RTW – How far would you go to get published?

Today for Road Trip Wednesday, YA Highway is asking, How far would you go to get published? In my case, I’d have to answer the question How far did you go to get published? since I’m already published and have been for 13 years.

Along with the blog prompt, the RTW post shows the graphic here of a baseball field on which is represented four escalating options for how far a writer would go to get published.

I’m here to say that getting every one of my 18 books published has always required a trip to home plate. While I haven’t chased a trend (first base), and not all my books were agented and so did not include agent feedback (second base), while I wrote and published romance, my editor always put in his or her two cents (and sometimes a whole dollar) before the book was ready to be published. I learned to go with the flow (except for my dirty little secret below) and make those changes that would improve the book.

Then came Tankborn. Young adult wasn’t the big hot new thing when I started writing Tankborn, or if it was, I didn’t know that fact. All I knew was that I wrote five proposals for my romance editor (each one comprising three chapters and a detailed synopsis) and he turned down every one. I was starting to think that maybe it was time for a genre and market change. YA science fiction sounded like just the ticket.

So maybe I hit a double and I went straight to second base. Once I wrote, edited and polished the manuscript for Tankborn, I went on the agent hunt. Thirty agents and four months later, I signed with my agent and it was time for that mad run to third base. My agent wanted some fairly extensive changes, much of it cutting back on the “throat clearing” in the opening chapters.

So now I’m done, right? That sucker must be polished so shiny, it’ll put your eyes out looking at it, huh? Um, no. Because I’m still stranded on third base. I need to make one last all-out run to home plate.

My agents submitted Tankborn, and Lee and Low bought it for their new Tu Books imprint. I galloped toward home, along the way performing one, two, three major revisions (luckily three strikes and you’re out did not apply). Maybe I should have scored three runs during that process. Instead I got the MVP award of seeing my book in print.

Let me tell you the little secret about all those revisions that I alluded to above. When I receive my agent/editor notes, I don’t bounce around saying, Thank you, thank you, thank you. Well, sometimes I do when they point out something that makes a light bulb come on and I realize, Doh, that’s why that part wasn’t working.

But usually my response is (a) sheer terror that I won’t know how to fix the problem, (b) anger that they have a problem with what I’ve written, or (c) a sense of being totally overwhelmed by the amount of work required to make the change. It’s kind of the stages of grief, I guess. I’ll often let myself wallow in those emotions for a few minutes.

Then I’ll put on my big girl panties and start working.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
This entry was posted in Books, Strongly Held Beliefs, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to RTW – How far would you go to get published?

  1. Yup, it’s like we’ve been saying on comments about this topic. Revisions are a big part of publishing. You just can’t run away from them.
    Thanks for sharing your secret πŸ˜‰

  2. Miss Cole says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences πŸ™‚

  3. Colin Smith says:

    It’s great to hear from someone who’s “been-there-done-that” on this topic. Many of us are speculating, so I appreciate the voice of experience. I think we can all take note of what you say, particularly the fact that your genre switch was something *you* initiated, not your agent or editor. And that you were prepared to go with a different agent for that novel, rather than write something your current agent would accept, is also very instructive. Thanks!

  4. Angelica says:

    Only let yourself wallow in it for a “few minutes”? I take longer to process all the suggestions (and part of that processing is grieving for the sections where I have to let go of some favorite words) so I admire you for skipping some wallowing and going to the work part.

  5. karensandler says:

    I guess it’s experience that has shortened my reaction time to an editor’s notes. Even when I’m panicking that I can’t possibly fix something, deadlines require I just sit down to do the work and worry about how later.

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