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Freakling (Psi Chronicles, #1)
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Publishing Tips

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message 1: by Lana, Author (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lana Krumwiede | 20 comments Mod
Here's the thing about publishing tips: Not every strategy is going to work for everyone. Or for every book, for that matter. Aspiring authors have a difficult task in soaking in all the tips you can find, figuring out which ones are most likely to work for your situation, and keep trying. And keep writing. And keep submitting. Chances are, it will take longer than you think it will. Much longer.

Molly Cusick | 1 comments Hi Lana!

Like many authors, you get creative feedback and advice from a variety of sources: your critique group, your agent, your editor, reviewers, and even the readers of FREAKLING while they wait for ARCHON to be published. How do you sort through all that feedback to figure out what works best for the story? Do you have any advice for dealing with criticism, constructive or otherwise?

(Full disclosure: I have the very good fortune to be Lana's literary agent.)


message 3: by Lana, Author (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lana Krumwiede | 20 comments Mod
Hi Molly!

I do get feedback from a lot of sources, and I like it that way!

Sometimes, the feedback has to do with something that the reader has assumed about where the story is headed when I never intended to take the story in that direction. In that case, instead of implementing the suggestion, I need to go back and figure out what about my writing led them to draw that conclusion, and fix that.

On the other hand, maybe that new direction would be a really great thing to try. I'm a big believer in trying anything that strikes me as having good story potential. I actually enjoy writing the same thing different ways, then I can choose the version I like the best. That works well for short segments, but it's probably not wise to invest too much time going down a certain path until I'm sure that's where I want to go.

I suppose my main criteria for feedback is, would this make the story stronger? Stronger could be more engaging for the reader, deeper emotions, richer setting or characterization. If the answer is yes, I feel like I owe it to my story to at least try it.

The other part of it is to separate myself from my story. Offering feedback about my story is not the same as passing judgement on me personally. If I am honest with myself, not even I like everything I write during the first-draft stage. I really rely on feedback to get my writing where I want it to be.

I feel so lucky to work with Molly, Kaylan, and all my writing group friends who excel in feedback greatness!

message 4: by Jamie (last edited Aug 28, 2013 09:33AM) (new) - added it

Jamie Krakover (rockets2writing) | 3 comments Lana thanks for sharing this great advice. This all really resonated with me. Especially the last line in your first comment.

My question is: I know aside from strong writing and a good story, publishing also focuses quite a bit on is this a story that will sell. Have you ever been asked to consider changes to make your story more marketable? If so how did you handle that? Also at what point if any in the whole publishing process did marketability really come into play?

And on a side note, I really enjoyed meeting you at YALSA in St. Louis last year :)

message 5: by Lana, Author (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lana Krumwiede | 20 comments Mod
Hi Jamie, thanks for dropping in!

This is a great question. I've heard stories about issues like this, but it has never happened to me.

About the closest thing was in the very early stages of writing Freakling (long before I had an agent or an editor), I wasn't sure if it should be middle grade or young adult. I went to a writing conference and brought the first couple of chapters for a professional critique session. I had started out writing Freakling as young adult, and the agent I was speaking with said she thought it would be more suitable, more marketable, for middle grade. We discussed that a bit, and she made some very good points.

I went home with a lot to think about, and decided to try it with a younger Taemon and write for middle grade readers instead. After that, I did feel that the story was working better, and continued on that path.

So I guess that goes back to my rule for feedback: does it make the story stronger? Sometimes stronger means more marketable, but more marketable is not necessarily the same thing as stronger.

For me, stronger story has to trump more marketable. I feel like I would have to have a really good reason for choosing more marketable if it meant my story would have to suffer. Honestly, I hope I don't ever have to make that choice!

message 6: by Lana, Author (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lana Krumwiede | 20 comments Mod
Another thing I should mention is that this is a very personal choice for a writer. If other people choose marketability over story quality, there might be good reasons for that choice.

This leads to the importance of choosing wisely the people you partner with--your agent, your publisher, your editor. If you value story quality and they value marketability, you might end up with some conflicts.

As you choose where to shop your manuscript around, it's a good idea to see what kinds of books this publisher or this agent is working with. Are they all about marketability? Are the books written well? Or is there a mixture?

Luckily, I was able to have a long phone conversation with my editor at Candlewick before I signed the book contract. We each shared our own visions for where the book could go, and it became very obvious that we were on the same wavelength. If I had sensed any red flags from that conversation, I would have thought twice about it.

message 7: by Jamie (new) - added it

Jamie Krakover (rockets2writing) | 3 comments Thank you! I really appreciate you sharing your insight :)

Chris Sorensen (csorensen) Molly wrote: "Hi Lana!

Like many authors, you get creative feedback and advice from a variety of sources: your critique group, your agent, your editor, reviewers, and even the readers of FREAKLING while they wa..."

Great question Molly! I have personally found that the ability to accept feedback and know how to internalize it and move forward is extremely important.

Chris Sorensen (csorensen) Lana,

You mention above that it can/will take longer - much longer - to get published than most people think. What was your personal experience with publishing time frames (i.e. submission, agent revisions, editor revisions)? What was the difference in time between your 1st book and the 2nd?

message 10: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Phelan | 1 comments Miss you, Lana. So excited for your success!

message 11: by Lana, Author (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lana Krumwiede | 20 comments Mod
Hi, Susan! I learned a lot from our group and will be forever grateful! I always smile when I read about the awesome things you are doing! Wishing you continued success.

message 12: by Lana, Author (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lana Krumwiede | 20 comments Mod
Chis! Hi! I'm just now seeing your question! So sorry I didn't see it sooner. I promise I wasn't ignoring you. :) Anyway, Thanks for chiming in with such a good question.

I first had the idea for Freakling way back in 2002. I thought about it, but didn't write it because I didn't think I was a good enough writer. But the idea wouldn't leave me alone. While I was writing magazine stories during the next five years, I kept thinking about this idea. Finally in 2007, I started making notes and researching. I started writing the first draft in January of 2008.

The first draft was a lot of exploratory writing, and I was revising as I went, which is something I've since learned NOT to do. But I learned a lot that way about what works for me and what doesn't. It took me until March of 2010 before I had a complete manuscript that was ready to query. I wrote my letter and jumped into the fray.

June 2010 - signed with Molly :) Spent the next 6 months revising with her help.

February 2011 - Freakling goes out on submission

April 2011- signed contract w candlewick. Happy day!

After that, two more BIG rounds of revision with my editor. Then copyedits.

Oct 2012 - Freakling is released! Very happy day!

Thanks for a great question!

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