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From an Idea to Reality

So this is how THE HARPER EFFECT started out. A different title, different character names and ages, different voices and perspective, but this was the seed of the concept. The teacher I wrote this for suggested I keep at it and think about becoming a writer. It took a while, but I'm here, finally.

So with just weeks to the publicaction of THE HARPER EFFECT, do you want to know what's going on in my world? Surprisingly, it’s the second book Macmillan contracted that has taken over all my attention this month. Here’s the new fear after you sign a book contract: WHAT IF I CAN’T WRITE ANOTHER BOOK? I think this is a question that haunts every debut author, based on my chats with many writers.

The most helpful conversation I had was at the recent conference, VOICES ON THE COAST, when I met and hung with a YA author who is also with Pan Macmillan and shares the same editor as me. She’s just released her 7th novel, so I listened good! She gave me some reassurance that I thought I’d pass on to you. Basically, the difference between the first and second novel is that the publisher wants to work with you; they want to make it a great book, they believe in you already. So even if the second book is a little shakey, they’ll still work on it with you. They won’t send you a rejection slip!

That made me feel a whole lot better and so I wanted to pass the advice on to you guys should you find yourself in that situation either now or in the future. I’ve now sent the second novel to my agents. That’s something else – they will also work with me on the draft before submitting to the publisher, because they too have invested in me and want it to work. Pressure valve released!

And one last point: After the book contract is signed, a new learning curve begins, and also a new type of juggle. No more prolonged hours of solely writing that novel juggled with researching agents and publishers and query letters. Now there are daily interruptions to discuss further distribution rights, foreign language rights, movie and audio rights, tax, book covers, marketing, book tours, school visit talks, joining a speaker’s agency…the list goes on.

It’s a good list though. I prefer it to the list that had ‘re-write my query letter’ on it. And I love to learn new skills and gain further knowledge. I guess the point is that after you sign a book contract, the hard work continues, it’s just a different type of hard work. One thing that doesn’t change – everything still moves at a snail’s pace.

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