in which things start happening

So, I realize I’ve been fairly absent here the past couple of months, but it is, essentially, because nothing was happening. Nothing worth reporting, that is.

And then in January, ALL THE THINGS happened! Like:

1) I received my editorial letter. If you’re not well-versed in publishing speak, an editorial letter is a breakdown from the author’s editor that lays out all the big (proposed) changes to take place in the book. Also known as edits or revisions. It is highly anticipated and also slightly dreaded (from what I’ve gathered through talks with other writers, at least) because we’re never sure what to expect. In my case, I had discussed a few aspects with my editor before she composed the letter, but I wasn’t sure what else we’d be tackling.

My editor (the fabulous Ari Lewin) called me to tell me the letter would be landing in my inbox, stressed that it is a collaborative process, and told me to think about it for a few days and give her a call back to talk through them. The letter was, in a word, brilliant. Ari is brilliant. Her suggestions and breakdown of my novel made me realize no one else could have worked with me on this book. She just gets it: my characters, their struggles, and the world I’ve built around them. The letter is humbling and will likely be one of the most challenging tasks I’ve ever accomplished. But it’s also the best kind of challenge I can imagine and I know that by the end of my revisions, I will have written the best book I possibly could have.

2) I received my contract!

*cue dorky but necessary contract-signing photo*

And thank you to my wonderful friend Shannon M. who took said photo and provided (too much) champagne to celebrate the arrival of my contract. I feel so fortunate to have so many supportive friends who understand how much this book thing means to me.

I also:

3) Joined an in-person critique group. I have to say, I was realllly nervous about this one. I loved all of the other members when we initially met up to see if I’d be a good fit, but I’ve never been part of a critique group. It seems so bizarre now, but I only started showing my work to people four years ago, on a one-on-one basis. And to be honest, I only became comfortable with this within the last year. So, needless to say, I wasn’t sure the group thing would work for me, as I was still getting used to the whole critique partner situation.

But, like many other parts of life, it’s all about a good fit. And as soon as I started reading the submissions from the other group members, I knew how lucky I was to have joined the group. Talent for days, guys. We also have a variety of writing (poetry, novels, plays, screenplays), which keeps it fresh. My first meeting was fantastic and I already anxiously await our next one.

4) Became slightly addicted to Bravo’s Tabatha Takes Over. Look, I know. I’ve seen plenty of commercials over the years and assumed I’d hate it. I thought it was just another fluffy reality show with little merit. And is it necessary? Probably not, but as it turns out, I actually think it does a lot of good. I like Tabatha’s no-nonsense attitude (and if you know me personally, this is not a surprise). But also? She’s essentially helping people save their businesses, which includes forcing them to take responsibility for their poor business practices and implement good hygiene in the workplace. Again, if you know me, this should make so much sense.

5) I also wrote a guest post for the lovely Nova Ren Suma last week, in which I talk about my turning point as a writer. (P.S. In that post, I’m giving away of one of my favorite YA novels by one of my very favorite authors; the giveaway is open until Wednesday, February 8, so get thee to the blog immediately!) And on Tuesday, I’ll be posting an interview on The Lucky 13s blog with an author whose gorgeous YA novel debuts that day.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. And now, back to my revisions because I’M ON DEADLINE. (I’ve always wanted to say that; though I’ve worked on deadlines for my entire professional career, it seems so magical when it’s related to book publishing.)

THAT post

So, my book sold. And I’m kind of (totally) freaking out about it, still. Here is the deal announcement from Publishers Marketplace on October 18:

Children’s: Young AdultĀ 
Brandy Colbert’s debut A POINT SO DELICATE, about a ballet prodigy whose life begins to unravel when she’s forced to admit to the role she played in her childhood friend’s abduction, to Arianne Lewin at Putnam Children’s, by Tina Wexler at ICM (World English).

I am so THRILLED to work with Ari Lewin. To have been matched with an editor who truly understands the story you are trying to tell and strives to help make it the best book it can possibly be? It’s pretty much what you wish for the moment you start dreaming of publication.

Tina Wexler? The BEST agent I could ask for, and the person responsible for matching me with said editor. She called to offer representation on August 1 and called to tell me we had an offer barely two months later, on October 5th. Both calls were life-changing and ones I will never forget (if only because I babbled like an idiot for the better part of them – sorry, Tina). She has been tops on my short list of Dream Agents the four years I’ve been working toward publication, and let me tell you, she has MORE than lived up to that title. I am extremely lucky to have her in my corner.

The book? I wrote three others prior to this one, but it has been in the works since 2009. Multiple drafts have been written and tossed aside, and it took a lot of sweat and tears (no blood, thankfully) to get to a point where I had something I was really proud of. But it is a story that has been in me far longer than even I realized, much sooner than I even attempted to put it down on paper. I am just beyond excited that everything came together the way it did, that I had fantastic first readers and critique partners who told me what was working and what was not, and that I was fortunate enough to find people who believed in it enough to help me achieve my dream of publication.

More on how the story came to me and how I got my agent in future posts. Promise. This is already getting a bit long. But I do want to say that I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was seven years old; this is essentially my life’s dream come true and I am so, so happy I get to share it with you.