Each Book Has A Story to Tell

Congratulations to Susan Nielsen, Vancouver author of The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, just awarded the 2012 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. There is no higher honour for a writer of Y.A. fiction in Canada.

Here’s what Canada’s Governor General, The Right Honourable David Johnson had to say about the G.G.’s in general: “Everyone included in the creation of a book – writers, illustrators, translators and publishers – has a story to tell.” And, I’d like to add, a long and often time-weary story it can be.

It begins with a manuscript sent off to a prospective publisher. Then there’s a wait of at least seven to nine months to find out if their answer is yes, or not. If it’s the former, you wait for a contract and an assigned editor. If it’s the latter, you cry a little, work on your manuscript some more and then send it out again.

Let’s say the answer is yes, though. If you’re lucky, you and your editor will be in sync and the many fairly substantive changes that have to be made aren’t too painful. You are working with a deadline at that point though, and that can be stressful.

When the two of you are finished, the manuscript returns to the publisher where a copy editor fine-tunes it, a cover design is produced and the wheels of promotion begin to turn. All in all, the time from submission to finished book can be a year and a half to two years.

That’s the journey of On Fire, at least, my newest Y.A. book. I’ve been fortunate in having a visionary editor, R. P. McIntyre and a wonderful group of people at Thistledown Press to help me along. When I launch the book in the spring of 2013, I know we’ll all have stories to tell.


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