Friday, June 25, 2010

Journey of an Author Part 4 (and Final!)

What I wasn’t expecting is that the editor, besides taking on my book, was taking on all the images that I drew with my book. They were simple and funny and of course were exactly the characters as I imagined them. And the fact that they were buying my book in the complete package was absolutely amazing. Not only was I getting an editor, but also a designer. The same designer who had done all the covers for the series, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS.

Of course I was excited but also nervous. I was about to go through the editing process for the first time, but somehow I’d be doing that with illustrations too? I had NO idea how this would work out (the stages of the process for both the book and illustrations is a whole other blog post!)

So here comes the next part you’re going to love. WAITING. Lots of it. You get to wait for the contract in the mail. You get to wait to be introduced to your editor. For the first phone call to speak with your editor. For me, I waited to be introducted to my designer. And actually speak with her. And mostly, I waiting for the editing and revising process to begin.

You would think that’s something you jump right into. Nope. I think it took about two months. In Writers Land…this is a long time. So while I waited, I figured I would draw. It wouldn’t hurt to practice drawing my book characters. Maybe I could get them to look even better. While my originals were done in ink, I started experimenting with pastels. And charcoal. Man, did I love charcoal. And I wasn’t so much drawing my book characters anymore, but just characters in general. I was having a blast. To me, each character had a story. It was the opposite of writing to me. I was bringing my characters to life in a different form.

A friend suggested to me I should apply to a gallery show. The selected artists would be required to, in their chosen medium, create 25 art pieces (8x8 which is very small) within one month. Then it would be displayed for a month and a half, and for sale to the public. I was very hesitant. I’m so not an artist. I’m an author! But, I was so curious to see what would happen. So I applied and gave them my sample. I kind of just closed my eyes and hoped for the best but didn’t expect much as to not be disappointed.

About a week or so later I got “The Call” saying I was one of the artists selected for the gallery’s show. I was stunned. Really. I mean, if I got into this gallery, could I get into more? This was the beginning of me being an "artist" so to speak. For the rest of last year, I was in three art galleries, participated in dozens of art shows and events, traveled out of town, got invited to do open studios and other art shows. It was very fast paced and it moved me into a whole direction I had never thought about. People seemed to really like my art and often (really often) compared it to the style of Tim Burton. In four months I made over 110 drawings of all sizes and shapes and I had (still do) a boutique that sells my stuff.

Then came the time to do my revisions and copyedits and illustrations and everything with my book. I showed my designer a few new images I drew of character for my book but both her and my editor agreed they wanted the originals, as they looked more "graphic" and less cartoony and just right for the age group we were targeting. True. And I guess my new style of drawings were a bit goth as well. I had to stand back and take a look at everything with an unbiased view. I did love my original characters that were kept with me from the very beginning, although throughout the book process I would sometimes find myself slipping into a cartoonish style. oops!

By the end of the year I stopped doing art events and concentrated only on my book since I had more deadlines coming up. Afterall, my book was my first priority. The first few months into this year I finished with the illustrations of the book (the final stage since the copyedits come first) and it was amazing to see the whole process through, beginning to end. To watch it take shape, go through title changes (remember how it started out as Bathroom Blog? It ended up becoming Gossip from the Girls Room, A Blogtastic! novel). And my illustration of my MC even ended up on the front cover! Afterall those deadlines, I was invited to participate in an Alice in Wonderland themed artshow which was timed perfectly for the premiere of the Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie. Of course I couldn't say no to that! I whipped up some new art pieces and dressed in costume and was there for opening night. Our art was up for a month and I sold over half of my pieces which was great! I also did a HUGE open studios in the east bay in June of this year.

Between the art and the writing, I had no social life. AT ALL. With a husband and three young boys, I still don't know how I managed. Actually, I do. If it weren't for my husband watching the boys I wouldn't have had time to complete much of anything. So after my art shows were over and all my deadlines were complete, I took a deep breathe. I was done and it felt good to relax. I enjoyed every minute of it. Then I got a wonderful email from my agent...


My editor wanted to buy the next Blogtastic! book making it a series! Which is exactly what I wanted!! I couldn't believe it. I had the outlines written for the next couple of books, so we already had the titledfigured out for #2 and the announcement was made quickly on PM. So THAT is what I'm working on now. Rumors from the Boys Room, A Blogtastic! Novel. Which will be out Spring 2012. I have until the end of August to write it. I have longer to do the illustrations though. I've missed my characters and I'm having a blast.

Recently, I just got word from my agent (yes, MORE good news) that we received an offer in Spain for my first book. It will be translated and published there in April 2011. Yay!

So I have to say, in this last year my life has been pretty fabulous. More than fabulous. It's been a dream come true. And then some. And the fact that my dream led to another hidden dream that I was unaware of at the time (art) is pretty awesome. You never know where the path you're on will take you.

I'm always thinking this good luck will run out but then I have to remind myself it's not luck. It's hardwork. And it's finally paying off. And i'm not saying that to sound snobby in any way, but when you thinkabout it , most writers struggle to get to a certain point in their career, is it really good luck that gets us there? For most of us, it's not. For most of us, it's the fact that we didn't give up. That we believed in ourselves and our writing and we pushed ourselves through the hardest times. And when we finally get to that point that is most rewarding for us (agent or publishing) we should look on that at smile, and not think of it as luck. Because if it was luck, anyone could do it. And if it was luck, we wouldn't struggle so hard and have so much rejection.

And really, without the struggle and rejection, would we really appreciate the reward so much in the end if we hadn't worked so hard for it?

My motto is: It's not a matter of IF it happens. It's a matter of WHEN. Don't give up and always believe in yourself and with that, you will acheive your dreams.

And with each rejection, allow yourself ONE day of self pity and wallowing and pouting and crying. But ONLY ONE day.
BTW, I passed by Business Law class with a B+ :)


Amie B said...

your hard work has really paid off! and i'm so glad you kept pressing forward. had you not, maybe we'd never have met - and that would be sad.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, hurry up and wait--such an appropos phrase. Sticking it out is the toughest part--kudos for persevering!!!!