If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been so silent, it’s not only because I’m busy with the baby, the rough draft, the new Twitter account (@LLAWrites), and a trip across the country, it’s because…
I’m getting published and I couldn’t keep my mouth selectively shut, so I just kept it entirely shut!
“Laura Lee Anderson’s YELLOW BIKE, in which a small-town high school waitress with a folk music obsession falls for a New York City rich kid… who’s deaf, to Meredith Rich at Bloomsbury Spark, for publication in 2015, by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).”
It’s been a long process! Much longer than anticipated, but from what I hear that’s just the way things go. My intrepid, tireless, faithful agent, Uwe Stender, has been submitting for a long time as email after email of, “I was so close with this one,” or “I just signed a book that’s similar,” “we don’t feel we can break it out from the very crowded market that is YA right now,” “the premise just wasn’t big enough to get the team on board,” “a bit too commercial,” “as much as I enjoyed aspects of the manuscript, I’m afraid I just didn’t love it quite enough to move forward,” “I thought it felt a little quiet,” (all actual quotes from real editors) came in. I sent him an email once saying, “I could take rejections like this all day!” and I really meant it. What an honor to have all of these people from famous publishing companies take the time to read my book and say such nice things about it.
Here are some more snippets of the rejection letters: “…it is so very much in the wheel-house of ELEANOR AND PARK, THE TRAGEDY PAPER,” “Robin and Carter are such an enticing pair,” “…both characters are handled very well as their alternating POVs invite the reader into their flirty back and forth,” “I think it’s truly a wonderful story,” “…a fresh twist on traditional young adult romance,” “It’s clear that Laura has strength in her prose,” and “…feels timeless and almost rose-tinted.”
And that’s just a random handful from a lot of great emails. Really- everyone was so kind! I’ve been an actor for years and let me tell you, this is one place where writing definitely has the upper hand. In acting, if you audition for a part and don’t get it, you often find out simply because rehearsals start and you were never called.
Again and again each editor echoed some form of the phrase, “I’m sure it won’t be long before someone else is snatching this one up!” but months passed and still no bite.
Finally, we struck gold with Meredith Rich at Bloomsbury’s new digital first imprint, Spark, and I couldn’t be happier! After about a month of contract negotiations, starring Uwe Stender (so, so grateful for his experience, tenacity, flexibility, and collaboration), I signed on the dotted line (which actually isn’t dotted, fyi) and mailed four copies of the contract to New York City in the middle of a 32-hour roadtrip.
I am thrilled that Bloomsbury Spark will be publishing YELLOW BIKE as an ebook sometime in 2015! I’ll be part of a fine community of writers with whom to network, have the full support of Bloomsbury’s international reach, and benefit from having the smart and insightful Meredith Rich at my side, helping YELLOW BIKE to be the best version of itself.
Needless to say, some changes will be made to this blog to make it more website-y and shouting things from the rooftops, among other things.
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My husband and I are not doing our most excellent Shakes program (a program in which we do Shakespeare with inner-city kids) this summer. We needed a break. But we plan to be back next summer! In the meantime, I’m going to write some blogs on how we do full-length, professional-quality Shakespeare plays in the original language with a bunch of urban kids! So tell your friends, your teachers, your librarians, and your youth program organizers- maybe some of what we do can work for you.