How procrastination can lead to a book deal. No, really.

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Jan 27, 2011 Under writing, Young Adult

So, some of you may remember that I mentioned my book deal was a bit atypical, and that I promised to share a few deets about how it all went down.

This is that post.

I would like to start by saying that I owe a lot to Absolute Write. If it weren’t for that forum, I never would have procrastinated connected with so many writer friends, and without those writer friends, I might never have attended SCBWI last summer. See, the main reason I went was to meet all my fellow Young Adult writers from the boards in person and terrorize socialize with them in the flesh. Or, you know, in clothing.

So, I went to SCBWI. One of my roommates happened to be Veronica Roth, whose amazing, fabulous book Divergent had recently been picked up by Katherine Tegen Books at Harper Collins. (Shout out to the rest of my roomies Corrine JacksonSteph Kuehn and Dawn Miller:  you know I love you, naked or not.  Also…suddenly thinking it’s going to be harder to find roommates this year.  Hmmm.)   Another friend Kathleen Peacock (also a KT Books author–the awesome Hemlock comes out in 2012) couldn’t attend and was bemoaning that fact—apparently, L.A. just isn’t all that handy to Canada—because her editor Claudia Gabel would be there.

So me being the sweet, thoughtful kind of girl I am (snicker), I decided what better way to torture Kath show Kath she was dearly missed than take a photo with her editor and send it to her?

But I still almost missed Claudia’s session. Why?  Because her session was about “book development,” a concept that was completely foreign to me at that point in time. (Ironically, my group blog GotYA did a post on that very topic a day before I left for SCBWI, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until I came back). Veronica wanted to attend Claudia’s session, though, so I tagged along. Best call of the entire trip  (Well, except for the Wham! Medley on the Santa Monica pier. And learning naughty words via urban dictionary. Ahem.)

Anyway. The more Claudia talked, the more I sat up and listened.  First of all, she’s so bubbly and enthusiastic, you can’t help but give her your full attention. And second of all–WHOA! Was she saying that you could get paid to write books and actually have an editor guide you through the entire process?  REALLY?  Holy cow, how had I never heard of this before?

When I saw my agent at the conference, I asked her if I could send Claudia a writing sample, and she said if I was interested, to go for it.

About a month later, I did.  And then afterwards, promptly forgot about sending in the sample due to the vast chaos that is my life/house/brain.

Just before Thanksgiving, I was reminded by an email from Claudia. It said she had a new project that might be a good fit for me, and would I be interested in writing some sample scenes?

I was a little worried before I opened the proposal—I mean, what if I just didn’t get it, or it was outside my range, or, or, or—but all my worries turned into excitement as I read. The concept was right up my alley and I found myself picturing scenes and getting into the main character’s head almost immediately.

So I double-checked with my agent, got the okay, and wrote the scenes. I turned them in two weeks later and Claudia said to expect to hear from her the following week, at which point time started crawling along at the pace of a geriatric snail, just to ensure that I got to log in some good quality hours with my angst.  Thank you for that, time. No really. Because, you know, writers aren’t nearly angsty enough as it is.

Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting Claudia to get back to me so quickly. I’m sure we’ve all heard how editor time is like dog years, only reversed.  My expectation was, maybe, if I were REALLY lucky, to hear something early 2011.

Guess what?  Not only did Claudia get back to me that next week, but, oh-my-God, she also told me she loved my scenes!  After that, things moved really fast. By the following week, I had an offer to write the series. SQUEEE!

And after holding my hand throughout the process and letting her ears get drenched in angst, Taylor negotiated the deets.

So, there you have it—my book deal. Which, when I imagined it, totally wasn’t how I expected everything to go down, but really, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I can’t tell you how in love I am with the concept I’m writing, not to mention the characters!  And it probably wouldn’t have happened without procrastinationAbsolute Write, so thank you, AW!  (And Kath and Vee in particular. See, Kath, aren’t you glad I sent you that photo now? Um, wait. Don’t answer that.)

And, just because:

Kath, where are youuuuu....????

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