Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Secrets of a Sale

Hey, lovelies!

So yesterday, I got to share my book deal news and it was awesome. I so appreciate all the love and support! You guys made it so fun for me. And today, I get to tell you some of the secrets behind my sale.

Yaaaaay! It's so small. I don't know how to make it bigger.

One of the toughest parts about being on submission is that you have to pretend like you're not slowly developing a psychological problem, like it's normal to find relief in tearing your eyelashes out while you wait, or eating your sixteenth cupcake after you've read your sixteenth rejection letter. You have to play it cool, never mention it on social media, and pretend like it doesn't even matter while you slog through a new draft of something that seems less important. But now that it's over (*sobs*) I want to share my experience with you guys. I want you to know that if this is you, and things seem abysmal, they can still turn around. And you should probably stop pulling out your eyelashes.

Anyway, if you've followed this blog for awhile, you've read my posts about THE DIARIES OF ELLA GRAHAM (now titled OF SCARS AND STARDUST). This is the book of my heart, not my first manuscript, but the one I love more than any of the others. I believed in this book every step of the way. Lucky for me, so did my agent.

In June of 2012, shortly after signing with Victoria, I put SCARS through its first major overhaul. In July (over a year ago), we sent it out into the world and it was fresh and shiny and I was fresh and shiny and I couldn't wait for good things to clutter my inbox.

In came the rejections.

One after another. But the thing is, there were so many close calls. In those rejections letters, there were some of the nicest compliments I've ever received about my writing, which almost made it worse in a way. Victoria and I were both frustrated; no one could quite pinpoint what it was about the manuscript that seemed "off," just that it was.

In January, we had run through our list and I thought that it might be time to drawer SCARS, even though I didn't want to. But Victoria was not having any of that nonsense. We pulled back, we brainstormed for weeks, and I wrote a very detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline of SCARS as it was, at her request. We tore that sucker apart. Actually, she tore that sucker apart and I died a little inside, but it was cool, it was cool. And then SCARS went through its second major overhaul. (It was during this time period that I began referring to it as Frankenbook--a stitched up version of its former self.) I rewrote a third of that book in six days. I was single-minded about it, almost feverish. I still loved it, and I was determined to make this book the first of my book babies to leave the nest.

In March, it went back out on submission.

I prayed to any freaking ethereal being that would listen to me, I compulsively checked my email as writers on sub do, and I waited.

One month went by. Then another. Then a third.

And I gave up.

I don't mean that I gave up in the way that I thought it would never get published and I'd never write another thing and that I was a failure. I mean that I let it go. I stopped having certain expectations for SCARS and what it needed to do and how it needed to enter the world. I stopped thinking of it as a "right now" book and put in in a quiet place. It became a "someday, maybe" book. I finished revising my next thriller, and began writing another. I tucked away thoughts of SCARS and thanked it for being the manuscript that hooked me up with an agent, and taught me the art of perseverance and patience.

And then it sold in July.

Of course, right? Doesn't it always work out like that? (By the way, I have absolutely no tips on how to let things go so that they can happen in their own way. My strategy thus far has been to cling to everything I want like a barnacle until I'm too tired and battered to hang on anymore. Which, you know, don't do that. It's exhausting.)

Victoria and I tried to act "normalish" as the whole thing unfolded, but failed and swore (excitedly) instead.

So, in case you're keeping tabs, OF SCARS AND STARDUST sold one year after it went on submission, and went through two major rewrites during that year. And now you'll get to read it. <3

So, I have several people I need to thank endlessly for helping make this creepy, quiet little book become a reality.

My very first critique partner, Michelle Levy, who asked the question, "WHAT THE HELL DOES ELLA'S DAMN NOTE SAY?" twenty-five times throughout my draft until I figured out I should probably add that in. After Michelle came Leigh Ann Kopans, who has just as fierce love for SCARS as I do, and who has championed this book from the very beginning. And because of Leigh Ann's championing, thank you to all of the people who read and critiqued this book due to her gushing (I don't even know how many of you there are now, but I'm so incredibly grateful anyone wanted to read it at all).

While Leigh Ann was cheering on SCARS from behind the scenes, Victoria took it to the front line. She never gave up on this book, even when things looked dreary for awhile there. She put hours worth of work into her revision ideas and to cutting up my outlines, and because of her there's ten times more creep factor in this book. (Thank you a bajillion times over.)

And thank you to all of the writers that kept me (kind of) sane over the past year by sending love notes in the mail, sweet emails and texts, and pictures of dinosaurs puking up rainbows: Heather Marie, Megan Orsini, Amanda Olivieri, Megan Whitmer, Erica Chapman, Jamie Grey, Hay Farris, Kristen Jett, Dahlia Adler, Kelsey Macke, Heidi Schultz, Dan Hanks, and Becca Weston. (And so, so many more, but it's 1 A.M. and I'm blurry-eyed and I love you.)

And a quick little shout out to my husband, who made my kid magically disappear during the dark days of revision, and to my best friend, Keri, who has talked to me about this book pretty much every freaking day since I wrote it, and has read it almost as many times as I've said the phrase, "But I just really want it to be this book."

And now it is.


*Giveaway announcement: This Friday, September 27th, I'll be giving away six books throughout the day on the @LifeofWriters twitter feed. We'll be playing Name That Book! Join in throughout the day to win FREE STUFF. 

Andrea Hannah is a YA writer represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider. She writes stories about criminals, crazy people, and creatures that may or may not exist. When she's not writing, Andrea teaches special education, runs, spends time with her family, and tries to figure out a way to prevent her pug from opening the refrigerator (still unsuccessful). Oh, and she tweets a bajillion times a day, mostly about inappropriate things. 

You can find her on Twitter @:

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11 secret replies:

  1. Wait a SLOWLY developed a psychological problem?? I'm impressed.

    Huge congrats again!

  2. Oh God the first line about developing a psychological problem made me laugh so loud. I'm on sub right now, and it was so great to read this post. Many, many congrats to you (and your stalwart agent) for getting a deal!! :)

  3. Yaaaaay!!! Dear everyone reading this, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD AND YOU WANT IT. And my favorite stories of selling books are always the ones where the author was on sub for around a year, because it always feels so over at that point, and ya know, sometimes it just isn't!

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. And congrats on your deal!!

  5. Love this line! "My strategy thus far has been to cling to everything I want like a barnacle until I'm too tired and battered to hang on anymore."
    Congrats Andrea! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I sure hope I have a story like yours to tell someday soon. I've been on sub for a while and have gone through one somewhat important revision based on publisher feedback (nothing hugely major), but one never knows if it's going to pan out. ::sigh::

  7. Congratulations!! That's amazing. And so inspiring. :) Creepy books are the best books. ^_^ Many gushing congratulations!

  8. So, so happy for you! And I'm also ecstatic that we're pub sisters <3

  9. Huge congrats!!! And I'll be hopping on and off - or up and down -- on Twitter tomorrow ;D

  10. What a hilarious and wonderful post! I'm glad you and the book of your heart made it through all the stress and sorrow and shenanigans, especially since it sounds like something I'd love to read. Congrats!

  11. Congrats Andrea! This post inspired me to get back on that horse. I got stuck rewriting my book, and when it stopped coming as easily as I felt it should, I kinda just let it go for a while and focused on illustration instead. But seeing what you did for this's awesome. Congrats again, I can't wait to read it!