I announced Wednesday night on Twitter that my awesome ninja agent, Joanna, sold my middle grade novel, BOT WARS. So I thought I’d share a little more about how it came to be.
After ALTERED sold and before the editorial letter arrived, I wanted to work on something new. I wrote some pages of a YA fantasy. Then I wrote thirty pages that were loosely based on the life of one of the ALTERED villains.
But then, one night, in the mood for something totally different, I dug up an old Word document named Robot Wars.
I had written a paragraph of this story over a year ago. Long before ALTERED was ever an idea. But that’s as far as I got. One paragraph was all I had. I didn’t even know what was supposed to happen in the story, or who the characters really were, or what caused the Robot Wars in the first place.
I had always loved the voice of the main character, Trout, and I knew someday I wanted to tell his story. So I started playing around with it, and before I knew it, I had close to 40 pages.
I sent an email to one of my good writer friends, Deena, saying, “Can you read some of this MG I’m working on and tell me whether or not it sucks?” Thankfully, Deena not only read the pages, she was also extremely encouraging and kind with her words. So I emailed Joanna and asked if she’d take a look. I think I might have said something like, “I have this MG I’m working on and I don’t know if it’s any good or not, so would you be willing to read to tell me if I’m crazy?”
We already had a scheduled phone call the next night for something ALTERED related, and during that phone call, Jo told me she wanted to shop BOT WARS. I worked on the submission package and we officially went out with it in June. Eight days later, I had a phone chat with Kate Harrison at Dial where I rambled about my ideas for Book #2.
That Friday, we had an offer. In that same phone conversation, I also found out about the German offer for ALTERED. It was a crazy amazing day. I will never, ever forget it. My boss told me to go home early, and while her reason was simply that she was happy for me, I think she worried I could not be trusted to accurately count money.
Jo and I talked deal points that night and we agreed that Dial was a fantastic place to be and that Kate was an amazing editor to work with. So I think I squeeed and said, “YAAAYYYY! I accept! I accept!”
The following Tuesday, it was official. BOT WARS was going to be a Dial/Penguin book!
And just a few weeks later, I put in my notice at the day job. My last day at the bank was July 18th.
If you had told me a year ago that I’d be writing full-time, that I’d have five books under contract, I would have laughed and said, “That’s crazy. You’re crazy. Those are pipe dreams, my friend.”
But I am here and I am doing those things. So if you’re still writing, if you’re unagented, unpublished, whatever stage you’re at, remember so much can change in such a short amount of time. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have, consider what may come in the next week, the next month, the next year. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating---If you quit today, you’ll never find out if tomorrow is the day everything will change.