Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jay Asher's keynote address: How to publish a book in 12 years...or less #scbwiwwa

Jay is taking us through a time line of his publishing adventures, including, but not limited to:
  • free fruit smoothies;
  • the truth about men and women and what they say about foot sizes; and
  • ill-advised laminated bookmarks featuring The ChocoBarn Cow (tagline: for Adam Kinski, life is one problem after an udder)
One of his life-changing experiences on his 12-year publishing Odyssey happened at an SCBWI national conference in L.A., when he got a critique from Kathleey Duey (a National Book Award finalist for Skin Hunger). Kathleen pitched his book to an agent right then and there. Jay won the Sue Alexander award for that manuscript...

But it's still not the year he got published. (In fact, he was only halfway there.)

Along the way, Jay accumulated three agents--one at a time. "Anyone who's ever said that agents are just as hard to get as editors? No."

He started getting more personal rejections. He got the idea for 13 Reasons Why while driving on an icy road one dark night.

It was during a creative period when he was writing everything, including SCBWI joke contests (and Pat the Bunny parodies). He also won an SCBWI grant for his work in progress. An editor was interested in seeing his manuscript. Advice from Jay: "Enter as many contests as you can; you never know what connections you'll make there." (Note: this includes costume contests.)

With his fourth agent, Jay finally started submitting 13 Reasons Why, which received 12 rejections, some of which were really hard to take. And then an offer came. And then another--the same day.

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