I found out some big news this weekend when I heard that my former writing group partner, Phoebe, scored a two-book deal with Simon and Schuster. While I now know a couple of people with literary agents, Phoebe is the first person I actually know to get a book deal and it couldn't have happened to a better writer. Phoebe loves YA but she's also able to look at the genre with a critical eye. She's smart and thoughful and I'm really happy that her perspective is going to be represented on bookshelves. I can't wait to follow her progress on the blog as she goes through edits, cover design, marketing, and all the other steps it takes to get her books on the shelves in 2013. In the meantime, she's done a post on her blog answering some common question about getting published.
Phoebe and I started writing our respective books around the same time. While she's gone through revision after revision (I read and offered feedback on an early draft), I've sort of fizzled out. But no more! Phoebe's achievement is great motivation for me. It makes the whole idea of actually getting an agent and then actually getting published seem that much more real. The kick in the pants that I needed came this weekend when I agreed at my current writing group to submit my manuscript for critique on January 1. This gives me a hard and fast deadline and holds me accountable to 5 other people. It's time to whip my current manuscript into readable shape and send it out into the world.
Finally, a writer who is another great source of inspiration to me is Lauren Oliver, whose BEFORE I FALL was one of my favorite YA books of 2010. In addition to being a talented writer, Lauren runs a book packaging company that has sold 20 books in something like two years which is just mind-blowing. Here's a short article about the success she's found in publishing.