Monday, July 29, 2013

The Real Answer: Here's What Happens Next

Photo Courtesy of latteda
Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post, "The Real Question: What Happens Next??" On the heels of my book deal announcement, I have been inundated with so many emotions--shock, elation, excitement, crippling fear, anxiety, etc. It was great to hear so many kind words from those of you who actually know what you are doing!

In the spirit of paying it forward, I figured I would share some excerpts and nuggets of wisdom to anyone else who may be struggling with the idea of life after a sale. My original question was:

"What is the biggest piece of advice you wish someone had told you when your manuscript first found a home?"

Here are your answers!
  1. "The biggest piece of advice I'd give is to savor each milestone as it comes - there's only one first sale, one first call with your editor, one first edit letter, and so on." -Mike (Turbo)
  2. "I'm with Mike about savoring every milestone. That is so important! I would tell myself that not a lot will change after the ink has dried: I still have my insecurities, crutch words, and a cat and a dog who couldn't care less that I have a book coming out. Through all of this, it's important to know that having a book deal won't solve everything, you know? :)" -Kathryn Rose
  3. "I remember when my first NF article was accepted and the thrill of receiving my first cheque. (I made a copy of it and pasted it into my scrapbook!) I think it's good to note what Kathryn has said... that your everyday will still be what it is. So it becomes important to claim the time you'll need to meet new commitments and deadlines. i.e., sit down with your family and explain/discuss plans for a scheduled writing time. Be flexible, but determined to fit it in every day." -Carol Garvin
  4. "The one piece of advice I wish I'd had was to keep working on new stuff while you wait for your editorial letter... For most people it takes months for that letter to come (no matter what your editor tells you!), and I wish I'd known to go ahead and just commit to my WIP, instead of thinking "Oh, I'm going to have to put it down any day to start edits, so I may as well not really dive in." On a more positive note, "celebrate everything good" is a great piece of advice. Do something fun to mark each milestone and help cement it in your memory. =)" -Tara Dairman
  5. "It's really easy to get caught up in the busyness of this exciting time, so make sure you take time to pause and savor each little bit as it unfolds. And then, when you're done enjoying, market the heck out yourself. :)" -Bethany Crandell
  6. "The "enjoy the moment" advice is excellent. I'd even recommend making a "feel good" folder... Put in it any gushing emails you get from agent & editor, plus your first terrific reviews, any reader emails, etc. Then whenever you hit a low on the publishing rollercoaster (and we all have low times!), go read those emails. Similarly, I'd say: if you don't already have some bulletproof healthy methods to handle stress (whether that's exercise, yoga, chilling out to music, whatever) - find it now. You will need it, especially later on when you've got to face the infamous second novel. (If your 1st does well, you'll worry that you can't repeat the success. If your 1st doesn't sell well, that's a whole other realm of stress. Either way, it can be startlingly hard to focus your mind where it needs to be: on your work-in-progress.) On the practical side, if your deadline for your 2nd novel allows it, I highly recommend setting aside 3 months around your book's release (the month prior, the month of, and the month after) in which you don't expect to get any new fiction writing done. That way you can guest blog and tweet and promote and obsess over your Amazon ranking to your heart's content, without any stress/guilt about not making progress on your next book. Once those 3 months are up, then it's nose to the grindstone...but until then, go a little crazy if you can. Your first book only comes out once. :)" -Courtney Schafer
  7. "I've always thought that I'd do a pre-order bloghop contest or something about 3 months before the book comes out, and then one of course the couple weeks surrounding the release date. I've toyed with writing an e-book novelette with the same characters that are in the book to give away for free as a carrot for the pre-sales... Ah, so many fun ideas :)" -Alexia Chamberlynn
Thanks again to everyone for your words of wisdom, and I hope your advice helps other writers, too. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much help and encouragement!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Real Question: What Happens Next??

"Party Aftermath," Photo Courtesy of ChefMattRock
Thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to visit my blog last week and congratulate me on my two-book deal with Strange Chemistry. I'm still riding the high of watching my Twitter and Facebook feeds explode with congratulations, and half of me still thinks someone may pinch me and wake me up at any moment.

The other half of me feels like the party is winding down and I'm starting to be surrounded by empty bottles and half-eaten bags of chips. A lot of the hard work is really just beginning. And because this is my first book deal, I really wish I had a psychic to tell me how everything is going to pan out from here.

In lieu of that--do real psychics even exist?--I am turning to you, my published and soon-to-be published writerly friends:

What is the biggest piece of advice you wish someone had told you when your manuscript first found a home?

My head is swimming with the proposition of creating a real-live author website, with looking into blog tours, with setting up a writing schedule and figuring out how to balance writing my sequel with marketing (and living my real-live life!).

How important is an author website? When should you start doing blog tours and interviews? Do you want to interview me? (I'm tons of fun; I promise!) Do you keep a writing schedule? How did you keep your head above water????

P.S.- Here's Strange Chemistry's official announcement of my book deal: Strange Chemistry Acquires Lisa O'Kane!

(Don't think I will ever get sick of reading that!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guess Who Has a Book Deal?????

My brand-new publishing contract!!!
Nearly two and a half years ago, I crossed paths with Hannah Bowman for the very first time. She wasn't agenting at Liza Dawson Associates yet, and I wasn't writing (well) yet, but our cyber-meeting set in motion of chain of events that has completely altered my life.

We were like ships at the night at first--always one step ahead or behind the other--but our timing finally meshed in June of 2012. She read (and wanted!) my YA near-future thriller ESSENCE, and I couldn't sign that literary contract fast enough. 

Since then, Hannah has been steadfast in her dedication to my writing career. She has challenged and inspired and pushed me to become a better writer, and she has also approached finding a home for ESSENCE with the tenacity and determination of a tidal wave.

She was relentless in her quest to find the perfect fit, and I am the humbled recipient of all her hard work:

Photo Courtesy of Angry Robot Books
ESSENCE has just been acquired by the amazing Amanda Rutter of Strange Chemistry Books in a TWO-BOOK DEAL that will see a summer '14 debut and a summer '15 sequel! (!!!!!!!)

Wow. Just wow. I am literally at a loss for words right now. 

I have so much respect for Amanda and Strange Chemistry, and I'm stunned to even be given shelf space beside her other authors. Check out Strange Chemistry's mission:

From the people behind the award-winning SF & fantasy imprint, Angry Robot, we are a fresh, modern imprint bringing quality Young Adult fiction to the marketplace.

So what makes us different? It’s all in the name – Strange Chemistry. Books that feel timeless, bringing you a mix of old and new. Traditional with a twist. Identifiable stories and genres that have been blended together to create something utterly special. Books for readers who are jaded of the same-old, same-old, and ready for something that will challenge them to enter new worlds.

Um, wow. Have I mentioned I'm speechless?

The next two years of my writing life suddenly have a lot more structure, and I am still so stunned by this development that I don't even think I have wrapped my head around this. The publishing business has done such a great job of teaching me to stay "cautiously optimistic" and "not get my hopes up" that I honestly think my, "You can start freaking out now!" button must be broken.

So... What now? I think I will wander off in a daze and wait for this to (finally) sink in, and I would also like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to every single person who has been with me on this journey. I absolutely couldn't have done this without the love, support and dedication of my friends, family, and of course, the amazing group of fellow writers I have hooked up with over the past few years.

I often say I would have NEVER sat down to write a book had I known how hard this was going to be--but I'm so glad I DIDN'T know, because now I'm invested in the process. And now--finally!--I have reached that pesky light at the end of the tunnel.

(I still can't believe I get to say that!!)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Something is Happening

Photo Courtesy of Carolina Odman
You know that moment right before lightning strikes, when everything is completely still, and the air becomes charged with electricity? You can feel the energy in your bones, and you find yourself holding your breath--because you know some time soon, something is going to happen?

Well, that feeling is the motto of today's post. Because something BIG is right around the corner, and the energy in the air around me is so charged that I'm half-surprised my hair isn't standing on end right now.

I absolutely CANNOT wait to tell you guys what's been brewing, so please come back to visit in the next few days for a VERY exciting announcement. Thrilling things are right on the horizon!!