Wednesday, March 10

Three Years: The Good, The Hard and the Totally Elating

Three years ago, I was finishing up the second book in the Violet trilogy and anxiously awaiting the release of my first book, Violet on the Runway. Here's a quick rundown of the roller-coaster ride:

The Good
Holding the first copies of Violet on the Runway in my hands was like holding a new baby. Okay, I don't have kids yet, so I can't say that with authority, but I was pretty ecstatic and excited. I did lots of silly things with the books in an afternoon photo shoot, including making this Gargoyle shelter.

The Hard
Not long after my book did come out in 2007, I learned that no one cares about your book as much as you care about your book. Like my TFC pals have been saying, it ain't all wine and roses post-publication. I basically made it my part-time job to get press for my books -- I emailed other authors, editors, any publication the world has ever heard of (I had an angle for why each of them should write about me or my books). And while I'm not sure it sold copies, I know that it helped raise my profile among editors and other writers, which is valuable in itself. Authors I respected seemed to know my name, generally, and to have heard of the books. That made me happy, even though I was tired (and a little bit sheepish) after all the self-promoting. It did get me a killer press page though -- here's a favorite little snippet from NYLON.



The Totally Elating
Here's the thing about writing YA novels: My 15-year-old self would be over-the-moon ecstatic to hear that this is my 32-year-old self's job. That someone pays me to put words on a page and create characters and dream up stories. So all the rough drafts and the false starts and the revisions and the "Am I good enough?" moments (also known as the "What if I suck?" moments, of which there are many) is totally worth it because this writing life is a dream come true. I don't know how long I'll get to do it -- we all worry about when the next contract will come and if anyone will want another book from us -- but I'm going to enjoy every minute while I'm in the game. And I hope to be in it for a long time!

PS-What really makes it all worthwhile? The readers. A fan recently emailed me about my latest novel, Lovestruck Summer, and she said, "I want to be Quinn! I want to dye my hair blue and live in headphones and fall in love this summer." And that is why we do this thing.

♥ So what was/is your 15-year-old dream? Comment below and one random commenter will win a signed copy of Lovestruck Summer!

32 comments:

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Here's to enjoying every minute, Melissa - fan mail is definitely the best!

Heather Kelly said...

I think that what you describe would have been my 15 year old self's dream as well. Here's hoping I get there! Congrats on how far you've come in three years!

Kelsey (Cheap and Chic) said...

When I was fifteen my biggest dream was to read as many books as possible and become a writer...or a vet. I loved animals as much as I loved books so I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do.

KrysteyBelle said...

Ah, I wanted to either write, or be a famous Hollywood actress. I still haven't decided.

Wendy Toliver said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa! My 15 year old self wanted to be in something in the entertainment industry. And though in small doses, I've been lucky enough to explore acting and singing and now of course I'm writing and hopefully my books entertain! :)

Alexandra Shostak said...

My 15 year old self totally wanted to be a rockstar. I was in an all-girl band and everything, and when I was 16, we "performed" at battle of the bands. Hahaha.

Llehn said...

When I was fifteen I definitely wanted to become a writer. Thanks for sharing!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Melissa, you do an awesome self-promo job!! I think your hard work is evident in all you do. :) :)

My 15 year old dream was to be an artist.

Great post, M!!

Alyson Noel said...

LOVE the Gargoyle shelter!! My 15 year old dream was to travel the world and be an author!
:)

Inked Books said...

My 15 year old self's dream was to get out of my small town and see the world. It's still my dream today. lol

Amanda Ashby said...

My 15 year old dream was to marry Simon Le Bon. Does that date me?!!!! And that's such a great email to get from your reader. Lovestruck Summer is such an awesome book! I'm forever telling people to read it!!!!!

Sara Hantz said...

Fabulous post, Melissa, I've always admired the way you promote. Hmmmm, at 15 what did I want to do.... be a singer I think..... hence my obsession with anything Idol related!

Sara Z. said...

When I'm feeling less than enthused, I always do that thing of imagining what the me of 20 years ago would say if she saw me now. She'd be pretty stoked!

Great post.

Cherie J said...

When I was 15 my dream was to become rich and famous. Now that I am older I have come to realize that having fame and money is not quite what it is cracked up to be. While my life is not quite what I envisioned then I am very happy with what I have done so far and I think that is what truly matters.

Gerb said...

My 15-year old dream was pretty simple - I lived in a relatively small college town and I wanted to get out and see the world - and to write about it. I think 15-year-old me would be pretty happy with the things I've done. (Except for packing on the pounds. She might be horrified about that...)

Laurena said...

Congradulations on the three years! My fifteen year old self was definitely torn between being a writer, wanting to travel the world and reading everything I could get my hands on!

S.o.L.a.R. said...

Oh I have been wanting Lovestruck Summer!

My dream at that time (and still today) has been to take over the world (I am a firm believer in aiming too high rather than too low :) )

hannah r0x yoUR soX! said...

I can't believe a whole country of girls aren't entering this one, because Lovestruck Summer is fantastic!!
ENTER EVERYBODY!
-Hannah S.

P.s. Please don't enter me... I already have a well-loved copy of this one. :)

MsFairyFreak said...

Well I have to go back three years. My 15 year old dream was to get a lead in a musical.

THe Howell Family said...

When I was 15 I had a whole list of things I wanted to do. Be a vet, a singer, an actress... the sky was the limit!!!!

I Read Banned Books said...

When I was (cough) 15, I wanted to be a seat filler at all the major awards show. I would get to wear the fancy dress, and fill in when a celebrity had to use the restroom or take a break. Imagine all the ppl you would sit next to? I literally thought that would be the best job in the world. Now...I'm studying to be a librarian. Just as cool!

Melissa Walker said...

Ooh, I love everyone's big dreams. Keep them coming!

zo said...

When I was 15 my biggest dream was to work for a travel company visiting places all over the world and writing reviews.

Suzette said...

well i'm not fifteen but my dream right now is to became a professional singer!! impossible, i know but thats what dreams are!
i also want to start and finish highschool with decent grades and have a decent job.

hope i win your book!
soccer_chick.11(At)hotmail(dot)com
~ Suzette

TheDreamer said...

Well, I'm not even 15 years old yet, but here's my dream: be able to do the craziest things ever without being judged! Listen to music, sing and dance all day, write and read books (become a writer) all night long (with a little bit of sleep, I guess)!!!!

Bee said...
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Bee said...
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Bee said...

When I was 15, I wanted the boy I had a crush on since 7th grade to tell me that he loved me..I wanted a tattoo, a book deal before I turned 18 and secretly wanted to be cast in an epic love story opposite Johnny Depp.

Now I'm 19, and I still want the book deal and the tattoo. Added to the list: Lovestruck Summer, 'cause it sounds really cool.

And that's a killer fan mail :D

Lea said...

Awesome post!

My 15-year-old dream was to become an actress/writer/director. Triple threat ;)

Kay Cassidy said...

Great post, Melissa! And what a sweet fan mail. Readers rock!!

Audrey; (AyC) said...

Oh my gosh, summer is almost here! yayyy!! The book looks fabulous, and I've heard tons of great things about it :)
When I was 15 (not so long ago) I wanted to drive...and now I can.. :P

dreamer1590 said...

Wow, when I was 15 I wanted a lot of things but I think the biggest was to sing a duet with Jesse McCartney. Now I'm 19 but hey, you know what? I'd still love to do that! :)