Monday, January 11, 2010

Some things nobody told me about being a debut author

When my agent sold my book last year, my release date (March 23, 2010), seemed soooo long to wait.

What I didn’t realize is that tons of exciting little things would happen along the way, and those things make it not so bad to wait. In fact, I find that every dumb little thing that happens is sort of exciting when you're coming up on being a debut author.

I was reminded of this the other day on Twitter, when Tez from Tez Says twittered me a link to an Amazon page (pictured here), humorously wondering what was up with it - why am I keeping people in suspense? (At least I think it was Tez - I can’t find the twitter now!).

I went and looked and check it out! My book #2 is there! This may not seem that impressive, but it’s super exciting to me. When you're having a book or series coming out, little things like this are always magically appearing.

Or sometimes my editor will email me, and that is always sort of a kick. Even when the email is blank, it's this little shot of fun excitingness. Or, the other day, she emailed me about a thing, and the same email was sent to a few other authors I admire the hell out of, like we're this group now.

The cover
The Spectra Bantam gang asked me about what sort of clothes my heroine, Justine Jones, might wear, and any suggested backgrounds. I had all kinds of opinions and ideas and sent a bunch of photos, of course, including this one (below) I found on Sartorialist, a fashion site that fashion-savvy galpal Kwana turned me onto. And this artist at Spectra worked it up into a really cool cover. Maybe I’m blathering here, but it was sort of amazing to me that some artist in New York was paid to spend time working on a cool piece of art to represent the world and character I created. When I first got the cover (see cover on sidebar), I could barely stop looking at it.

My agent would often talk about the “editorial letter” that was coming, but I didn’t think it would actually be a letter. But it was. I really loved that. The letter had all these little things to change.

In the letter, my editor said I could change whatever other little things I wanted to, even if she didn’t call for it in her letter. But, when I even changed one little word, I was like, am I sure this is a better choice? This might be the word that goes in the final book. Am I really really sure????

Other random things:
  • Being a writer, I guess I assumed I would/should write the back blurb, which I figured would be a version of my query, but then the Spectra gang sent one that they made to me, and goddamn if it wasn’t nine million times better than I could’ve ever done. Even though I tweaked it a little.
  • “Front sales.” Just in case you’re wondering, that’s the passage at the front of the book, often sexy, that’s pulled out from somewhere inside. I didn’t realize I would even have one, but one day it appeared in my inbox. I was so surprised by the passage they chose, and they sort of stitched a few things together to make it, but I thought it was smart.
  • Writing is such a zero-collaboration zone, so suddenly having all these people with me on the project who are really good at what they do, I never expected it.
  • If I ever get a tattoo, it should be the rule for using lay, lie, lain, lied etc. Because apparently I will never get that right. In fact, after the editing experience, whenever I’m about to use the word, I think what it should be, and if I decide lay, then I use lie. And vice versa. That is my new system.
  • Oh, and also, guess who uses WAY too many exclamation points!!!!! If you were my twitter friend you would see how terrible I am about this. (And if you’re not my twitter friend, why not? … @carolyncrane)
Anyway, maybe someday I will be more jaded about this. I hope not, though, because I feel so lucky. Okay, now I'm really thinking about that lay/lie grammar rule tattoo. It would be sort of funny if I got it around my arm, like the way people get barbed wire there. Do you think I would regret it??


KT Grant said...

Oh yes, I am writing about the wonders of lay, lie and laid.

Next WIP no characters lie anywhere! LOL.

WEEE so happy for you!

Sayuri said...

Hay CJ, It sounds tremendously exciting. I am super excited for you so I can't think how buzzed you must be!

As for the tattoo, whenever you look at it it will remind you of this feeling of excitment and newness (?) right now so I say go for it!

Anastasia @ Here There Be Books said...

Can I just say that I love how your cover is sexy and exciting and interesting but doesn't use all the stuff that's now become cliched? (See: here) Yay! Just makes me more excited for your book, haha. :D

Chris said...

You really scored well in the cover art department!! :)

Hey, Wren and I were emailing about exclamation point and ellipses deprogramming... Wanna join us?! ;)

Lori said...

I'm loving the release of the Untitled Carolyn Crane 2 to Amazon. I'm thinking that they need a flag in their database to keep items out of the feed. LOL!!!

Either way, it's all super cool, and I'm way excited for you!

Natasha (Wicked Lil Pixie) said...

Right on! Congrats Carolyn, I'd be just as excited too, hell I AM excited for you!

Tez Miller said...

'Twas indeed I :-)

Renee said...

Very cool, Carolyn!

I love getting your debut writer pov.

I'm right there with you on the exclamation points. After I write anything, I have to do an exclamation point edit and pull some out.

Blodeuedd said...

I have once more forgotten those rule so yesterday when writing something I really avoided the whole lay business.

Sounds like an exciting road to being published. March is coming up soon :D

Penny Watson said...

You're on Ami, baby! It's the big time!

Patti (@TheLoveJunkee) said...

Very cool! As someone who is not a writer or ever plans to be a writer, this is an interesting look into the things that happen in the publishing business. I'm glad you're having fun with it; congratulations!

The tattoo would have to be somewhere you could see it for easy reference ;)

Mandi said...

Cool!! I love getting insights into author's book processes.

Li said...

I loved this "behind-the-scenes" type post!

And gosh, I'm getting excited about your debut novel, I can't begin to imagine how you feel!

(I'd like to say I did the exclamation marks on purpose, but it's a very bad habit of mine too.)

Hilcia said...

We are all excited with and for you!!! You have a great team and for some reason I don't think you'll ever get jaded, CJ!!!

Joining the exclamation point brigade. How the heck else are we going to show how totally excited we are to see your first release coming up?!!!

Tattoo: laylielainlied!!!(repeat) ;P

Carolyn Crane said...

KB: LOL. There's a lot of laying in some of our books.

Sayuri: Thanks! Okay, one vote for the tat!

Anastasia: OMG, that video is so funny.

Chris: I totally scored. Deprogramming! LOL. Yes, sign me up.

Lori: Thanks! Well, we are trying to think of titles now

Natasha: Thanks!!!!

Carolyn Crane said...

Tez: That's so weird I couldn't find the twitter.

Renee: I had !! all over my website and Chris told me to pull them out.

BloDDD: Right, sometimes avoidance is the only way.

Penelope: Thanks!!!

Patti:Good point - around the arm might be tricky!

Mandi: Thnx! I'm glad it's as interesting to other people.

Li:Thanks! I swing between excited and terrified.

Hil: That would be a hilarious tattoo.

Unknown said...

Congrats, Carolyn! And you know, I'm thinking that excitement never goes away. I love your cover, it's completely cool. But I would expect nothing less from an author named Carolyn.

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

Your excitement is totally contagious... and that tattoo would be perfect, because it means something to you.

I admit to a fondness of exclamation points and ellipsis. I think I can temper it down, but cold turkey isn't for me!

(See only one use of each *smile*)

Sage Ravenwood said...

Just reading this gave me goosebumps. I hope the feeling last for you as well. Awesome cover art! (Hugs)Indigo

Anonymous said...

i hope you never lose the sense of excitement either, thanks for the look into what goes on int he background too!

and i can't figure out how to use drink, drank, drunk, drunken either. we can get matching tattoos!

Katie Reus said...

I hope you never become jaded b/c your excitement is infectious! I'm w/ you, I never get lay/laid right when writing. Ever. ;) I'm so happy for you! March is right around the corner!

Leslie said...

I love it when you share all this author stuff with us!!! It's so exciting to read it!!! OMG!!!!!
LOL (couldn't resist)

Srsly, when you post about your book it is exciting and it's only two months away!

I don't think you'll ever become jaded. You have too much kid in you (not including Little CJ)to loose that enthusiasm. :)

Tez Miller said...

I delete my Tweets after they've been replied to by the person in question. I'm a bit obsessive with my organisation ;-)

Carolyn Crane said...

Carolyn - So glad you like it! And I was thinking the other day that we are both CJs too. An exclusive club.

SVZ: Who can resist a small row of exclamation points?

Indigo: Me too! And thanks!!!

Lusty: Oh, funny! Or Dived Dove for me, too!

Katie: It's the hardest rule!

Leslie: Someday maybe little CJ will just take over the place !

Tez: Oh, that explains it! That is really funny.

Jordan Castillo Price said...

Wowza, look at the cover art! That surely deserves some exclamation points!!!

Unknown said...

Actually, I think that tat would be pretty cool. A kind of commemoration of being a published author in fiction (since you've been writing professionally for years and all that). I wouldn't regret it, because it would have meaning.

Lea said...

Happy everything is coming together for you Carolyn and that cover is awesome!!

Looking forward to reading what is between said front and back cover.


Jill Myles said...

If you get that tattoo, I have to get the tattoo of "The word SEPARATE has A RAT in it" on my forehead, or something, because darn it if I don't always spell that wrong!

Carolyn Crane said...

JCP: Thanks!!!!!

Whateverfor: That is such a nice thought on the tattoo. I like that.

Lea: Right, that's what counts, isn't it? *g*

Jill: OMG, I have a terrible problem with that word, too. I'm going to use your device.

Christine said...

This is one of the loveliest posts I've ever read. I feel your excitement in this, and the little insights on your first time experiences are so special. Thanks for sharing it with me!

That's funny about your excessive exclamation points. Not that I'm a writer writer, but when I blog, tweet, email, and even text .... I use a lot of ..... and ... and then some more ......

I'm actually making a conscious effort to cut back. ;)

orannia said...

It's so nice to be able to stop and enjoy the little steps within a journey. I'm so thrilled for you and can't wait to read the book.

Tracy said...

The cover is just gorgeous CJ and I'm so excited for your release! I think it's uber cool that you got to have say in the cover and what your heroine looks like and wears on the cover. So many these days are so very different it's a little disconcerting!

And I use too many exclamations points too!!! (I threw those last two in for you. :))

LesleyW said...

Lol -on the subject of exclamation points I try to bear in mind what Dean Koontz said. (I hope I've attributed this correctly, I always thought it was him).

That authors should write like they have a finite amount of exclamation points that they can use in their lifetime. once they've used them up - that's it.

A trick I use is whenever I want to use an exclamation point I capitlize the speech before it. If you then look back at your writing and half of it is suddenly in capitals, you're probably using too many. :)

Holly said...

I love this post! It's so fascinating to get a "behind-the-scenes" look at the writer-ly life. And I think it's wonderful that you're so excited.

I can't wait for my copy to arrive...

Also? I used to know the rule for lie, lay, laid, but I've completely forgotten it. Isn't that the most crazy thing? Now I feel like a complete idiot when I try to use it, and often just skip it completely because I can't remember. SO frustrating!