Many of you out there in blog world might like to know what it’s been like for me “post-sale” of the novel formerly known as SING TO THE WIND (we’ll get to this point shortly.)
Let’s see if I can recap.
I received an e-mail offer late September.
Agent took a week or so negotiating.
Once we’d arrived at a yes, the announcement was scheduled for Publisher’s Marketplace and I was able to blab to the world.
That, of course, was all very exciting and my social media world was abuzz for a few days. When it died down, I felt lucky I was working on another book.
Because the next phase was:
Seriously. I waited and waited, and kept myself locked into the new world I’d created and then, damn, I finished that book, too. And still no edit letter.
So I started brainstorming ANOTHER book. And around the same time, I asked my agent if she might nudge my editor and I got word that it would most likely be March before I got the edit letter.
In the meantime, I joined two group blogs of other 2014 debut kidlit authors, OneFour Kidlit and The YA Valentines. Both have been tremendous resources for stumbling blindly through the path to publication with fellow authors. Since my book was shifted from summer of 2014 to fall of 2014, there are many writers boldly paving the path ahead of me. Phases I’ve not yet entered like copy edits, and cover designers, and first pass pages are being tackled by winter 2014 authors already. It’s like a how-to book for newbies!
Okay. Back to March. The days rolled by and still no edit letter. I got 5k into a SEKRIT MG project (errr, yeah, my agent doesn’t do MG) and finally, on March 30th, the letter arrived via e-mail.
My editor and I had discussed much of what she wanted changed before the offer, but it’d been so long. Six months, in fact. I don’t know, I sort of thought maybe she’d decided it was perfect the way it was. Uh. No.
And the title. The wise folks at Harper Collins decided SING TO THE WIND sounded too young for my audience. My editor had a list of title ideas in the letter and that was its own delightful little mind blow.
A few days after that, I received my marked up manuscript in the mail - old-school style. Hand-written notes for page after page after page. I wanted to vomit. How was I going to pull this off? Don’t get me wrong, it was THRILLING to get this package and I LOVED the old school nature of it, but really, all these changes? In two months time?
Well, I tackled it the only way you can tackle anything daunting. One bite at a time. My editor and I brainstormed back and forth via e-mail on a few issues and I dove in.
Major changes included, losing a subplot (relatively easy), recasting a character in a different role (a bit more challenging), and finding bigger stakes/motivation behind the mistake my protagonist makes in the second half of the book (super challenging). Along with the big picture changes were smaller sentence level changes, refinements, and additions of certain types of scenes.
And now, it’s done. Well, done for now. I’ve sent it to my agent for a read and then will send it to my editor and we’ll go through it again. The only date I know is set in stone, is September 1st. That’s when the manuscript is due to the copy editor.
Okay, back to the title. I must admit. I was a bit attached to Sing to the Wind. It’s a phrase from the last line in the book. It was my subtle nod to Margaret Mitchell. It’s what the book’s been titled since early on (it was known briefly as Through Hikers, and jokingly as the Hillbilly Slut book) so it was hard to wrap my head around a new title. At first No Place to Fall seemed so generic, but after polling my students and OneFour Kidlit folks, it seemed stronger. My students all said they’d pick a book with that title up (I gave them a choice of 3), other YA authors thought it sounded right for the age group, and most importantly, the team at Harper was behind it.
SING TO THE WIND officially became NO PLACE TO FALL in early May. Which was also the time I got to answer an e-mail about my cover ideas!
So bring on the next phase!
And I’ll try to keep you posted!