Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Feel the fear and run for the hills, by Emma Haughton

I am delighted to welcome back Emma Haughton for this week's guest post. In case you missed her last post, you can find it here. Otherwise, settle down and read on ...

The worst is definitely over, right?
First you face the blank screen. You feel the fear and you write that damn novel anyway, and then you’re out enduring the agonies of the submission process. You get lucky – you get your agent, your longed-for publishing deal. Time to kick back your heels. You’ve crawled your way to the top of the mountain, and all that’s left now is to enjoy the panorama below. The worst is definitely over, right?

Err, no. Sadly not. Climb to the top of the ‘I’m being published’ peak and what faces you are the many slopes that still lie ahead. And they’re steep. Scary steep.

Welcome to the world of a soon-to-be-published writer, as bewildering as it is daunting. First stop post deal – the structural edits. My publisher, Usborne, presented me with a formidable list of things I needed to do to make Now You See Me into a proper book. I wasn’t at all convinced I could manage them all; hell, I wasn’t sure I even understood half of them.

Nothing to do but bite the bullet – short of handing back the advance and running for the hills. And sure enough, when I sat down and went through the editing notes systematically, marking up what I needed to do on the manuscript, I found I not only agreed with most of their points, but executing them would definitely make Now You See Me into a better book. And after the ordeal of the first set of edits, the second felt like a doddle.

Then there was the title. Now You See Me has a rich history. It started life as Coming Home, which morphed into Welcome Home when I landed my agent and publishing deal. There was a brief spell where it looked like it was going to be called Missing, then we settled on Nowhere Boy. Great, I thought, finally I can go out there are start referring to it by name, as opposed to My First Book.

Sadly not. After feedback from various trade outlets, Usborne decided we needed a new title – Now You See Me is the result. That’s what it says on the cover, and I’m sticking to it.

Talking of covers, there’s another hurdle. As a writer, you quickly discover you don’t really get much say over the images that will adorn the front of your book. This is the province of the art department, in conjunction with marketing – they, after all, are the experts in what will help sell it and what won’t. I got lucky there. I loved my cover from the very first moment I saw it. I loved the startling imagery and the sophisticated cross-over feel. Not to mention that gorgeous zingy green.

So far, so promising, but as the months dwindled towards the May 1st publication day, I faced other challenges. Principally building a platform, which entailed whole new learning curves on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Not to mention having to design and commission a website, and create a blog for it. Luckily all this has been a pretty enjoyable, and I’ve made lots of new friends along the way. And thanks to a great training day with Author Profile, sponsored by Usborne, I at least have a small clue what I’m doing.

With just one month to go to publication, I won’t deny I’m still apprehensive. I know there’s plenty more hills to climb – reviews, ratings, sales – not to mention those terrifying first appearances at schools, bookshops and festivals as a bona fide author. But at least I’m following a well-trodden path, and I’ve got plenty of people cheering me on. I might never get to the very top of the mountain, but at least I’ve enjoyed some seriously great views along the way.

Emma Haughton is a one-time family and travel journalist turned YA writer. Her first YA thriller, Now You See Me, is published by Usborne on 1st May 2014; her second, Better Left Buried, is coming out in May 2015.

Visit Emma’s website for more details, or connect with her on Facebook or @Emma_Haughton on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Emma. My review of Now You See Me is up on Goodreads for anyone who is interested. I genuinely loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes psychological drama, be they YA or OA!


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