the journey from writing a novel to ... what were we talking about again?

Tag: publishing process (page 1 of 2)

Other Things I Didn’t Know…

Oh you learn so much in the business. And there is so much I still don’t know.

I still don’t know how they managed to convince Costco to carry my book. No idea.  Granted, they don’t have it yet, but maybe in the fall.

I still don’t know why my book has not shown up in Kanata yet. But that’s ok.

What I learned last night, when we got home very very late from celebrating the gaffer’s 6th birthday, was that they write the back ad for the cover waaaay before the book is done.

So last night, I got an email from lovely Kathleen, showing me the back cover ad. It was really really good. And it’s pretty much the story.  I want to read it, it’s so good.

I should probably write the book now…  6 weeks and counting…

Reading: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (I inhaled Catching Fire two days ago. She is so good. I wish I had written it)

Watching: Nothing. I’m READING!!

Listening to: my teeth crunch a Lindt milk chocolate. Yum!

Eating: see above. Now for healthy lunch.


Lovely, editor Kathleen sent me the edits last night at 11pm.  She is insane to stay up that late to finish. I opened the file this morning.

Oh boy.

With the first book, I only had two pages of edits. And they weren’t even a big deal. I felt very good about myself. Granted, I had a year and a half to play with it while searching for a publisher or agent, but still.

This?  5 pages.  And oh boy, not much of it is good.

I need some major overhaul.

I forgot to give Jackson a purpose.

Pretty sad, isn’t it?  In the first book, Jackson longs to be a hero. And he gets to be one.  This one? He’s doing nothing. Just a lot of meaningless wandering around, learning nothing. Oops.

My lovely editor was tactful kind enough to tell me that it was her job to make it amazing and that it is never easy to write a book, let alone a kids’ book and that everything would be wonderful. I just had to hunker down and drink my chai lattes and get to it.

And I have 7 weeks to do it.

Let the games begin.

Listening to: the boys are listening to farting and burping noises on the computer

Reading: The Hunger Games. Oh you must read it. It’s fantastic.

Eating: peanut butter.

Watching: tonight? My husband. It’s our ten year anniversary!

Interview #4

Ok, so we find Jenn to be on the couch in the sunroom with a laptop on her lap and she’s watching SYTYCD. She’s wearing a worn gray t-shirt and green Hollister jogging pants, that are far too large. She’s drinking the new pink grapefruit Perrier water and her neurotic dog, Daisy, is asleep on a very large pillow, the size of a couch.

So, Jenn, can you answer some questions?

Yah, sure, but only during commercials, ok?

No, problem. First of all, who do you think will win SYTYCD?

Ah, that’s a tough one. I’m starting to love Lauren because she’s so adorable and so strong, but I think  it’ll be Kent. He’s a great dancer and he’s really grown.  And all the teen girls love him.  Although if Alex was still on the show, he’d win for sure.

Ok, so what have you been up to lately?

Do you not read my blog?

Uh, yes, yes, of course. So, um. How exactly did you find a publisher? I mean, it’s really hard out there getting published, especially by someone as reputable as Zondervan.

It is hard, actually.  When I finished my manuscript, I spent about a year editing it and during that time I researched a whole bunch of publishing companies and possible agents (I did not just send it to anyone, I carefully checked out what that agent had done to make sure there was a common theme.) and I had signed up for the Writer’s Guild writing conference in June of ’08 I believe.  During that year I sent out my query letter to 76 possible places and I received 35 rejections.

Does any one rejection stand out?

Oh yes. This one guy, I thought he would be a perfect agent because he was quirky and funny.  I received a rejection letter written on behalf of his assistant, who told he wasn’t interested. No reason, just not interested. And he had his assistant do it! A friend of mine was kind enough to say that he was probably the kind of guy who was too busy to answer it himself because he was doing his mom’s laundry.

That’s kind of funny.

Yah, I thought so. After. I was pretty crushed though. Anyway, so I went to the conference in Guelph, and hubby allowed me to book a hotel because I didn’t want to share a room with 6 other women while I was there. I signed up for some cool classes (ie How to Write Christian Fiction) and I signed up to sit and talk with a few members. I got to meet Bonnie Grove (who wrote Talking to the Dead) and she read my manuscript and told me I had a unique voice. I had no idea what that meant, but she explained it well.  I got to sit with Bill Jensen (an agent) and he said to send him my manuscript. I also met Lloyd Kelly who at the time was with HarperCollins, and then I met Andy Meisenheimer from Zondervan and he was awesome.  Granted he told me that they didn’t even have a children’s editor and that he was not interested in children’s fiction. But after I wore him down (impressed him with my wit and weirdness) he consented to take my manuscript when the time was right.  And then I went home. Tired, but happy.  A few months later I emailed Andy and he told me to send my manuscript to him.  I did and then two weeks later I heard from Kathleen.  It was such a high.

So you heard from Kathleen, the Zonderkids editor, and then what happened?

I waited. She contacted me in November and told me she’d get back to me near Christmas. In January I emailed her and said, Hello? Remember me? And she said, yes of course, everyone is interested, I’ll get back to you. Six months later I emailed her and said, “Um, clearly you aren’t interested, so thank you for your time” and she quickly got back to me and said, “No, no! We want you!” And then more waiting and then a contract. And then I knew it was for real.

So do you think that this is normal for most writers? I mean, you were picked up within a year of looking.

Gosh, no. I don’t think it’s normal at all. I’ve read awful stories about people taking 9 years to get picked up or they give up after a year and self-publish.  I think in my situation God was definitely on my side.  I firmly believe that all things happen for a reason, and this is happening for a reason.

So were you ever part of any writer’s clubs or critique groups?

I would have loved to have been part of one, but things weren’t in the cards for that. I mean, most writing groups around here or either not in my genre, or they were closed.  Also, with Dan working shift work and cutting trees part-time, when he’s home – I make sure I’m home. And I wasn’t going to take that time away from Jackson either.

Would you join a group now?

Honestly? Probably not.  I have a couple of friends that do a little poetry with me and I’ve tried to set up a little writing thing twice a month, but everyone is too busy.  And I kind of don’t want any feedback until I’ve written most of it. Except from my editor. Sometimes I get so ridiculously vulnerable I send her 10 emails a day.

Do you think that makes her crazy?

Oh gosh I hope not! (laughs)  She’s very kind and sweet and puts up with me. She has a ridiculously awesome sense of humour so she gets me.  I’m so blessed to have her.  I made her promise if I made it huge she’d quit and become my manager or something.  But she loves her job, so I doubt it.  Ok, can you leave me alone now? I’m trying to watch this.

yah, yah, of course.  Enjoy your show.  Can we come back again?

(Left the room to get berries and frozen yoghurt with chocolate sauce)

27 days

27 days.  Holy toledo.  It’s blowing my mind.

However, it won’t be coming to Canada for three weeks after that. Which makes no sense to me at all. Which means I will be dragging my husband down to Syracuse to the nearest Barnes and Noble to see my book on the shelf.  I’m sure a trip to ProBass will be in order as well.  But the really cool news? My book is going to be sold at Costco! Isn’t that amazing? I don’t even know how that happened.  Brilliant editor Kathleen said it was because of the video. Which I actually didn’t think was that great, but aren’t we all our own worst critic? I’ll post it once I figure out how.


Today I have a sales marketing meeting. In 5 minutes.  To talk about the marketing plans. So why am I so nervous? I have nervous poops.  I hate that. Granted, I always feel better after going (is that too much info?) but it still sucks.


The writing: going well I think. I’m sorta stuck on the tree fort part. Should I take it out? Should he find another room in one? Should there be a fight scene?  sigh.

I was reading my book last night (did I mention they came??? I have to download the photos but they are currently stored in hubby’s phone and can’t find adaptor) and man… it’s good. I don’t want to brag but it’s soo good. And now I am suffering from ‘this isn’t goodenoughitis’.

Or something.

1 minute to meeting.

wish me luck.


You’d think it would be fun. And it is. Kind of.

Actually, it’s tedious because you have to go from her edits to my original so I can make the changes. I was tempted to just retype the whole thing, but then I realized that in some places there were chunks missing and that’s not good to not read her comments.

It’s going well. Slow, but well. I’m on page 27. I have to do 187 pages. And in between, I have to email the lovely editor and ask her if I can please, please, pretty please keep certain things. Which I can’t really tell you yet. But she’s been lovely and said yes. And she even came up with a brilliant idea that I totally love and it just changed the whole ‘feel’ of the book and I love it.
She’s so good.

But now I’m tired and my shoulders hurt because I had this brilliant idea to try Pilates at home on a hardwood floor and my shoulders are tired. And my chair is terribly uncomfortable and I am tempted to go buy a lovely chair for my bum to rest on from Staples. But then I’d have to go outside. And it’s -32C.


reading: just finished ‘The Silent Governess’, ‘Because She Can’ by Bridie Clark (check for review) Am waiting for Vesey’s seed catalogue.
music: uh..funky jazz. Try ‘Kevin Yost’ and ‘St. Germain’. See below
food: one and a half of Farm Boy’s veggie samosa. I ate to much.
tv: the Bachelor. I know I’m pathetic


YouTube Preview Image


Older posts


Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑