By Erin Petti
Laura asked me to write a post for NaNoWriMo about my publishing journey, so I came up with a quick timeline:
In 2011 I didn’t know anything about book publishing, but I had an idea for a story.
In 2012 I finished* my book and tried to figure out how to get it published.
In 2013 I partnered with my agent, Laura, around Christmas time.
In 2014 we revised over and over again – then went out on submission.
In 2015 we found a home for my book with Mighty Media Press.
(INSERT DANCING BABIES AND MARCHING BANDS HERE)
In 2016 I’ll be a debut author.
*Finished the first draft. Recently submitted the thirteen-thousandth draft.
That’s the short of it. The long of it is, well, long. It has to do with lots of very encouraging rejections and almost giving up a few times. I remember the first time I got a full request from an agent. I pretty much held my breath for two months while she read (then wept quietly when she rejected). That part got easier as the process went on. I got to know about rejection and learned to manage the waiting…kind of. Waiting is inevitable in publishing and always really hard.
I did a ton of research and met great writers through Twitter contests like The Writer’s Voice. With each piece of reader feedback, the manuscript got stronger.
All of the revising has given me a great gift: I learned how to write a book. I’m a trial and error kind of girl. Every edit has drawn me closer to the world I created, and deeper into the lives of my characters. This is particularly true for Laura, and eventually my editor Lauren’s edits. They are brilliant and have helped me create something that I think is really special. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky!
We’re hoping that THE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE will become a series. I’m drafting the second book now. I’m over-the-moon-happy to spend more time in Riverfish unlocking mysteries and helping Thelma and her friends maneuver otherworldly obstacles (and survive middle school).
In preparing for my book’s debut year, there is a lot to do and I love every bit of it. Mighty Media Press has designed buttons with my characters faces on them. BUTTONS. I mean, this is the dream. Every day I wake up and remember that my book is going to be published and have exhilarated moment of joy-panic. It’s the best. Writing and publishing a book can be a long trip, but for me it’s been worth every minute.
The publishing journey for THE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE will be approximately five years from idea to bookstore. Not sure if that’s average or slow (pretty sure it’s not fast), but every single day I feel overwhelmingly grateful to be on this particular path with my incredible Red Sofa/Mighty Media Press team
Erin Petti lives by the ocean in Massachusetts and loves to read about magic, dinosaurs, folklore, and ghosts. She has a Masters in Education and a background in improvisational comedy. Erin lives with her husband, excellent toddler, and cat (who she suspects likes her better than she’s letting on). Her debut novel, The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee, will be published by Mighty Media Press in September 2016.