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Publication Date: March 8, 2016
For a ticket to Earth, seventeen-year-old Anna-Maria “Ann” Solano is willing to jettison her birth planet, best friend, and the boy who loves her. Especially since all she’s required to do is escort Dace Keeling, a young naturalist, through the wilderness of the partially terraformed planet Eco. Ann‘s determination to escape the limitations of her small, frontier colony never falters, until Dace’s expeditions uncover three secrets. One offers riches, one shatters Ann’s perceptions of herself, and one reveals that the humans stranded on Eco are not its only inhabitants.
Ann’s willing to sacrifice friendship and love for a new life on Earth. But when an entire species is placed in jeopardy by her actions, she must make a choice – fulfill the dream that’s always sustained her, or save the planet she’s never considered home.
10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
1. It takes a long time for a book to go from “acquired” to “published.”
Before I became a published author, I had no idea that it is not uncommon to take one to two years (usually closer to two years for a debut novel) for a newly acquired book to be published. This makes sense once you understand how much work the publisher must put into each book (edits, layouts, covers, promotion, production, etc.) but I – like most people – did not realize this when I started out.
2. Authors do not get the final say on their book covers.
I have been lucky, because my publisher does awesome covers, but I’ve realized that authors do not (in most cases) get the final say in their book covers. So don’t blame the author if you don’t think the cover works for the book!
3. Writing queries (and synopsises) never ends.
Before I became agented and published I had this notion that this was something you only had to do during the querying process. Wrong – you still need to write queries (only now they are called “pitches” or “blurbs”) when you need to pitch a new book idea to your agent or publisher, and they will still want to see a synopsis for your new book. Every time. So learning to write a decent query and synopsis is NOT a waste of time.
4. Being on deadline is very different than writing without one.
I have always used self-imposed deadlines when writing, but a real, publisher-imposed deadline is a very different thing. You cannot allow yourself to procrastinate, or to work over every tiny detail of your manuscript a million times, when you are on a tight deadline. Of course, you should still do your own edits and revisions, etc. before you turn in your book – I just mean you can’t be self-indulgent with your time.
5. Bad reviews will happen – and they will hurt.
I never thought I would get all glowing, 5-star reviews, but I truly did not anticipate the 1-star reviews from people who hated my book (for whatever reason – sometimes just personal taste about tense or POV, which IS their prerogative). I thought I was pretty tough, but some of the negative reviews really hurt. Even though I know all authors get these – even bestselling authors – I had to work hard to overcome my instant sense of “failure” whenever I read a bad review. So – knowing myself – my solution is to not read reviews! (I have my husband or agent alert me to the good ones, or the critical-but-helpful ones).
6. The writing game is a long game.
Yes, there are a few (VERY few) authors who make it big with their first book. However, most of us need to publish several books in order to build a reader-base, and make any decent money off of royalties. If you want to be an author, you need to stop thinking about “instant fame” and be prepared to work at this craft for the rest of your life, hoping maybe, one day, you will be good enough (or lucky enough) to have a “breakthrough” book.
7. There is a lot of promotion the author must do on their own.
My publishing house puts a lot of effort into promoting their titles, but they are an indie publisher and cannot do it all. They depend on their authors to do a good bit of marketing and promotion as well. This is pretty much true for bigger publishers as well as smaller ones – unless you are a NY Times bestseller (or someone important thinks you might be) right out of the gate, you are not going to have the luxury of some massive publicity campaign. You really need to create a social media platform, network with other authors and readers, and participate in events that help promote your work.
8. You can’t just write whatever you want whenever you want to write it.
This goes back to deadlines, but also is tied to creating your author identity. If you start out writing for one age group and/or genre, you need to stick to that for a couple of books (at least) in order to establish your name as an author in that field. It is also likely that your publisher will want sequels or companion books to your original book(s). So – unlike when you were just writing whatever struck your fancy at the time – you must write certain books at specific times. Even if you are “not quite feeling it.” You have a contract and you must write what your publisher needs you to write, on a specific deadline.
9. Other authors are the best support (and friends) you will ever find.
There is a common concept of authors as these isolated, solitary, creatures who sit alone and create books. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have discovered that building networks and relationships with fellow authors is essential. They have become critique partners and beta readers, cheerleaders for my books, avid advocates for all my promotional efforts, and the best “therapists” when I need emotional or artistic support. Without my author friends – some of whom I only know virtually – I would never make it in this business. So thanks to them!
10. Readers are the reason we write.
Of course, you already know that, but I just want to make the point again, since I have been reminded of this many times over the course of my publishing journey. If we write to be published (in any format) we write for readers. So even if we don’t find ourselves on any bestseller lists, if any of our books find their way into the heart of any reader(s) – I think our mission has been accomplished.
About the Author
Vicki L. Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After working as a librarian at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center, and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) in NYC, she is currently the Director for Library Services at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. A member of SCBWI, Vicki is represented by Fran Black at Literary Counsel, NY, NY.