I don't know about y'all, but this is totally true for me. I'd much rather meet an author any day than what's considered an "actual celebrity." Which is why I was so thrilled to get to meet three of my favorite authors today! :D
Brodi Ashton (author of Everneath), Jodi Meadows (author of Incarnate), me, and Cynthia Hand (author of Unearthly)
I'm SO glad I found out about this signing last week. It was about an hour away from me at a library in Harrisonburg, VA. I was thrilled. I've been wanting to meet Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand for years. I already met Jodi Meadows at a Baltimore writing workshop back in June, but it was wonderful to see her again! All three of these authors had tons of wonderful advice about writing and publishing.
I really should've taken notes, but I was too busy enjoying myself. So...this is all from memory.
The event started with a power point talking about odds: the odds of getting in Olympic gold medal, getting struck by lightning, getting a hole in one in golf, etc., and all these numbers were in the hundred thousands. The last one listed was the odds of getting your book published: 100 to one. :)
It was so encouraging to hear these authors talk about how long it took them to get published. Brodi wrote for 10 years before she finally got a book deal with HarperTeen for Everneath. And Jodi started writing in 2003, and she had 17 complete manuscripts written before Incarnate was published. 17, you guys. That's amazing. Jodi also brought a stack of her rejections she'd printed out - she said it was somewhere between 350 and 400!
The power point also included early versions of the authors' covers. Brodi pointed out that a section of smoke/clouds on the cover of Everbound looks like the shape of a dog's face. Look at it...once you see it, it can never be unseen. ;) Jodi talked about how she never wanted a cover with a close-up of a girl's face, but when she saw Incarnate's cover, she fell in love and knew it was perfect for her book. Cynthia showed us the model for Unearthly's cover, as well as some interesting foreign covers.
Wow, there was so much great advice about writing. One thing Cynthia mentioned really stuck out to me: one difference between professional and amateur writers is that professional writers revise like crazy! Revision is such an important part of the writing-a-book process.
Jodi said she struggled with world-building for years. She figured it out by reading books that were known for their world-building, and it really helped her to improve. The first time an agent complimented her on her world-building, she was thrilled. I kinda have to agree - her world-building is amazing! :)
Brodi told us that her favorite part of writing is dialogue. Most of her first drafts, she said, are practically like screenplays because there's so much dialogue! She said writing descriptions and transitions are more difficult to her. She also mentioned that in the first draft of Everbound that she turned in, her editor told her the first 30 pages and the last 30 were great, but the middle needed to be completely rewritten. Wow - that's a LOT of revising.
Eep! Brodi signed my book, and I got an Everbound bookmark!
I learned a lot more about the publishing process, like how important it is to find agents. Brodi said that when you email an agent your manuscript, it can take anywhere from two weeks to forever for them to reply! For example, I believe it took Jodi 2 years to find an agent and get Incarnate published.
Cynthia told us this fun story about Unearthly. When she sent it to her agent, her agent was actually having lunch with an editor who was talking about trying to find books about angels! Cynthia's agent immediately mentioned Unearthly, and the editor was interested right away. As Cynthia said, though, getting published also depends heavily on what the current trends are - angels, steampunk, aliens, etc.
It's a little hard to see, but there's a tiny white butterfly I set on the left page. Jodi crocheted them and was giving them out to everyone who asked questions. :)
I had an amazing time and really learned a lot. I've been writing ever since I was little and I want to get my books published someday, so it was such an encouragement to hear about how these authors were rejected and just kept writing and revising and eventually got published. They were hilarious and yet full of great advice! :)
GAH. Look. Cynthia signed Unearthly. I'm such a Cynthia Hand fangirl, I can't even. She was so sweet!
Lastly, I included a picture of Eramane by Frankie Ash. She was attending the signing and I was chatting with her before the event started, not even aware that she was also an author. When she mentioned that her first book had come out recently, I asked what it was called. She replied by offering me a free copy she had with her! She even signed it for me! How cool is that? I'll be reading it soon, so there will be a review up sometime this month! In the meantime, be sure to look it up on Goodreads.
I'm going to be having my very first giveaway this week! Yeah, I've never done a giveaway before. I know, I know, I'm lame. The reason why is probably because I'm a poor high school student who is also a book-buying addict - kinda makes your money go fast. ;) So, since shipping is so expensive, I thought, why not just have a swag giveaway?
The giveaway will feature lots of fun swag, including some signed bookmarks, from authors such as Fiona Paul, Elizabeth Richards, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Bethany Griffin, and more! Keep an eye out as I'll be posting it later this week.