I’m not sure how to write a blog post like this. I’ve never written about getting a book deal before.
[Update: I am now on my third try. Coherence, where are you?]
So, amazing things have been happening to me this year–and we’re only in February.
Maybe it’ll be easier if I cut right to the chase…my amazing agent, Mary Kole, sold my debut YA novel, THROUGH TO YOU, to Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins for publication in Fall 2012. I doubt I need to say this is one of the most amazing things that has happened to me. EVER! I couldn’t be more elated, thrilled, terrified, excited, and over-the-bright-and-beautiful moon!
Despite combing through message boards, blog entries, vlogs, you name it…nothing could have prepared me for this. I don’t think the emotion that goes along with selling your first book ever makes it intact to the public. Because it looks like this: (O_O), and it sounds like this: “!!!!!!!!!!!”
And yet here it is (from the Publishers Marketplace announcement):
Emily Hainsworth’s debut THROUGH TO YOU, about a grieving teen who discovers a parallel world where his girlfriend is still alive, only she’s harboring some dangerous secrets, and the devastating choices he must make, and a second, untitled book, to Alessandra Balzer at Balzer & Bray, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, at auction, for publication in Fall 2012, by Mary Kole at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (NA).
Foreign: Taryn Fagerness firstname.lastname@example.org
After four years of writing, revising, and endless queries, I had myself convinced I’d never get an AGENT, let alone an EDITOR. Now it’s like a mini-riot inside my head: all the OLD thoughts I’ve grown used to–maybe someday, I’ll try harder, I can do this, one day–versus the NEW thoughts–I am going to be a published author, my book will be in stores, I hope people like it, OMG THIS IS REAL!
It’s that last thought I am having a hard time with. I keep experiencing these earth-shaking reality checks. Yesterday, while reading a friend’s blog entry about receiving her first edit letter, I found myself wistfully taking in her account of how daunting and exciting the edits were. I thought…wow, that would be so scary and cool…but then I caught myself and realized that WILL be scary and cool, and it’s going to happen to me SHORTLY.
I walk into book stores, but they are no longer just places where I buy other people’s books…MY book will be on the same shelves with people I admire and respect. My book. The one I wrote mostly between 10pm and 2am, falling asleep on the keys surrounded by coffee mugs and candy wrappers. The one I pitched half-heartedly to my invaluable critique partner, Courtney Summers, one night over a couple of direct messages on Twitter after giving up on my last novel:
“Ok so this never happens, but I have a title: THROUGH TO YOU. But I think my MC is a guy, and that makes me sooo uncomfortable/unsure. Idk. Think his name’s gonna be Camden. His gf recently died, but then he sees this girl (who isn’t his gf) he thinks is a ghost, except she’s not a ghost, but in another dimension, and she needs something from him but I have no idea what yet…but he’s just hoping his gf might be in another dimension and not dead?”
What shocks me now, after months of writing and revision, is that these lines still describe exactly how the novel starts. But thank you, Courtney, because her response to me that night was: “WRITE THAT.”
So I wrote it–with one agent specifically in mind the whole time: Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I knew this was foolish…but Mary had given me insightful feedback on my first novel and I just had a good feeling. I took writing THROUGH TO YOU as a challenge to impress her, and to (hopefully) take my writing to a new level along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I did send other queries…but when Mary read the manuscript, she LOVED it and offered representation: [insert dreams coming true].
Actually, make that: [INSERT MORE THAN MY WILDEST DREAMS COMING TRUE].
Agent-Extraordinaire-Mary sent THROUGH TO YOU out on submission Friday, January 14th, and by the following Friday (one week later) we had our first offer — with more to come. The next week was a haze of editor phone calls worked in around my day job, pet grooming…I’m not sure how I managed to cut dog hair straight that week, but none of my clients received an accidental mohawk the way my critique partner Tiffany Schmidt teased. That Wednesday the 26th, Mary called to tell me Taryn Fagerness of The Taryn Fagerness Agency had already sold TTY in a pre-empt to Germany (Oh Mein Gott!). And finally, Monday, January 31st, Mary sat down to auction off my book in the U.S. while I sat down to bite my nails. The next day, February 1st, we accepted a two-book deal from the fabulous Alessandra Balzer of Balzer+Bray / HarperCollins, and THROUGH TO YOU will be published in Fall 2012!
So that’s my MY BOOK SOLD story! And yes…I still expect to wake up tomorrow and discover it was a dream. But I have to admit the moments when I realize IT’S REAL all over again are pretty cool. So I’ll keep re-reading emails that make me smile, and pinching myself while I await my own edits, and pointing little things out to my very patient husband to try to make it all seem real. Things like, LOOK! THIS! WILL BE ON THE SPINE OF MY BOOK:
BONUS! Read Mary Kole’s own account of the sale HERE.