Tuesday, August 18, 2015

18 30 Ups and Downs of Publishing a Debut YA Novel PLUS a TALON by Julie Kagawa Giveaway

Nine months ago, I was still wide-eyed, expecting the release of COMPULSION in October, and waiting anxiously for THE BIG DAY. I've learned a lot in that year, a lot about gratitude, expectations, friendship, writing, readers, publicity, marketing, promotion, editing, deadlines, psyching yourself out . . .  I wish I'd known a lot of it when I started writing, so here's a half-way humorous look back! Enjoy!

1. Wait forrrrrreverrrrrrrr for your first book to be published. You’re done. You’ve arrived. You’ve achieved your dream. You’re a real, actual writer, right?

2. Walk around in a fugue-state (mostly induced by lack of sleep due to revisions and working on the second book on contract)

3. Wake up with cold sweats at least once a week, increasingly more convinced that your agent will call and shout April Fools! Why would you ever have been silly enough to think that someone would publish your book?

4. Explain to your friends and family about a thousand times a week that young adult novels are real books.

5. Decide whether to laugh or cry when your mother discovers The CW and calls to tell you that apparently YA is a THING.

6. Find out your book will be in Walmart and Target and make your arms black and blue from pinching yourself. Wake up having dreamed your book hits the best-seller lists. Feel guilty for even having had that thought. Bad writer. Baaaaad writer. Knock on every wooden surface in the house, because clearly you’ve jinxed yourself. Why would you ever have been silly enough to think that someone might buy your book?

7. Mark off the days on your calendar until publication day. Hold your book. Go to bookstores and pet it and sign it. You can’t even. But that’s it., now you’re done, right? You’ve achieved your dream. You’re arrived. You’re a really truly for-real writer. Right? Right? RIGHT?

8. Oh, wait. WAIT! Your book is out in the world. People are buying it. People are reading it. People are … gulp … reviewing it.

9. You check Amazon rankings and reviews obsessively. Obsessively. And don’t forget Goodreads. Good grief.

10. Have people say horrible things about your book. Decide you HATE being an author.

11. Have people say wonderful things about your book. Decide you LOVE being an author.

12. Learn that publication is only the beginning. And you’re behind the power curve. What’s a book festival? There are more appearances after launch?

13. Discover readers. Actual readers. People who write you or tweet at you or Facebook you to tell you that they liked/loved/lived your book. You want to adopt every one of them. Hug them and squeeze them and call them George.

14. Okay, not the last thing, but all the rest. So, so much!
Get busy and frantic and lose track of why you loved writing in the first place.

15. Oh, um. Except. You’re supposed to be finishing that second book!!?!!
Worry about sales and reviews and deadlines for the first book and realize how wonderful it was to write a first book without worrying about any of that.

16. Turn in the second book. YAY! You did it. You didn’t think you could, but you figured it out. Writing the first one wasn’t a fluke. You’re finally a real writer. Um. Probably.

17. Hold on. What if the book sucks? People are going to READ this book. Maybe. Or not. What if no one reads it? What if no one reviews it? What if no one BUYS it?

18. Hyperventilate. Die. Hyperventilate some more.

19. Get tired of explaining to your mother that you won’t have your royalty statement and really know how your book is doing for almost a year after the book was published. (Meanwhile you’re grateful, because why would you ever have been silly enough to think that someone would buy your book and isn’t it better not to know for sure that they didn’t?

20. Rediscover blogging. Reading craft books and posts. The joy of critiquing and mentoring other writers. Re-energize yourself in the process of paying it forward by helping people the way other authors helped and continue to help you.

21. Turn in the third book. OMG. Finally. Now you’re definitely a real writer. Positively. For sure. You can Do. This. Thing.

22. Except hold on. Now you’re done. What if you never have another good idea?

23. Finally put the second book to bed and fondle the Advance Reader Copy. See it listed up on Edelweiss. Hear someone say that it’s getting buzz. Hyperventilate some more. Pinch yourself because clearly it’s a dream. Or a nightmare. Or a delusion. Hyperventilate all over again.

24. Get edits from your agent and realize how lucky you are to have her. Hear all the questions and nuggets of wisdom from your editor in your head as you revise.

25. Get a note from your publisher and remember all over again why you love them.

26. Get a note from a reader who LOVED your second book and gets exactly what you meant to say. Someone who needed to hear that message. Someone who thanks you for writing the book.

27. Remember why you write. For readers.

28. Admit that you will probably never feel like a real writer. That every book is going to be a new adventure, its own learning curve, and that you will always be surprised and grateful for every reader. Not just, as your mother points out, because they bought your book, but because they are reading your words, allowing your characters to live and breathe, and make your worlds come alive.

29. Look up from revisions and realize the paperback reprint of your first book comes out that week and book two comes out in three months. How on earth did that happen? Freak out all over again. Just a little bit. Go back to revisions.

30. Wake up with a SHINY NEW IDEA. Send proposal to your agent. Rinse. Repeat.

Martina Boone is the author of the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island trilogy from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, including COMPULSION, described as Romeo and Juliet meets The Raven Boys meets Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen
Released 10/28/2014

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Purchase Talon at Amazon
Purchase Talon at IndieBound
View Talon on Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't forget there are lots of opportunities to win COMPULSION swag this month, plus an oak tree necklace and a chance to win a great tote back and any YA novel of your choice! Click on any of the links below. There are interviews and fun information there too!  : )

Happy reading and writing! Have a great week!



  1. Aah I love this ^^ Thanks for writing and posting!

    1. : ) I could add a lot more to this, trust me. : ) It's a wild ride, but a great one to be on!

  2. Hugs, Martina!! SO glad you made it!!

    1. LOL! I'm not sure whether either my sanity or my book has "made it" but we're here. I think the debut novel is always a case of "last man standing" -- Melissa Marr told me at an event that I did with her once that it was so cute to see all my newbie enthusiasm. :D -- Which basically meant she knew it was going to have to disappear in the face of panic. She's one of the people I respect most in this industry, and she also told me that publishing is a marathon and not a sprint. Which is so, so true. But you don't understand that fully on launch day. It sets in months later!

  3. This blog made me smile, Martina. Kudos and hugs and big CONGRATULATIONS on all!

    1. Thanks, lovely! I'll take that as a congrats on surviving, which is the biggest part of a debut.

      Sending you big hugs! Hope you are doing okay! I need to swing by your wonderful blog much more often--as soon as I'm off deadline! XO

  4. Great post! I'm just starting into the beginning of this list and it's so true...all the highs and lows! Gotta love it!

    1. Hi Shari, just keep your eye on the writing. Focus on that, because honestly, nothing else is in our control. Treasure the progress you make every day and the friends you find along the way! : ) They help to cushion the falls in the low periods!

  5. Martina, I'm bookmarking this post! I am ver early in the list and need to pace myself before my book is published next year! Just wonderful!

    1. Congrats on getting your book published! That's fantastic! Don't let anything that happens diminish that victory for you. Enjoy the process, breathe, and write the next book. I have to remind myself of that every. single. day. I'll keep an eye out for your book. Hugs!

  6. I love imaginative action scenes. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  8. I can like everything. From a real revelation that surprises me, to a thrilling action scene or a moving relationship one. Or funny scenes or raw ones.

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of an author life.

  9. I like action scenes that have me on the edge of my seat. I love it when I can't turn the pages fast enough

  10. Why did it take me so long to read this fab post! My bad. I read it with my hands up in the air screaming just like I do on Space Mountain at Disneyland.


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