Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Word count: 437                                                           Reading time: 1-2 minutes 

How to get a book deal:

  • write a novel
  • give it to a few friends to read
  • revise accordingly
  • send a submission to an agent or publisher
  • sign the contract.

That’s how it works for some authors and there is an entire chapter devoted to them in the book Life’s Not Fair. If you google “how to get a book deal” (over a billion hits) you’ll quickly realize how elusive a contract can be.

Four weeks ago, on a cold, grey morning that was more like January than June, my phone rang as I was coming out of the dentist. When Anita Daher said that Great Plains Publications wanted to offer me a contract on my most recently-completed YA novel (tentatively titled Lockdown), I looked up at the cloud-shrouded mountains and decided that the weather had never been finer. Two nail-biting weeks later a soft copy of the contract arrived and there was my name, Maggie Bolitho, hereinafter called the Author.

 Last week, more thrilling still, the hard copy of the contract arrived. After another read, front-to-back, I signed page 8 and returned it. Scheduled release date for the book: Spring 2014.

I wrote the SFD of Lockdown just over 18 months ago (NaNoWritMo 2010). Unlike the lucky authors who hit their stride right out of the gate, it’s taken a while for me to get this manuscript ready for prime time. My warm-up included three or four dozen short stories, two other YA novels, two adult novels, and I even experimented with futuristic Sci Fi (the less said bout that, the better). When my energy stalled, I took courses and joined online and R/L groups. I paired up with a tireless writing partner who is both forthright with her insightful critiques as well as encouraging. For over a year I worked with writing coach, Bruce McAllister, who helped me polish my work and hone my query letter to the point where it finally became market-ready. I’ve scaled stout walls over the past few years. 

So now I’m at the next bend in the road and I can see a few hurdles ahead. I’m primed and ready. I’ve been preparing for this part of the adventure for a few years now.

Where are you in your writer’s journey? Are you laying track and looking forward to pulling the entire novel together? Are you finished and revising, getting as much feedback as you can before you submit the work to the market? Or are you in the arduous process called submission, waiting for your phone call?

Maggie Bolitho, Author