Today is a big day for me. For one, I’m on Brenda’s blog, and I will always jump at the chance to work with Brenda because she cares so much about helping writers. We’ve shared a hotel room in NYC and drinks in Las Vegas, and for as flashy as that sounds, Brenda is down-to-earth, sweet, and is seriously in constant thought about how to improve her contests to help more people. I’m so grateful to be part of Pitch Wars community.
And secondly (I’m a writer, we make up words), today is a big day because it’s the release of my debut young adult book ALTERATIONS! It feels like a long time coming and at the same time, like it was only yesterday I was stumbling through editing a terrible first NaNoWriMo draft, wondering if I had any talent to pull off this writer dream.
Today, I’m thankful for the journey, and I’m thankful for the writers I’ve met along the way. Six years ago, I took the National Novel Writing Month plunge. It wasn’t pretty, but I finished. I spent the following year untangling the mess of my hastily written non-masterpiece and joined a public library writing group. I shared my work for the first time. Again, not pretty, but I did it. I figured out a new story idea and plunged in with my new skills.
Needing more direction, I went alone to a regional Romance Writers of America conference — I didn’t write romance, mind you, but RWA came highly recommended by industry pros. I ended up meeting a young adult author in the elevator and she promptly took me around to all of her writer friends at the conference, insisting I visit a local meeting. I did, and it didn’t take long to realize I did in fact write romance. My idea of romance books was tragically still stuck in the stone age of sexy pirate dude covers. I wasn’t thinking young adult could fit into capital-R-Romance, but it does, it can, and YA books with romances are all over the place.
Four years ago I entered a bunch of blog contests including Brenda’s Pitch Madness, amazingly garnered manuscript requests, and promptly freaked out. My story needed more work. When you are vulnerable, those who help you are memorable. I’m amazed by how many writers from those early days I still keep in touch with, and even cooler, how many of them have published books or found jobs in publishing.
I signed with an agent from one of those contests. Everything was happening FAST. But anyone who’s been in publishing long enough knows fast isn’t the norm. This business is tough. Books don’t always sell, so you write more of them. Submitting to editors is a nervewracking experience of waiting on news for weeks and months. Knowing that the publishers of your favorite books are reading YOUR work and then also personally rejecting it is surreal and a little terrifying. My work has been rejected by a lot of amazing people.
I say this sometimes to non-writers and they are typically quick to try to make me feel better. “Don’t call it a rejection!” But that’s the lingo in the biz, and it’s a rejection of the manuscript, not of me as a person. It’s part of the journey. I’m thankful for all the writers and friends and family who’ve held my hand through the tough days. They remind me how not so long ago I’d only wanted to write a book, and now one of my books is out in the world, today.
What I’m reminded of continually through being a mentor with Pitch Wars is how hard it is to take those early steps. To say you’re going to write a book and try it out when you don’t have connections, when you don’t know publishing lingo, and the idea of sharing your writing with another human is enough to send you couch-bound for a Netflix binge of a TV series you’ve already watched seven times and have the lines memorized. Moving forward with your writing is a milestone to celebrate.
The best part of the journey is we don’t have to do this alone. Thank you to everyone in the Pitch Wars community—mentors, mentees, writers I met on twitter who didn’t end up in the contest. I’m grateful for your encouragement, for your inspiration, and your willingness to give your time to help. Thank you for making my release day special. My hope is for any writer reading this who feels like publishing is out of reach, there are many publishing options and paths these days. Find your community, and know you’re never alone.
AUTHOR: Stephanie Scott
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Spark
PUBLICATION DATE: December 6, 2016
About the Book . . .
If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they’d think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn’t know that all the plans she’s made for them are just dreams, and that she’s the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.
When Amelia’s abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can’t imagine leaving Miami–and Ethan–for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan’s awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.
As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The “new and improved” Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she’d have to make.
Stephanie Scott writes Young Adult stories about teens who put their passions first. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke. Born and raised in Kalamazoo where there are no zoos, she’s a Midwest girl at heart. She now lives outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband. You can find her chatting about all things books on twitter and Instagram at @StephScottYA. Her debut ALTERATIONS about a fashion-obsessed loner who reinvents herself releases 12/6/16 from Bloomsbury Spark.