Finish your story. First drafts can be defeating, but you need to hang in through the slog. Keep writing and pushing through until you can write 'The End'.
A lover of storytelling from a young age author Amy Trueblood fell in love with the world of publishing and writing after reading an advanced reading copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Now working on her second YA novel, we caught up with Amy to chat about her publishing journey and the joy of finding untold stories in history.
Please tell us about yourself.
Hey! I'm Amy Trueblood and I write YA Historical. My latest book, Nothing But Sky is set in 1922 and follows eighteen-year-old wing walker, Grace Lafferty who is determined to get to the World Aviation Expo in Chicago even if it means risking her life every day.
How did you begin writing?
I've always written in some aspect of my life. As a kid, I journaled almost every day. I graduated from college with a degree in journalism. Afterward, I worked in advertising and entertainment. Each job always required some form of creative writing.
What inspires you to write?
I love finding untold stories in history (especially about women) and shining a light on them. Research becomes sort of a treasure hunt to find the best stories and figure out how to weave them into my fictional narrative.
Is there any particular incident that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?
There are many paths to publication. I think writers believe there's only one way to get your book on the shelves. My book is traditionally published by Flux but I had a long and winding road to get to that contract. My book was on submission for two years. I eventually parted amicably with my agent but didn't want to let the story go. I revised again and eventually sold the book on my own.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Finish your story. First drafts can be defeating, but you need to hang in through the slog. Keep writing and pushing through until you can write "The End". Even if the manuscript needs a ton of revision, you still have something to work with rather than staring at a blank page.
What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?
Getting the word out. There are so many books in the Young Adult marketplace and standing out in the crowd is difficult. My advice is to pick the social media platform that works best for you and stick with it. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, work to build your audience and spread the word.
What methods of book marketing do you find the most effective?
I love Instagram. It is quickly becoming my favorite social media platform. Recently I did a Storygram Tour, and it reached many readers I could not have accessed via any other platform. Plus, the pictures of my book were GORGEOUS!
How do you make time for your book marketing?
I divide out my day. As soon as I wake up, I write. By mid-morning, I work on whatever marketing I need to do for the day (blog posts, giveaways on social media, answering email, etc.) It's very easy to get sucked into the vortex of social media so I try to limit my time.
Any advice for approaching publishers?
Do your homework! There are many people hanging out a publishing shingle now, but not everyone is legitimate. Check out their website. Buy their books. Talk to the contracted authors. Only through research can you discover if the publisher is really someone you want to trust with your story.
How do you handle rejection as a writer?
I give myself an hour to feel bad. Once that time is up, I usually move that email (if bad news comes in that form) into a separate folder off my laptop and get back to work.
How do you deal with the isolation of writing?
I'm part of a local writing group made up of about 30 Young Adult and Middle-Grade writers. We get together a couple of times a year to talk about publishing, writing craft, and general things about the business. We share our great news and our rejections. I always feel energized after every meeting because I know I am not alone in my worries about publishing.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Write the next thing. The best way an author can build an audience is to have more books on the shelves. While you're querying, or on submission, work on the next project. Not only will it take your mind off the process, but it will put you in a position to have something waiting in the hopper in case your agent or publisher asks you what you have ready to go next.