Recap: In Stores Now! Live Chat

Figment live chat in stores nowLast night, we had an amazing time chatting with authors Rachel Hartman (Seraphina), Alexandra Monir (Timekeeper), and Elizabeth LaBan (The Tragedy Paper) — plus special guest Erin Clarke, executive editor at Random House imprint Knopf Books for Young Readers — for our live chat all about selling your first YA novel. We had 1,000 of you join us — and all together you left 2,000 questions and comments!

You can read the whole transcript at the bottom of this post. But as a teaser, here’s our first question of the evening — which should give all of you toiling away on your manuscript some hope …

Nina at Figment:
Okay, so let’s get some real numbers. How long, from start to finish, did it take you to go from “big idea” to “big debut” — the day you saw your book on the shelves? Let’s go in alphabetical order … Alexandra?

Alexandra Monir:
Alrighty! So I came up with the idea of TIMELESS in December of 2007, but it was something I was just noodling around with in my mind…

Then I finally mentioned it to my agent in spring of 2008, and she fell in love with the idea. She encouraged me to write a book proposal, which I had no idea how to do! But I got to it…

Here’s where I got extremely lucky! The first editor that my agent sent it to was at Random House, and she loved the idea too- and I got my book deal in October 2008!

Then the real work began…

I had to turn my proposal into a real, full-length book!

I did a TON of research on the historical time periods my protagonist visits in the book…

Including two different research and writing trips! Finally I had the book done in 2010, and it was published January 11, 2011!

While there was a two-year window between TIMELESS and its sequel, TIMEKEEPER (which just came out!) the writing process was much quicker

Nina at Figment:
So about three years. Pretty speedy, it seems! What about you, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth LaBan:
Strangely that is almost exactly my time frame, too. It took me about a year to write the book. Then it took two solid years from the time Erin bought the book to the time it appeared in stores…

I was surprised that it took so long to edit the book, but it is a much better book because of the time and energy Random House put into it.

Nina at Figment:
See, everyone who complains about getting edits: Edits are good! You should want them!

Nina at Figment:
And Rachel, what about you? You had a really fascinating journey, as I recall.

Rachel Hartman:
Nine and a half years. I began writing SERAPHINA when I was pregnant with my son in 2003. …

It took so long for a few reasons. One, I write slowly…

Two, I had some setbacks. I was with another publisher at first…

But the editor there quit. I was orphaned!

Nina at Figment:
It’s like a plot twist in a YA novel!

Rachel Hartman:
I found a home a RH, but had to do extensive edits…

Because my new ed. thought the old one had taken me the wrong direction…

It was a long haul, but worth doing I think.


Read the full transcript of our debut author panel!

Just click below. What chats would you like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Bookstore image by Bigstock.

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