t give up! Don’t try and do it alone, and Have Faith, the right publisher for your book is out there.
I had this idea in mind of the kind of person I would want for my agent and she turned out to be my close and brilliant friend, Alexandra Soiseth. She not only answers my calls and returns my emails but she cares about my work as much as I do. Then there was my dream publisher. She’d be someone who will work with me and not against me. She’d be someone who answers my emails right away and who is as excited about my book as I am, and she’d have to be someone who loves to share stories about her family as much as I do. There she is Evelyn Fazio of WestSide Books. A press that is dedicated to young adult books about young adults with real stories. No vampires. Not that there is anything wrong with a good vampire story if you can find one, but a press that cares about content and making a difference in this life. I thought I was dreaming. Well, if I was and still am dreaming, then let me not wake up. This cynical writer who was ready to give up all faith is now a believer again. Every writer has the right to her own dream team, and if she can hold on long enough, she will find the right match for her and her book. When her arms get tired, just let those trusted and loyal readers in your writing group stand under you and support your weight for a while. If you don’t have a writing group that not only gives you honest but helpful feedback on your work and your life, find one. I can’t imagine finishing and revising and revising and revising without one.
Well, is this why I write? To be published? To be read? It’s part of it. A great part of it. But I also write because it’s what I do. It’s who I am. It’s who you are. So, keep doing it. Remember–it takes not just a village to write a book, but it takes a whole world. Fill your world with people who are honest and supportive and who will hold the faith when you can’t, and you will get your book written, published, and read.