I extracted this article from Writer’s Digest July/August Edition. The article entails three debut authors, Tom Leveen, Boyd Morrison, and Malena Watrous and how they did it, what they learned and why aspiring writers can do it too.
I am showcasing Tom Leveen’s blurb below and his experience writing and publishing his debut young adult novel Party ( Random House, April 2010). I hope you find it as helpful as I did.
Party: At a summer party in Santa Barbara, 11 teenagers intersect, reconnect, collide and combine in ways that none of them ever say coming.
Writes From: Scottsdale, Ariz. Pre-Party: I was publishing short fiction infrequently in small magazine while working on YA novels – and I worked a 9-5 job like everyone else.
Time Frame: Party took two years to write and revise. I remember dictating the first paragraph to my wife as we were driving out of Santa Baraba on our honeymoon: That formed the basis of the entire novel.
Enter the Agent: My agent is the outstanding Jennifer Mattson with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I first signed with the agency under another agent , who left for a new job. Jennifer picked up where my first agent left off.
What I did right: I played to my strengths in the manuscript. I followed submission rules on format, good query writing, subbing to appropriate agents and agencies – all that. Also, I didn’t give up after 40 rejections.
If I could do it again: I’d spend more time on the manuscript and make a tighter story before submitting.
Platform: I spent many years in theater as an artistic director. By the time Party came out, a lot of people in town knew who I was due to newspaper articles.
Next up: I’ve got several YA novels simmering or being revised at present. And (I’m) working on my first middle-grade novel – which is a much different animal.