When I think about all the things I thought before I actually sold a novel, I realize those misconceptions all revolve around a single theme:
Once you're published, things are easy!
Or at least easier: your foot is in the door, the books are easier to write. Your agent and editor clamor for your next idea. Publishers take chances on you. You sell books you haven't even written yet, books you haven't actually imagined yet. You're in like Flynn and the ideas flow, the words flow, the reviews flow, the signings are packed, the income is comfortable.
Perhaps this is the reality for some. Yay for them!
For me, it has been anything but easy. After the release of LEAVING GEE'S BEND, I was eager to secure another contract. I submitted a novel I loved, one my agent was behind and my editor wrote about so lovingly that I didn't question for a moment that it would fly through Acquisitions.
It didn't fly at all.
It didn't matter that my first novel was already into a second printing. It didn't matter that my editor championed the work and me. There would be no contract from Putnam.
The resulting Lost and Bewildered and Despairing feeling I experienced was just like before I was ever published. It wasn't easy at all. Because failure isn't easy, whatever stage of your career.
Fortunately this story does have a happy ending.
That novel that failed at Putnam/Penguin Acquisitions sailed through at Roaring Brook/Macmillan. I landed another contract with another fantastic editor and we worked and worked. It wasn't easy, not any part.
But at long last, DON'T FEED THE BOY will be released October 16.
And now I'm doing the hard thing of selling the next novel.
Who needs Easy Street?