Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Being on Submission - The Process

I’ve been very lucky to have an extremely short submission period, and I know a lot of you are interested in what actually happens when you go on submission. Here goes:

The Pitch – It all starts with the pitch. This is very much like a query letter, but your agent will prepare it and send it out to publishers. Some agents will pitch in person, but it’s not uncommon to pitch over the phone or by email. Your agent should have editors in mind for your book when she/he signs you and will pitch to 10 to 15 editors at a time.

The Manuscript Request – Based on the initial pitch a publisher will either pass or request to read your manuscript. The response time can take less than a day to a couple of weeks, depending on your project and how swamped the editor is. If it’s a pass, it’s not necessarily because of your manuscript. The publisher may have just bought something similar or might not have the budget to make an offer. If it’s a yes, your agent will send along the manuscript, your bio, a series synopsis when relevant, and any other information they think the editor will want to know about you. Again, response times vary; a publisher can get back to you the next day or after six months. Just like with an agent, a publisher may not want to sign your work as is, and may request a rewrite.

The Offer – Hopefully, after all your hard work, you won’t stay in submission limbo for too long. If all the answers are no, it’s back to the drawing board, either with a rewrite or a new project, but there are several ways that a publisher can say yes.

1)      The Pre-empt – If an editor absolutely has to have your book, they’ll make you a pre-empt offer. Usually you’ll speak with your agent before hand about how much money you’ll consider taking for a pre-empt, but of course other factors will come into the equation, like if you connect with the editor or if you want a big or small publisher. You are never under any obligation to take a pre-empt, but they’ll want to know your answer within a couple of days. Your agent may still even negotiate a bit with them to see if they can go up. The whole point is that a publisher will throw a bunch of money at you and snag you before anyone else can.
2)      The Offer – If you don’t get a pre-empt, don’t freak out. You can still get an offer, usually a reasonable amount. At this point your agent will email everyone who has requested the manuscript and let them know you’ve received an offer. It’s kind of like when your agent offered you representation. As soon as other publishers know you have an editor interested, it will light a fire under their butts to read your manuscript and make their own offers. This can happen with a pre-empt too. Just be aware that other publishers will then make offers not knowing what the original publisher offered. It’s just how it’s done.
3)      The Auction – If a bunch of publishers make offers (but none large enough for you to take as a pre-empt), then your book could go to auction. This is when your agent will start the bidding at a low amount (lower than any of the offers most likely) and do a round robin bid, calling each publisher in turn. Certain publishing houses will drop out when the bidding gets to high and you’ll eventually get a final figure. Here’s the thing, you are under no obligation to take this figure. If the second highest publisher has a kick-ass editor that you’re dying to work with, take a little less money and work with them!

You’ll always be able to speak with any editor that makes an offer, it’s important to know what their vision is for your work and what edits they think your manuscript needs.

Maria over at Harper was so enthusiastic about my book, I knew she would invest a lot of effort and resources into making it successful. I feel very lucky to be working with her!

Whew! I think that’s the longest post I’ve ever written! Any questions?

Monday, March 28, 2011

It’s Official!

I'm a Harper Teen girl!

Here’s the publicity statement for Publishers Weekly that’s running today in the deals column:

Rights sold for debut author Demitria Lunetta's IN THE AFTER, the first in a post-apocalyptic YA trilogy set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures. Seventeen-year-old Amy thinks that she and the toddler she rescued from a desolate grocery store are the only humans left alive-until they find refuge in a survivors' colony called New Hope. But as Amy is drawn deeper into its secrets, she comes to realize that all is not what it seems. And the dark truth she uncovers about this brutal new world will change everything.

Maria Gomez of Harper Teen acquired World English, in a pre-empt, from Katherine Boyle at Veritas Agency. Author Demitria Lunetta has resigned from her job as a receptionist to write full-time.

So pick up a PW on the newsstand today and check out Rachel Deahl's column. I’m going to buy like 20 copies. J They’ll also be another statement in Publishers Lunch on Wednesday.

I’m already working with Maria on a few edits for the first book and soon I’ll start on book number two.

Back Wednesday with a post about the submission process.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Books I Love – Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

After her father’s death, 16-year-old Hanna hitchhikes to Portero, Texas, the home of her mother, Rosalee, who abandoned her. Hanna is desperate for Rosalee to love and accept her, and Rosalee reluctantly makes a bargain: Hanna has two weeks to make friends and fit in at her school or she won't be allowed to stay. Hanna has never fit in anywhere, though. Struggling with manic depression, she hears voices and hallucinates, wears only purple dresses, and has a history of violence. Portero is no ordinary town, though, and Hanna learns that it is haunted by doors to other dimensions and plagued by dangerous creatures from those realms. Wyatt, a powerful young initiate in the Mortmaine, a demon-hunting organization, recruits Hanna, and together they struggle to deal with an ancient evil that threatens the town and Hanna’s future.

This book is majorly f***ed up…but in a good way. The main character is totally crazy cakes. Hanna’s father is dead, but still speaks to her and her mother doesn’t want anything to do with her. She also may or may not have killed her aunt when she ran away to find her mother. Um…to say she has faults is a bit of an understatement. Hanna makes decisions based on faulty reasoning…but who doesn’t? She knows she’s gorgeous and is really selfish, but is completely likeable because she is so very refreshing. There isn’t another main character like her out there.

There’s a lot going on in this book and you don’t know at first if the paranormal things are really happening or if they are a product of Hanna’s schizophrenic mind. I like this ambiguity, though it soon becomes apparent that Hanna isn’t just crazy…strange things happen to everyone in the town.

This book is for older teens, there is a lot of sex and violence, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hanna is confident, in her looks and her body (if not in her grasp on reality) and understands the power that some women hold over men. Her mother is an extremely sexual person as is Hanna. She’s not na├»ve or clueless, as so many teenage girls are portrayed. Just a warning, if you like your YA PG, this is more like PG-13.

Has anyone else read it? What did you think?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Submission Update: I Took the Offer!

After careful consideration last week, I decided to take the pre-empt offer! The publisher is working on a publicity statement for Publisher’s Weekly right now. I’ll post that next week. My agent wants me to wait until that comes out to make the “official” announcement but I am very pleased with my choice and my editor.

Back Friday with a Book I Love and next week with more on the submission process, and of course, the publicity statement announcing my publisher.

Can I just say…WooooooooooooooooooooWeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Whew, I think I needed to get that out of my system. J 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Books That Made Me Want to Write

Thank you all for being so supportive, I’ll definitely have more next week on my submission journey. Until then, I wanted to share some of the books that made me want to be a writer.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This is one of the first chapter books I ever read. I actually ended up reading it once a week for my entire third grade year. I was so intrigued by that world, and actually also adored The Magician’s Nephew one of the more overlooked Narnia books that tells the story of Narnia’s creation. This book gave me my love of reading.

Sabriel by Garth Nix – Whenever I think about this book, I get goose bumps. The world and the characters are so vivid, it makes you think of them as real. The idea of different levels of death and someone being able to control spirits through bells…how did Nix think this up? This book made me realize what I could achieve with my overactive imagination.

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer – I made myself read this book a chapter a day, not wanting it to end. The pacing is perfect. There is such a sense of place, Farmer meshes modern day Africa with a futuristic world. This book made me think of putting old ideas with new ones, folklore with the future.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I read this book in fifth grade…a little young for the subject matter, but I fell immediately in love. Although I was just a girl, and didn’t understand all the gender issues at the time, it spoke to me. The world Atwood created was so bleak, so dark, but I could just imagine our country going that route. This book made me understand the importance of believability, even in dystopian fiction.

Those are a few of the books that made me want to write…what about you guys?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Submission Update – I Got an Offer!

After a week of In the After being on submission, I’ve received a pre-empt offer. I am absolutely stunned. I’ll go into more details when everything is settled. I think I’m in shock right now. I’ll post more as soon as I regain my composure. J

Oh, and the giveaway winner is….M PAX! I’ll be emailing you shortly for your address. Congrats!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Books I Love – Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all.

I put off reading this book for a while, maybe because I wasn’t all that impressed with the cover (as much as I hate to admit this, I do judge a book by its cover.) I was glad I finally read it though, because I was completely blown away.

You really feel for Tamsin and her lack of “talent.” She lives in her older sister’s shadow…and their relationship is spot on. I’m an older sister and I saw a bit of my sister in Tamsin, just generally how a younger sister acts towards her older sister i.e. bratty. (Sorry Nyssa, you know I love you.) But Tamsin’s feelings are understandable, as her sister is one of the most talented witches in their family, while Tamsin has no talent at all.

I also liked the way the love story progressed, though I spent a bit of time thinking the love interest was her cousin as she calls his mom, aunt. (It is explained that they call any adult witch aunt or uncle.) The romance isn’t a love at first explosion of hormones, but rather a slower, get to know each other through a shared adventure romance.

I won’t give away the plot twist, but it’s very interesting, as are the connections MacCullough makes as her characters travel through time in order to save their family. Definitely a good read. I can’t wait for the sequel, Always a Witch which comes out August 1st.

See you Wednesday when I announce the winner of my Across the Universe giveaway.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Submission Update

On Tuesday my agent gave her pitch and after two full days, 12 publishers have requested to read my manuscript. It’s so strange, knowing that professionals in the publishing world actually have a copy of In the After and are considering it for publication.

It can take months for a publisher to make a decision, but I’m really hopeful. There seems to be a good response to the idea, and I’m extremely confident in the edits I did (with my agent’s suggestions) so the writing should hold up. Just don’t uncross those fingers yet, guys.

Back Monday with a book I love…unless I have better news to share. J

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First Giveaway Ever!

In honor of my book going on submission, my birthday last week, and just hoping for some good karma, I’m doing my first giveaway. I was lucky enough to win a copy of Beth Revis’ book Across the Universe. I also got a copy for my b-day, so I figured I’d pass one on to you.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

You all pretty much know the drill. You must be a follower and have a US address (sorry Euro-peeps). If you want to enter, comment below with either your email or blog address. If you want a double chance to win, mention the giveaway on your blog and leave that link in your comment. I’ll make sure you’re entered twice.

This giveaway closes Tuesday, March 15th at midnight and I’ll pick a winner at random to be announced on Wednesday, March 16th. Um…did I leave anything out?

Good luck guys!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fingers Crossed!

Tomorrow I will officially be on submission! That’s my big announcement. I started writing In the After last year just after my birthday, so it’s been almost exactly one year. The whole process has been amazing. It took me six months to write, two months to self-edit, one month to query, and three months to edit for my agent. Whoowee. Now we just have to sell the thing.

Submitting to publishers is a lot like finding an agent, except I won’t be the one in control, even though I’ll still be the one waiting. Here are a couple of things I’ll do so I don’t freak out.

1)      Finish writing a YA historical novel I’ve recently started. It takes place during the civil war, so I’m really going to dig into the research.
2)      Eat lots of sugar. Sugar helps you stay calm, right?
3)      Read, read, read. Nothing helps me relax like reading.
4)      Try not to email my agent every hour asking her what’s up with various publishers.
5)      Be positive. I’m usually quite the cynic, but I’m going to remain hopeful and send out good thoughts. I know, I know, the formerly cynical me would call myself a dork…feel free.

What about you guys? How do you deal with the stress that is waiting to hear back on a query/submission to a publisher?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Books I Love – Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.

Even though I loved this book, I have to admit that it’s not for everyone. First of all, it’s really long. There’s also a lot of explanation in the form of characters hypothesizing about time travel, origins of their planet’s biosphere, and other random sci-fi topics. The blurb doesn’t really do this book credit…yes, Rigg’s own path is the main plot point of the story, but there is also a secondary story (told in short scenes at the beginning of each chapter) that gives Pathfinder incredible depth.

If you’re a sci-fi geek (guilty) then you’ll be interested in Card’s take on time travel. He contends that if you see a future version of yourself who tells you not to pick a fight, then after you follow your future self’s advice, you don’t have to go back in time and warn yourself. You’ve changed your future and there’s no need to do what you already did in an alternate reality. Umm…yeah, a little confusing but a good read. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Also, if anyone wants to check out an aspiring author interview I did, you can find it here on Brad Jaeger's blog.

See you Monday with an announcement. I know, that sounds very ominous, but I'm just trying to build suspense J