Nebula 2019: Now What? Emerging writers discuss life after their debut.



oh yeah we're working on it now okay yeah yeah well we're certainly not hearing it now test one two one two one two I'm not really hearing a whole lot but no although the UK is taking so we should eat them it's super high can everyone hear me yes okay so it's ten o'clock to no one but we are missing one panelist so we're gonna give him a few minutes to see if he shows and then if not then we'll start tuck amongst yourselves yeah I love my agent okay I guess we're gonna go ahead and get started because I don't want to cut it too short and if Ronnie shows up he'll just join us so hello everyone my name is Rebecca roan horse and I am your moderator today debut authors what happens next or something like that right correct so if that's not where you want to be somewhere else and so and so we're here today with a number of debut authors and I'll have them just introduce themselves and then we'll get started my name is Mike Chen my book here and now and then is a speculative time-travel father-daughter story came out in January from Mira books hi my name is punk Shepard my debut novel The Book of M came out in June 2018 and it's about a mysterious phenomenon shadows disappear all over the world I'm also a debut author but not actually a debut author anymore because my second book came out like three weeks ago but and it's a post-apocalyptic monster hunting on the Navajo Nation hi I'm Rebecca Quang my debut the poppy warrior came out last year and I have a ton of these paperback so I'm doing a giveaway of one at every panel so that any point you can guess who my favorite favorite Avengers is then okay so I think what I'd like to do is just what we'll do is we'll have questions for probably about 45 minutes and then we'll open it up to audience questions so if you could hold your questions until then and then Rebecca has to leave a little early so we're just letting you know so if you have questions for her ask those at the beginning so I guess what I want to start this is about your debut books I want to talk a little bit about your road to publication and how you sort of started out so had you published anything before when did you decide to write a novel was this your first novel or do you have many novels in a he didn't drawer somewhere that will never see the light of day so this book this is the third manuscript that I sent agent queries to the first one was this like new adults no one should ever ever read it's terrible but the second one was a really big learning step for me because it was the first time that I moved from creating like a story about families but putting it into a landscape that was my niche so that second manuscript is where I felt like I really got a rhythm of what I wanted to write and that one is actually had been revised and that's gonna be coming out in January 2020 it's my second book so this after I signed with my agent for this one we actually hit a bit of a road bump because we were getting a lot of feedback from from presses where they said it's to literary to be sci-fi and to sci-fi to be literary so we we went to the acquisitions table with five different presses over a year and a half and that was a very painful year and a half and the common rejection was that though it was like it was in between genres and I feel like that's shifting now as becoming successful but then the fifth one was Mira which is the literary kind of commercial imprint of Harlequin and they bought it and everyone's really happy with it so far so there was a two-year very very painful gap of me going like does anything happen yet do people like me do people hate me was actually constantly creatively people liked it and was the commercial people like the business people who weren't quite sure where was gonna slot in so I'm really grateful for my editor for for taking a chance on me and I do feel like this genre is starting to get a foothold commercially yeah that I had a really similar process to actually where my agent went out to a bunch of different editors and some of a really super literary and some work you know kind of in the middle and then a bunch of the others receive genre and yeah it was really interesting because you get the literary people coming back and saying like there's just too much magic in this we don't really get it and then the genre people were like there's not enough magic in this and we yeah it's a I think it is changing and it was already changing when I was starting because I did end up finding a publisher I'm with William Morrow and that's been really wonderful because I think the book really is it is really hard to say whether it's kind of literary or genre and William Morrow does a lot of that same kind of on the line stuff but what was my so my so this was this the first I did finish one rough draft first draft of a novel that's now my drawer baby and we'll probably never it was live in the drawer and but this was the first this is the first manuscript that I ever finished and then revised and but I was also the kid and the adult who was really passionate about writing and I would like to start a new novel every month because I would write like 40 thousand words and then it would be going nowhere and I would throw it away and I would start again and I was so frustrated that was like my personal struggle to figure out how to how to stick with something and so this was the first one I tried really hard to stick with it but it also felt like right if that makes like some time even when it was so bad and so rough I still was like but I think this is the one that's gonna make it so like what what do you think you said it felt right but how did you push yourself through that were there any tips or tricks or things I think well I tried to you know I had that kernel of confidence about it and I'd really tried hard to hang on to it but the way that I tried to get there because the other 99% of time I was still terrified was I just wrote it as fast as I could because I thought if I can at least get to the end I'll have a thing that I can fix but if I never get there then I'm it's just gonna be the same thing with every other thing I've ever started and never finished so I have to finish quickly I had a really different journey to publication so I like had never actually particularly wanted to be a writer I just kind of enjoyed reading and the first the first novel and only novel I wrote before I finished the poppy war was this book called liberty or death when written when I was 10 years old for a school assignment about Patrick Dawson a Revolutionary War hero who kills 500 British soldiers as revenge for his friend who died during the Boston Massacre and it has a really cringey scene where he goes on a date with this girl named Hana and she's like do you want beer and he's like no I never drink on dates but drinking on dates is what you're supposed to do but then after my sophomore year of college I took a gap year did work in Beijing for a year because I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life I just knew that I didn't want to be an economics major anymore so then something astonishing happened in Beijing where I was working in 9:00 to 5:00 for the first time which meant that after five o'clock I had no homework to do which was like astonishing to me that I suddenly had all this free time on my hands and then I saw an ad for Scrivener and I was like this looks cool and then I downloaded it and I was like oh novel writers you schooner what if I use my free time to write a novel because that seemed like the easiest project to do other alternative was learning to code during my free time which like I tried first but it was really hard so I was in contact a lot with my grandparents pretty much I think for the first time of my adult life then because I was living in Beijing and I didn't see them very much because they were always in China and I was hearing all of these stories about their experiences during World War two so that was in my head space so I thought okay I'll write about that so then a thousand words turned into ten thousand words turned into a hundred thousand words turned into way too many words for a debut as I was finished I was like I have a book maybe I'll try to sell it and it sold and that was very surprising and then I guess now I'm under contract for a trilogy so I fell into a career as a writer I didn't have a Johnna issue because it's pretty much just like straight up epic fantasy as you can get but I think I lucked into discovering like writing as a passion so I'm really glad I took that year off just to explore and discover and I know a lot of people don't have the privilege to do that so it's nice realizing that you can discover a dream later in life even though like 22 is not Rebecca what was it like when you saw your your name when you obviously it was a lot I think we all like get that sense of thrill but it actually wasn't as big of a deal for me as it was for my parents because I'd seen the cover art like I've been working with my editor I knew at some point like this is going to exist in a physical fashion because I was born in an age where I don't remember like life without a laptop like the digital physical distinction isn't really real for me like things are real regardless but then I mailed it to my parents and they were so so excited because there aren't a lot of Kwong's in the u.s. so it's like there are a lot of other Chinese names where like kids named Jiang or Li can be like yeah Li that's me um it was the first time they had seen like the last name Kwan like printed on like a real thing in the United States and that was really thrilling for them and I just like felt so proud that I could make my parents that happy what about you guys I think I might also be a little bit the same as you for me it was more because you do like as the author you see the cover like a couple months or weeks before you actually got like the advanced reader copy or the published copy but for me it was when I got the first I guess like first pass of notes which is where you get the whole manuscript and you've got to do edits on it but it's the first time that it's like formatted in this so it's still an eight-and-a-half by 11 paper but it's the text inside looks like the text in the book it's not like double-spaced anymore and that was when I was like I did it's 150,000 words so it's like a really big so I was like carrying my baby so that yeah that was a moment for me that it suddenly I was like oh I really like I really this is gonna happen and that was yeah I mean cuz that's kind of all you it gets more complicated obviously the closer you get to launch because then you start panicking about marketing or panic about sale but the it was the last magical pure moment of light because all you want when you start is to just have your book you don't even care if you sell one you want to have it and that was that moment where I was like I have my book so I remember my editor had said we're gonna be sending you a box of Arc's soon and soon was very vague so I didn't know that's this week because I'm publishing like everything is super slow so they say soon I'm expecting like two months from now so I remember when the when the box actually arrived it was like a Saturday night I wouldn't like my daughter who's really young was is still kind of a jerk like she was like four years old at the time and so she was being difficult and I had to go pick up dinner cuz like we just weren't able to to cook dinner I step outside of the porch and this box comes from HarperCollins and I yell back to my wife I'm like holy crap I think it's here I had to go pick up dinner so I didn't open it and then we come back and like my daughter was just being fussy the whole time and so like when she finally went down it was like 9 o'clock at night or something and then then I was able to to like actually open it and breathe and and think like wow this is this is really holding it physically it was it was very weird I think that's the thing that I keep saying to people when they ask about how is it going like non writer friends who are like how's the writing stuff going I just keep saying it's very weird it's like this weird displacement of like your normal life and all these dreams that you had and they keep clashing in this very strange nexus so it was it was thrilling and strange at the same time when I was actually able to sit down and comprehend it the best and the worst moments because we're all pretty much through the first year so I have to agree I think the most exciting part is like you sell your book and then you get your book and then like the real world starts to collide with your book and yeah marketing comes into play you start getting critiques like you know everything suddenly becomes really real and you're not in your little like no pun intended fantasy world anymore so tell me a little bit about the best and the worst parts of debut year and what most surprised you and maybe what would you change if you could do it again I think the most the best part of it I mean this is gonna sound really cheesy but the best part of it is actually the the really cool writers that I've met it's like we just won like writer Twitter which is how we make you and then like the debut groups that I'm in it's like we're all kind of going through the same thing at the same time and it's all very strange like like the real world doesn't quite prepare you for like birthing your creative baby and and like assuring it into the world and like you're very naked out there because this is the thing that you've worked on for years and so having that support and everyone that I've talked to is like you know really cool and I consider them friends now and seeing them here is really great and I say that's probably like the best part that's actually I mean it's really cheesy they're like that's better than having my book out it's the people that I met but I know I would I would really say that like you know I feel like you know I'm really glad that I've met these really kick-ass people because of it in addition to seeing my book you know on bookshelves that's really cool too and like the weirdest part is probably dealing with like my my friends and family who like don't read and like they they don't quite get it but they feel obligated to say something or buy it and I keep telling them like you do not have to buy it because you know me you don't have to read it because you know me and it's like led to many inner awkward interactions with with my parents in particular which if you follow me on Twitter then you've you've seen the story of my dad's reaction to my book I think I would say so I don't think it's the worst part but it's definitely been the most difficult part for me or the part that I should have expected but didn't expect it's after the book comes out how much time you spend kind of not writing anymore you spend so much time talking about the book to like you know other writers at cons or like in interviews or podcasts or you go to events and or like signing books or and it's all it's all really wonderful but it's such a different kind of skill set which and I'm like a super introvert that was possible so that has that was like a really big adjustment for me and I used to like I was so nervous in the beginning that I would write out I would do only phone interviews at first because that way I could have like five single spaced pages of responses and I could literally just read them work because I was so nervous no and it's really hard to talk about your own book at first because you like you you wrote it but you don't even know what it's about you really don't yeah so that yeah and I'm still I think I'm still adjusting because I'm still doing interviews for this book but I'm now trying to write a second book and that is also really hard because you end up still thinking a lot about this story but I'm supposed to be focusing on the other story but I would so I would say the best thing is that we all have I have a favorite book in the whole world and everybody whole world and then you have writing teachers who say someday your book will be someone's favorite book and I was like yeah but like not you know like somebody will like my book but it's not going to be somebody's favorite and it I have had a few people tell me that it is their favorite book in the world and because I know how much I love my favorite book and that was really like I couldn't you know I think mine have been sort of like fans who write me so so so the thing for I guess for me is representation right like my my whole sort of motivation in writing the book was to give native representation in speculative fiction particularly in urban fantasy because I love urban fantasy and there are lots of stories with people or characters that are part native but they're not actually native and they don't live in a native world or you know any of the stuff that I know so that's you know what motivated me to write the book and that and keeping my sanity so I was taking care of a baby and working full-time and everything it was awful so but I get I get fan mail and I hear stuff like the details like you know the sneakers that are taped on the side or you know the food that they eat or the things that they say or the humor you know I've never seen that in a book before and that's my life you know from like native fans and I can't you know Express you how exciting it is to to hear you know that I got that right and it means something to these people like a girl was like crying because she she'd never seen herself in a book before like a genre bun so that's pretty that's pretty cool yeah that was definitely the highlight for me too like getting fan mail from young like Asian girls especially who are like I've never been able to find a book about somebody that looked like me in the library and I picked your book up at Barnes & Noble and now I want to be a writer too and that's that's like so cool knowing that like maybe your book set somebody else on a creative path because there are so many authors that I read during that gap year who did the same for me and that's the other highlight like once you have a book out you suddenly get to be on panels with a lot more famous people and so I've gotten to meet like some of my heroes over the last year like at Denver Comic Con I was just like I sat down and I hadn't looked at who the other panelists were and Christopher Paolini sat down next to me I just saw the whole panel being like like authors like you who I read recently and like we get to meet in person at these panels and that's just so cool being part of that community so yeah like that it wasn't something I had anticipated becoming part of my life going into publishing and that has been the best part of publishing I guess from my low like the same as Pung like the amount of writing that you have to do that is not creative writing like interviews and blog posts and like it sounds like I know I'm grateful to complain about that but it is very draining and also like if you ever do an interview with an author the worst question you can ask them is what is your inspiration because that is such a vague question and the answer is like my entire life and like the you know like the compilation of all of my experiences and books I read in things I've thought about so and like having to answer questions like that like 12 times very annoying but like we get to do it so everybody sort of mentioned a second book in the works so this is like we're mostly professional folks I think so I want to know to your comfort level what your contract look like did you sign a one book deal a two-book deal how did that go and if you did sign a two-book deal are you writing another one have you finished it what's it like to try to write this dreaded second book we sold we sold this book on a one book contract because it's not part of a series and my agent said we could try to you know push them to sign you for some second like idea at this moment but if you you know it's the first book you're ever publishing so if it turns out this fit was not great for you maybe you don't want to have a second book locked in with this editor and this publishing else until you know that and I thought it was very smart so we just signed for the one book and I ended up loving my editor and the publishing house so I mean they just they're amazing and so about about one month after this one came out and it was it had a really good first month and it was doing really well and my agent said like let's capitalize on that because everybody at the publishing house is very happy right now like you know and so I wrote a basically like a one page hit just kind of like what you would read on the back of the book like it wasn't it what definitely was not an outline it was just kind of like this is my cool idea what do you and and yeah and they so that that essentially was the option I so I sold the pitch and it kind of fulfilled the option part of the contract and that's also for a one-book deal because I don't think that's a series either so I'm now under contract for a second standalone book and how's the writing going yeah I I don't know I think it's also just a difficult idea for me to write it's set in the world ends in this book and then like lots of magic happens so I could kind of just do whatever I wanted and I found that it was a lot of world-building work but it was very easy because I could make everything up and the this next one is set like in New York City and things are real even though there's magic and that's just so when I was on my two years on submission journey I my agent had pulled my previous manuscript out and he just said he wanted to see it and then he turned up really liking it but he said you were gonna have to do some heavy revisions but I liked the core of this so we were working on that to actually be go on general submission if here and now and then didn't actually sell so it came like by the time this sold Mira gave me a two book contract and they had tentatively scheduled the second book for one year apart so this is January 2019 and then unnamed book two would be January 2020 which is if I have nothing that would be really really freaking frightening so but fortunately my agent really liked this second book and so I think in April 2009 teen basically after we finished everything with this and it was going into production I I sent my editor the second book and and she really liked it thank God because I had I had nothing prepared and my my agent was telling me that like you know if they turn it down it's okay you can ask for an extension you know like book publishing they give you these dates but they're very flexible but fortunately so they liked it and we've gone through revisions and it is done I'm actually doing we're doing cover stuff right now I turned in my final copy and I've been with these characters longer probably since like 2011 then I have with with these characters so for me to actually see them come to life is like I didn't get very like feels like I did but like no I'd do the same level like when my editor said okay we're done with with the second book it was like it was a much more longer arc it felt like a longer battle so like that was very very gratifying so that comes out in January 2020 it's called a beginning at the end and after that I am NOT under contract in on back on general submission so when we sold the poppy warrior was sold as part of a three book deal which has been good and bad the good parts are that I've ended up really enjoying working with everybody at Harper Voyager so I'm like happy to be at that publishing house and I also had a very clear idea of how the trilogy should end like I wanted to write the third book before I wrote the first book like I thought the first book was like boring like setup material but the story I wanted to tell um so it's nice like being like guaranteed that you get to tell the whole story um the downsides have been that I don't think that when you're a debut author and you're signing your first-ever contract and you're just really excited like you don't think about what it means to have a deadline for two more books especially since the second book syndrome is so bad and I suffered from it so hard it was like having to learn how to write all over again because like the first book had really like taken like I wrote it in three months but really had taken like ten years because you know that's the culmination of all like the thoughts about writing that I had and then suddenly I had to like come up with a whole new plot from scratch and like write something that was like 20,000 words longer and was just very very difficult I also think that the deadlines were very ambitious and I was about to start grad school and I'm now like a grad student at Cambridge like full-time and also writing full-time and it's just like impossible to balance everything so we've had to extend the deadlines quite a few times so I will have to go before we get to the part about like what would our piece of advice be but my advice would be there's like a lot of pressure within the publishing world to sign multi-book contracts which can be really good for the author but I think there's also a lot of pressure to sign them with really quick that are not feasible so think very carefully about whether you can get that second book in on time before you sign for a multi book contract especially for your first deal because like if you mess that up and disappoint the publishing house then like that's that's not great for the rest of your career so I wish I had thought more carefully about that before I sign for three and I'll just say mine I signed it to a book deal and my editor had the wisdom to have me write the second book before the first book even came out so storm of locusts was done and sort of in the hopper before trail of lightning was even published and because your world totally changes like has you've been in your little bubble and you're writing your debut novel and everything is great and then all of a sudden it's overwhelming it's absolutely overwhelming and so I was glad the second book was done because one of the things I think good good criticism or bad criticism people can love your book and say I loved this part of your book and then you're like oh well let me put more of that in the feedback is just you know it's sort of tremendous and so it's good if you can write as long as you can in a bubble and stay off social media because it can be the devil and yeah that's sort of and then I signed another three book deal so there'll be two more of these and I have a new series too and so I have two more contracts so yes huge and Star Wars I don't know I'm writing a star war I'm writing the bridge between the last Jedi and rise of Skywalker and that'll be out in November I am so excited for your single piece of advice to other debut authors do we have put your armor on I would say like so join a debut group or find a community because this journey is really weird especially if you're in a truly traditional publishing like like hybrid publishing and indie publishing is a little bit different in terms of marketing and publicity so if you're in traditional publishing like the milestones are are different and like there's like it feels like somebody's there's a lack of communication between like the publishing side it's like this black box where they just spit out marketing ideas or covers or things at you so it's really good to have a community going through it at the same time and everyone can say like okay I just got this is this normal should I push back on it do I have the power to push back so that community is like really really important I would say like find people who are like a little below a little before you and a little after you like and that way like everyone kind of is like this mutual support group for each other this is very this is like a very small piece of advice but it really helps me if you are like me and you did not do and are not comfortable with public speaking what I started doing was every time I had a written interview I would copy/paste the answers and the questions to like questions that I thought we're gonna come up again into a Word document and then now so I don't like read it verbatim anymore because I think it really obvious right now but a lot of times right before I'm about to have an interview or about to go do an event I will just open the document up and just read it through one time because it just like refreshes everything I want to say about my book in the best way and it calms me down and especially if because sometimes you'll do like I mean right when the books come out if it's getting a lot of traction you'll have like two interviews a day and then you're not even thinking about it anymore because everything is just but then it'll be like a couple weeks and suddenly you'll get one and you're like I don't remember what clever thing I used to say about or you know and so I just will open that document and like read it again and and then I feel like good to go so that is it's a very small trick but it's something that helped me a lot until I got more comfortable with talking about the book on the fly okay and I guess we will open it up to some questions and then we'll circle back around if we have time so mine was a year between books which was impossible like I missed all of those deadlines and we had to revise the contract multiple times it totally depends on like if you can write full-time if you have like a full time job etc but for me one year was way too short that's a good question so I I was a journalist before this came out so I already had somewhat of a public persona but in like a totally different sphere because I was a sports writer yeah if you if you look at like NHL coverage between like 2005 and like 2012 like I'm my friends told me he's like I just realized you'd seamlessly transitioned from my hockey Twitter to my nerd Twitter like the past three years it's amazing realize it but so but I did like for privacy purposes like so this is obviously this is my real name but like as I gained more presence presence on social media I tried to be very private about like my daughter like if if I do post a picture with her in it like I always crop out her face like that sort of stuff so like my personal facebook is like you know totally open to friends and family but like anything like my Instagram my Twitter I try to maintain privacy on that and I thought about pseudonym but then because I already had an established platform I just kept this and there are a lot of Mike Chin's in the world so there's like there's Mike Chen the YouTube chef there's Mike Chen my old dentist there's Mike Chen seriously in San Jose like my chin my whole dentist and it might jendi a minor-league hockey player so it's like sometimes we get tagged as each other but yeah it's I think it depends on like what level of privacy you definitely want yeah this is this is also my real name and I I don't know I think they're I guess they're definitely some reasons that you might want to use a pen name maybe if you're writing across genres or you just switched honors or your publisher ask you but I I didn't want to just because I felt like I'm gonna spend all this time writing these books and I want you know people to be able to find the real me if they're looking for that I was I am a lawyer or I was a lawyer now I'm a writer but because I practice law I practice law under my maiden name and this is my married name so and I needed that separation because I don't think that the bar would especially the federal bar would think this was cool right in a lot of ways but anyway yeah there are quite a few reasons why I went with the initials instead of Rebecca but right now the biggest one is that I also intend to have a career in academia and I want like when people to search my publications for academic work and for translations which I also want to have a career in and want that to be under Rebecca Quang and then RF Quang for like the fiction stuff sort of how like ve Schwab does like Victoria Schwab ve Schwab and like one other name I think for like like mGy a and adult novels and I think that's pretty smart it's so IP would you want to do IP work so I'm gonna take this because I like publicly pleading on Twitter to to write Star Wars so III was Doctor Who shirt and I would think actually writing doctor who would be would be really difficult even though I wrote a time-travel novel but a next-generation Star Trek The Next Generation Aran novel or a Star Wars novel I think I would be hesitant I mean especially about Star Wars or Star Trek just because I enjoy them but I don't know enough I think to feel like I could do a book justice so maybe if it was a franchise that I was just so obsessed with a new inside out but I've never tried to do that before and I would worry that I you know like it's a different skill definitely riding with in someone else's world versus a world that you're making up and you can change however you need to I would love to go because my friend is doing her and I want to be there for it I'll leave this book my favorite adventure if you can get the answer at some point do the panel come up and get this book I have a tangential question for you on but I've heard that IP for like major properties is like really ridiculous turnaround time is that true yeah so yeah so trail of lightning you know I had my entire life basically but I wrote it in about two years of writing in a year of editing before I subbed it and and storm of locusts I'd already nine months which I thought was like pretty crazy but yes Star Wars I have four months so I just get shorter and shorter but luckily I think you become a better and better writer or you know you start to understand structure more like you know what a and I will agree one of the critiques of trail is that it's sort of wobbly you know like it's not this clean through like plot but that's fine because I write character different books and but this one is really straight through the plot is very clear and it's because I became a better writer it's because I understood more what I was doing in the first book was sort of like a meander so yeah oh no no I'm I'm currently going through right now and I think what is the hardest part about it for me and it's ridiculous because like logically I know this that when I look bad or so I'm half about halfway through the first draft in my second book and it's just like a mess on fire falling off a cliff like it's a mess but that's totally normal right because it's your first straw and just like that but and so logically I know this that the first draft is always this bad and it's fine but because you spend so much time of your debut I think especially your debut right at the very end where everything's very polished and like fitting together really well and you know it's so like complete that that's kind of like the last frame of bread that was like your last normal so this doesn't feel normal anymore which it should it feels wrong and like I know this but I still sit down every day and panic and then it's hard because somebody tweets at you like I love the book of them so much it's so amazing and so you're like okay so that that is normal that is how it supposed to be and why I would say because I'm so with my with my book to being like like technically done and we're starting like the you know cover and blurbs and things like that I'm just kind of hitting like that panic moment of like okay this thing I thought I was I knew what to expect and like on paper I do but then like that we started asking for blurbs and I got my cover draft and it just hit me that like oh god like once we get the arts done like then they're gonna start submitting it to like book lists and Publishers Weekly and like the other reviews and then it's just the what if everyone hates it and and so it's like yeah it's just kind of like a lot of internal panic and I think logically like for me I always felt like this the second book is a very logical extension of where I'm going with this because it's like it's a little bit more structurally complex there's more characters matically it's a lot same things so it makes sense like I would think people would like it but what if they all hate it I think that every day I would actually ask about your cover what was the process of did you have any input into your cover cuz lots of people think that they choose their covers and that's just not true but did you have any input into your cover what did you think are you happy with it what was the process like I don't think I'm ever gonna get another cover as good as this this cover is it's it's amazing and like you know other people tell me like they really love it I really love it too when I first got the the draft of it the concept of the mobius strip if everyone can see here the concept was there but the colors and the font were different it was like almost like a neon pink gradient going to black when I just felt like that that's that's not right at all and the font was like a Times New Roman font which just didn't feel right for this book so we went back with the feedback my editor agreed with me that it was it we should change those things and so with the color scheme we have in in my living room we have a print of a steampunk TARDIS and my wife just pointed to that and she said what do you think about those colors and then I got pictures of Tara Sims you know time breaker or and chain breaker so like those very metallic covers I sent them over to my editor and she passed that to the art team and this was basically the second draft and we were all thrilled with it like as soon as I got I said like that's it we're good so I feel very very fortunate I don't think my second cover will be as good as this just because this book this cover is perfect so I I was familiar enough with publishing to know that your editor wants you to be happy with your cover like they don't just give you the one cover and they're like this is it you have to take it and so I thought I would get like maybe like one redo if I didn't like it we had five complete readers yeah it got so late that they were like okay but but and I think so I love the cover that we ended I love it so much I think it's perfect for the book but I think maybe that was the only so far that's been the only kind of interesting struggle I've had being at a publisher that's like between literary and genre because the first four redesigns they were trying really hard I think to make it look appealing to a genre audience because I think they were afraid that was the audience we were gonna get less of but because they're kind of a literary publisher they are very not good as genre covers they have tons of beautiful covers but just not yeah and so we went through like five complete redesigns and I am very grateful and I'll just say I was shown two designs for trail and it was like which one do you like a or B he's like we're gonna go with B and we went through her face like probably five times my only rule was no feathers no braids I didn't want it to have this you know sort of and so the artist did one face and I was like she looks like Gina from Jersey why is she on top of that truck and so we changed that and we did another face and so we went to like yeah what did I say five four five faces before on the face that I thought look Navajo so yeah cool thank you yeah and we went you know very a movie poster II for both the covers so I'm really happy that's awesome yeah and so maybe time for one more question yeah um actually so one of the really nice things about the second book even though it is like a hundred times more stressful is that right now I'm out that halfway point I have about 60,000 words because I just can't write short so that's like the first half even though but I just sent it a couple weeks ago to my editor and my agent because I you know now that I have an editor an agent I can be like I think I'm stock or what do you think of this or is it going the right direction and that is really nice because the first one and you you really do I mean I did at least write it completely alone I I really didn't show I showed like three other writer friends when I was done with it and that was it so I just like struggled through the whole thing alone but actually maybe I think I just spent a lot of time polishing it so the first one I didn't do that many edits on with my editor she bought it and then we did to kind of quick rounds and that was it but yeah it's very nice to be able to send her something now before I hear too far off track yeah I I would say my my editor was like not afraid to give me tough love more on this book to like this one because we were on submission for so long I actually did several revise and resubmit for four different editors before it ultimately died at acquisitions but that provided that meant that when it was bought like it was actually pretty clean and we only did like a minor revision on that but when we did do the minor revision my editor had come up with things like she had me take out an entire subplot and at first I was like oh that hurts but then she was like she gave her reasoning and I thought about it like you're right this makes it much leaner and tighter and we should do this and so I think like with with this process like my agent is pretty editorial but like my editors have been like like much more in depth and I think the the biggest turning point for me is like being much more open to like giving myself 24 hours to mourn after they suggest something that really really hurts and then just being like okay they're probably right let's take a look at this and that thank you dropping that defensiveness it was probably like the biggest thing for me my editor would put questions in the margins like what is this and at first I was like oh well let me answer that question and emerges oh no no he means in the text like the text doesn't make sense but I love having an editor it's it's great and I don't the people that push back and I'm like don't mess with my work I'm like no please tell me what's working what's not working get another pair of eyes on this because when you're writing you're so in your head and in your own world that sometimes you just can't see it and if some person you know catches it and they're like this doesn't make sense they're probably right there's gonna be someone else that doesn't think it makes sense either so and I think we're supposed to be done you so you have five minutes to get to the next thing so I think we're done and if someone wants to come tell me where my husband Avenger is the first one he gets it right gets the book yeah

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