Monday, October 5, 2015

The Story Behind the Sale

Okay, so you may have seen my Facebook post last week about a new book deal. It went something like this: So I sold two YA novels to Jolly Fish Press! RIFT will be out in the fall next year, and MEND in the Spring of 2017. ‪#‎booknews‬ ‪#‎JFP‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬ ‪#‎RiftWalkersseries‬ 

You can read the entire press release here.



Yes, I'm super-excited about it. I can't wait to see the awesome cover JFP will make, and hold the book in my hands. That's all awesome.

But really, you want to know which emotion was the most prevalent when I signed the contract? Relief. I think I probably wept.

See, this book has A Story, as most do. And this Story was HARD. And I wanted to quit about a million times, and no one ever gets to read That Story. I'll make it brief.

So I started writing this YA time travel novel at the end of 2011. I must've been certifiably insane. Because who writes a time travel novel? Oh, yes, someone who enjoys torture. Apparently, that's me.

I had an agent, and she liked the premise. So we revised. And revised. And revised. We gave the shiny new manuscript to my editor at Simon & Schuster.

And they said no.

I broke up with that agent, and decided a few months later to query using RIFT. Success! I got another agent with the manuscript. She wanted revisions. Times two.

Once those were done, we went out on submission. Lots of bites. Lots of rejections. Some close calls.

No offers.

I didn't quite know what "it" was in the book that didn't work for people. There had to be something, though, you know?

I broke up with Agent #2, and sat on RIFT. I thought it was a good book. Both of my agents thought so too. So I decided to submit to smaller houses myself. And I got an offer. I wasn't super-satisfied with the house, so I kept it in my back pocket while I continued to explore.

At this time, I was unagented and writing in another genre. I'd self-published some of my work -- I still do. But a time travel novel? No way I was self-pubbing that. I really wanted to have a clever, savvy editor for it, because again, I felt like it was missing something.

I had my finger on the pulse of all the query contests, the Pitch Wars, etc. I had created a dedicated column in my Tweetdeck just for #MSWL.

And that's when I saw this tweet:



And I thought, I have a time travel novel. Could be a good fit. So I went to Jolly Fish Press's website, and I liked what I saw. I should! They're right here in Utah, and I've sat on panels with the owner, Christopher! I don't know why I didn't think to submit to them.

But based on that #MSWL tweet and my research, I did. A few days later, they requested the full manuscript.

And just a few days after that, I got this tweet:



It took about another month to get the official offer, and bit more time to get things going from there. By the time I signed the contract, I just wanted the heck off this RIFT Rollercoaster. So many ups and downs and yeah. The tears. They were of relief that I didn't have to keep riding.

And now you'll get to read RIFT next fall! And now I have to write ANOTHER FREAKING TIME TRAVEL NOVEL. What was I thinking? Ha! Thankfully, I started on MEND during NaNo in 2013, so I have about 55,000 words. They might all need to be deleted and rewritten, but whatever.

And that's The Story. I know I'm not the only one on this crazy writing, querying, submitting, publishing roller coaster. How's your journey going? 

14 comments:

Emily White said...

That is so awesome, Elana! Congratulations! And I completely agree with the tweet. Time travel novels, when done right, ARE absolutely awesome. I can't wait to read yours!

Natalie Aguirre said...

So happy for you, Elana! You have persisted with all your ups and downs. Right now I have a non-fiction for attorney website job where I write 15 articles a week. Between that and my blog, it's enough writing for me for now. I'll see if I pick up the creative writing again later.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Congratulations, Elana! I am thrilled with you ~ and as always you demonstrate the power of persistence. (And the ups and downs of this whole business. But no matter how many downs there are, one UP makes it all worthwhile.)

Me -- I'm coming to the end of my contracted series and thinking, What next? I don't want to talk about what's on sub and proposals for options and other things we're not supposed to talk about.

Right now, I wish I was working on a new story I loved, instead of this one that I've fallen SO out of love with (despite my CPs begging me for more). In FACT I've been ignoring my WIP while I do some brainstorming and pre-writing for an idea that, as of yet, has not coalesced into an actual story.

I want to fall in love.

Angela Brown said...

Sometimes the story behind The Story can be enough to publish it on its own lol!

I'm very happy for you and wish you the best as you continue on your publishing journey. I've enjoyed what you've written so far and I'm looking forward to what RIFT will bring.

As for myself, I blogged today about my recent contract signings as well. This writing life is a roller coaster, filled with highs and lows. It's the rises and falls that add the drama to it all as well.

Stephsco said...

Thanks for sharing! You offer a lot of insight on the process too. First, that parting with an agent (or two) is not the end of the world. Also that self-pubbing is great, but maybe not great for every project. And just because you get an offer, doesn't mean it will work for you or that project. You are clearly looking long term at your career. I appreciate your insight!

Stephsco said...

Thanks for sharing! You offer a lot of insight on the process too. First, that parting with an agent (or two) is not the end of the world. Also that self-pubbing is great, but maybe not great for every project. And just because you get an offer, doesn't mean it will work for you or that project. You are clearly looking long term at your career. I appreciate your insight!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

WOW, what a story, Elana!! Huge Congratulations to you!!

I love time travel. My book, THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER is a time travel historical and THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES has time-slipping over 5 generations of girls in one family from 1912 to present day (tracing a mysterious doll with a curse as it's passed along from mother to daughter).

I'm so proud of you and so excited for you!!!! Can't wait to read RIFT. You found the perfect editor! That's always the trick in this business, eh? :-) xoxo

Taffy said...

I can't wait to read this one too! Congrats on finding a good home for your book.

Bidisha said...

That's a four year love story right there! Congratulations, Elana. So, so inspired. Much love to you. Looking forward to Rift.

Liza said...

That's what I call perseverance. Good for you Elana. Congratulations!!

JeffO said...

Big time congrats, Elana! I wish you a very happy and satisfying publishing process!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I'm so incredibly excited for you and so very happy that you talk about things like this. Hugs and huge congrats!!!

Kelly Polark said...

Perfect fit! Congrats!!!!

Kristin Smith said...

Wow, I absolutely LOVED reading your story, Elana!! So excited for you and RIFT, and I honestly can't wait to read it. Time travel? I'm there!

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