Great news! cbj, an imprint of Random House in Germany, just bought the rights to MOBIUS on pre-empt!
I can’t get my head around the fact that my book will be in GERMAN.
Wow. This is crazy.
I’m so honored to be part of this amazing collection of YA authors with a 2012 debut, The Apocalypsies.
This group is beyond impressive. This month there are updates on everything from new titles and covers to movie options! Check out our March News.
It was pouring rain when I arrived at the small college campus a few miles from my house for my first Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference. In my bag I had six copies of the first ten pages of my manuscript, one complete copy, my query letter, and a one-page synopsis. I’d spent the week memorizing my logline. I’d researched all the presenters. This time, I felt prepared.
It had been ten months since my first query attempt. It was a minor push (and prematurely executed), but I learned something important from the five agents who rejected my manuscript. They each told me kindly that my story idea was interesting and marketable, but my writing needed work. I read that feedback as: (1) I wasn’t wasting my time with this project, but (2) I needed some help.
I enrolled in a YA Fiction Writing class through MediaBistro (more on that experience here) and then spent the next six months working one-on-one with a writing coach and a series of critique partners. I wrote and polished and wrote and edited and cut a lot.
When I thought my manuscript was ready—really ready this time—I registered for the SCBWI conference and signed up for the manuscript critique. On the deadline date, two months prior to the conference, I put my packet together and fed it into the mailbox with shaking hands.
I was told I wouldn’t know which faculty member critiqued MOBIUS until the end of the conference. So you can imagine my surprise when an email from Caryn Wiseman of The Andrea Brown Literary Agency—the agent and the agency I most wanted to work with—appeared in my inbox on the Tuesday prior to the event. This is what I read:
I ran off to tell my husband and emailed the small handful of friends who knew I was even writing a novel. Then I spent the next five hours reading my manuscript to be sure it was as flawless as I could make it, addressed an email to Caryn, and pressed “send”. After that, the week slowed to a crawl while I wondered if the rest of my story lived up to those first 15 pages. By the time that rainy Saturday came along, I was about to burst out of my skin.
I spotted Caryn just before the conference began. I took a few deep breaths, made my way in her direction, and introduced myself. And she beamed. And shook my hand. And said, “I read MOBIUS in one sitting. I love it and I want to represent you.” I think I said, “Okay” or “Yes” or “No way, where’s the hidden camera?” or maybe I just smiled and tried to hold back the tears.
And that was it. Caryn and I spent the next three months editing my manuscript. She pointed out my tics, told me where the story was strong and where it wasn’t quite working. She brainstormed plot twists with me in person during the agency’s Big Sur Writer’s Workshop and via email for weeks afterward. She asked big questions. She worked with me like this story mattered to her as much as it did to me. Then she sold it with the same devotion.
After a totally unexpected four-house auction, I selected an amazing editor. She’d spoken that same day, at that same SCBWI conference: Lisa Yoskowitz with Hyperion. I’m sure the fact that I’d seen her speak helped me feel like she was absolutely the right editor for me, and the right champion for this story.
Writers often ask me if I think conferences are important. I tell them this story. I tell them to go prepared and be bold while they’re there. To have a one-sentence description of their story committed to memory and to be ready to deliver it. To be brave and proud when they talk about their work.
Most of all, I tell them to look for an agent who falls in love with their story, because that might just lead to an editor who does as well. If you’re really lucky, you might even meet them both on the same rainy day.
For the last two weeks, it seems like something amazing happens and I say the words, “Okay, NOW I feel like this is all really happening”. Here was today’s “something”:
This giant box of books arrived from my fabulous new editor, Lisa Yoskowitz, and the incredible team at Disney*Hyperion.
My kids went nuts. I thought my son would go straight for Riordan’s THE RED PYRAMID, but he’s just getting confident with his reading and it might have looked a little daunting, so we’ll read it together. Instead, he started in on one of the SUPER CHICKEN NUGGET BOY books, and hasn’t put it down since. Next on deck, I hear, is the tough choice between Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS and Cal Ripken Jr.’s brand new HOTHEAD. As for my daughter, she devoured the Mo Williams. We read WE ARE IN A BOOK eight times (because you have to read it over and over again. Have you read this book? It’s true. Repetition is required. And so fun.).
As for me… I just don’t know where to start! I’m feeling way behind in my reading just looking at this stack. Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY? Rachel Hawkins’ HEX HALL? Rebecca Lim’s MERCY? Then there are two National Book Award Finalists I’ve been dying to read: SOLD, by Patricia McCormick and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by E. Lockhart.
I’m off to read. And wonder how in the world I ended up in this impressive company of authors…
Now that’s really something…
It’s official! MOBIUS will be on bookshelves in Fall 2012 thanks to an amazing group of people at Disney-Hyperion!
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say today:Disney-Hyperion Time Travels with ‘Mobius’
We’ve been getting interest from the foreign market this week, so hopefully there will be more news soon.