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Happy Monday Everyone! Today I'm thrilled to have debut author Jessica Taylor here to share about the time leading up to the release of her adventure YA WANDERING WILD. It's a great post I learned a lot fro,  and her story sounds like a really interesting adventure.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.

There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.

When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.

Now here's Jessica!

The Best Parts of a Not-So-Easy Pre-Debut Journey

Wandering Wild will officially be published tomorrow! After several years spent with this book, I almost can’t believe those words. I’m overwhelmed that after all my struggles, I also have two books publishing through Dial/Penguin in the next two years, starting with a contemporary novel, A Map for Lost Girls. Now that Wandering Wild is finally making its way into the world, I’ve been reflecting on the time it took to get to this point. 

We assume that everything gets easy once you’ve sold a book. What nobody prepared me for was that Wandering Wild’s original publisher, Egmont, would close only a few months before my book was supposed to hit the shelves, leaving my book orphaned. Sky Pony and my original editor luckily came to my rescue, but it meant a long delay in my process. Now that a lot of the sadness and frustration are behind me, I’ve realized how grateful I am that my path to publication was a little longer and more winding than most of my writing friends. During my less-than-ideal pre-debut years, I’ve learned many valuable lessons. Most writing careers struggle to take off and all have lulls, so here are my glass-is-half-full reflections on what you can gain through your struggles.

1. You Meet Amazing People Along the Way

The best part of my slow publishing process is the many writing-community friends I’ve made along the way. Navigating the publishing world alone would not only be lonely but stressful. When I need answers to publishing questions that Google can’t provide, it’s a relief that advice is only an email or text away. Most importantly, during my roughest times, my friends have provided invaluable support and encouragement.

2. There are Benefits to Everyone Else Going First

A lot of people have asked me if it was hard watching my friends find success first. The answer is
unequivocally no. Through my friends, I’ve not only gained knowledge and experience, but I’ve also had many opportunities come out of my friendships and their connections. My friends have shown me tremendous generosity by inviting me to festivals and introducing me to other publishing professionals. I’ve never felt jealous, only grateful for my friends’ willingness to help me succeed.

3. Extra Time to Focus on Your Craft—It’s the Only Thing You Can Control

The most important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that there’s only one thing we can control in this business—the quality of our work. Because of contractual obligations or only being able to submit one project at a time, I’ve had a lot of time to devote to craft. These waiting periods have helped me to avoid the problem of rushing off a draft too early and have allowed me the time to produce my best work and become a better writer.

4. It Affords You the Time and Opportunity to Learn the Business

When I started writing, I had a limited understanding that agents sell books—and that’s where my knowledge of the business ended. By having a lot of time to learn and many friends willing to teach, my knowledge has grown exponentially—I now have a working understanding of royalty statements, foreign rights, film options, the role of an agent (beyond selling a book), and so much more. With three books coming into the world soon, I’m grateful to go into the process with more reasonable expectations and a clearer definition of what success means to me.

5. You Become the Person Everyone is Rooting For

Last year, at the SCBWI LA Summer Conference, I heard agent Jenny Bent advise writers that all writing careers have lulls and that writers should always try to “be the person everyone is rooting for.” That advice resonated with me, and when I commented to a friend about it later, she said, “Jessica, you are that person to us.” I was almost moved to tears to realize she and my other friends felt that way, and in that moment, everything I’d been through was worth the heartache.

Thanks for sharing your fantastic advice, Jessica! You can find Jessica at:

Twitter: @JessicaTaylorYA

Jessica has generously offered a copy of WANDERING WILD for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through May 14th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This giveaway is for US and Canada.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday editor L. Diane Wolfe from Lemur Press and Freedom Fox Press will be doing a guest post with a five page critique

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Roshani Chokshi and a giveaway of her YA multicultural fantasy THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN

Wednesday next week I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Ronnie Ann Herman.

The following Monday follower Jessica Lawson will be back with her agent Tina Wexler with a guest post and query critique giveaway by Tina and a giveaway of WAITING FOR AUGUSTA, Jessica's new MG contemporary.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Donna K. Weaver said...

It's tough when your publisher closes. I feel that pain. Congrats to Jessica!

Karen Lange said...

Congratulations to Jessica! Wandering Wild sounds like a great story. These points - so true! I think my favorite is the people you get to meet along the way.

Natalie, thanks again for hosting and introducing me to Jessica. I'll pass on the giveaway this week. Wishing you both well. Have a great week! :)

Bish Denham said...

I can't imagine what it would be like to be that close to publication and the have it all fizzle out. But now it's all in the past and the things learned are wonderful! Congratulations Jessica, Wandering Wild sounds unique and interesting.

Bish Denham said...

I can't imagine what it would be like to be that close to publication and the have it all fizzle out. But now it's all in the past and the things learned are wonderful! Congratulations Jessica, Wandering Wild sounds unique and interesting.

cleemckenzie said...

I can totally relate to what you experienced. That happened to me just as the editor raved about my third book and had the contract ready. Oops! Out of Business sign went up and contract went into the waste basket. Congrats on carrying on and getting this book out! It sounds great.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Congrats to Jessica! Not just one but three books coming into the world. And I agree about meeting so many amazing people being the best part.

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Jessica! I love this post. I'm always rooting for my writer friends, and I'm so glad when one succeeds because I can learn from them too.

S.P. Bowers said...

Ah, Great ways to look on the bright side when things don't go exactly as planned. It's a good reminder because when do things ever go as planned?

abnormalalien said...

Wow, it sounds like the journey was tough with potholes of disappointment and fear along the way. Kudos on continuing through it; the story sounds great.

Emily Montjoy said...

Jessica, we are rooting for you!! So glad things worked out in the end. Looking forward to reading this book and others to come. Enjoy your moment! Yay!!!!

Emily Montjoy said...

Oh and I shared on Twitter about this post & giveaway!

Penny said...

I follow by email. Thanks for the giveaway!
penny dot olson at gmail dot com

Eileen said...

Aww it sounds like quite a journey but congrats on making it! You did it :D

Unknown said...

Congrats, Jessica! What a journey. Thanks for the great advice and looking forward to reading Wandering Wild.

Kristin Lenz said...

I love everything about this post! I remember reading about the books that were orphaned by the closing of Egmont, and it's great to see the happy ending playing out here. Because my journey to publication has also been very long and slow with many bumps, I've recognized many of the same blessings you've described here. Kudos, Jessica!

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for this interesting post. I love author interviews to get to know both them and their writing process/journey. i shared on tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/143808514717/literary-rambles-jessica-taylor-guest-post-and

Suzi Guina said...

Congratulations, Jessica! Here's to many more successes! Can't wait to read Wandering Wild.
I also tweeted about the post @SuziGuina

Natasha said...

Great interview!
Wandering Wild sounds like a great read!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Rachna Chhabria said...

Its very tough when a publishers closes leaving our books orphaned.

Unknown said...

Congrats on weathering the storm and getting published!

I admittedly never really thought about publishers much and found this fascinating to read. I'm glad you could make it a positive experience.

I'm hoping to win because Wandering Wild sounds different and I have a soft spot for desperate criminals.

thanks! broke(.)book(.)bank(@)gmail.com

Penelope Sanchez said...

Captivating characters! I love it when you can’t get the characters out of your head well after you read the final page. Tal, Spencer and Wen are memorable personalities wrestling with what paths they will take. I especially loved how differently characters remembered the parade from long ago that intertwined their destinies. A beautifully written, wonderful story with an intriguing setting in the Wanderer community that I could not put down.

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