A while ago on my old blog I made a post about how I got a book deal. When I was querying, posts like these were what I wanted to read. I wanted to know what happens behind the scenes in a very hush hush industry, and so here it is, the story of how I got a book deal.
I HAVE A TWO BOOK DEAL!!!!!!!
I've dreamt of this day since I was a kid and I can't believe it's finally a reality!
*cue non-stop stream of tears*
This time last year, I was still querying a different book, getting rejections and feeling like publishing a novel wasn't going to be something I could achieve in this lifetime.
BUT IT'S HAPPENING. IT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
Okay but...how did it happen?
As mentioned in my How I Got My Agent post, I owe it to my favourite TV Show Gossip Girl for this. Thank you Blair Waldorf for everything.
I accepted the offer of representation from my amazing agent, Hannah Sheppard, on the 3rd of August, and we got to work right away. I received my edit letter and an annotated version of my manuscript a few days after and began planning how I was going to tackle my edits! My editing period was quite short, about three weeks, and when I was done I couldn't believe how much more I loved my manuscript.
While editing, it is so hard to love what you're writing/re-writing until you see the full picture. On some edit days, I felt like throwing my laptop out of the window. Others, I loved the way things were going.
In the end, I created something I was really happy with - which is the best upside to writing. Loving the things you produce at the end of the messiness of drafting and edits.
After line edits, big picture changes and a lot of reworking, my agent finally told me that I was ready to go on submission to editors! I was weirdly shocked by that. I knew it was coming but I never really thought I'd get to this point.
So at first I was like...
then I was like...
Then my agent told me that she'd sent out my manuscript and that it was official.
I called Mum and told her "I'm officially on sub!!"
Her: What is sub?
Me: My book is going to editors!!
Her: I thought your book is going to publishing houses...
Me: YES. EDITORS AT PUBLISHING HOUSES.
Her: ahh...when will we hear back?
(Guys, explaining publishing to your mum is an extreme sport)
But yes. When was I going to hear back? Her question was one I didn't want to think about. I told her, it could be weeks or months. That I'm going to try not to obsess over it - I failed at that by the way - just try to go on and pretend that everything is fine... (also failed at that).
So, I went on Sub on one rainy Friday in the middle of September. Expecting silence for at least 4 weeks...
But then Saturday and Sunday passed and Monday rolled around and I was distracted by my friend from London - who came up to visit me in Scotland. We had a fun day out in town and I remember at the end of our town adventures, we were on the bus back home and I decided to check my notifications. First thing I saw were some twitter updates, my phones low storage warning and...a message from my agent.
The subject line had the name of an Editor in it and I thought to myself...oh my god...I knew it was some form of positive news because, with many agents, you get to decide whether you want to hear about everything or only positives. Given my mental health, I only wanted positives in the beginning and hoped that if we were still on sub a few months down the line, that I would get the nerve to hear everything.
So...after a few seconds just staring at the email, heart racing, fingers shaking...I open it. It was news...an editor finished reading my book over the weekend and loved it...
I had to hold back from screaming in public - I actually think being a writer is 70% trying not to scream in public.
I got home, acted semi-normal...although my friend asked why I was smiling like a maniac...I still maintained some level of normality.
So let's call this Editor...Editor A. Editor A told my agent that she was going back to her team to get more reads - aka get 2nd opinions on my book - which editors do before taking your book to an acquisitions meeting (aka meeting where they decide whether or not they want to buy your book).
I was so excited but nervous, and so with that first bit of speedy news, the refreshing of my inbox began. The reads could take weeks! Plus, I still had to hear back from other publishing houses - who could also take weeks to get back to us. I dreaded having to wait...but with luck, the next day - Tuesday - I got more news. A second Editor...Editor B also read my book over the weekend and loved it.
I almost fainted - no joke - I kind of blacked out.
I had to remind myself that a whole team of people have to approve my book before I get anywhere. I'm a huge pessimist, I hate being disappointed so I never expect anything. I told myself again that I'd probably hear more in a few weeks...
Then on Wednesday, I heard that more publishers were sharing with their teams and I just sat on my couch in shock.
A few days later - 6 days after to be exact - my agent told me that another Editor...Editor C loved my book and wanted to speak to me. I called my mum and I screamed on the phone to her. I couldn't believe it - I still can't. At this point, I started binging every Alexa Donne video on publishing, trying to figure out what this call might mean.
Then the next day, I got another email from my agent. Editor B had gone to an acquisitions meeting and wanted to make an offer!!!!!!!!!
Editor B also wanted to speak on the phone and so I obviously had to rewatch all of the Alexa Donne videos!
I spoke to both editors that week, and it felt like an out of body experience. Hearing people excited about my book and talking about their favourite parts was so shocking. I was silent for a lot of the call, trying not to scream. I remember how one of the editors spoke about how much she shipped my characters, how Gossip Girl is also a fave of hers and how she couldn't put my book down once she started reading it.
So more days passed, And I got more positive feedback but ultimately decided with my agent to go with the editor we both knew from the get-go was the most passionate about my book.
And that editor was...Becky Walker from Usborne UK!!!! AHHHHHHH
Speaking to Becky on the phone was so surreal. She GOT my book and was so enthusiastic about the characters and the story and after my conversation with her, I told my agent right away that I thought she was the perfect fit.
Of course, we had to wait and hear other proposals, but ultimately, Becky was the editor I felt I connected with most.
I'm still in shock...I can't believe this is real...
But that is the story of my book deal!!!! I'm so excited for this journey and I can't wait to hold a physical copy of my book in my hands.