Hello all you lovely people! February marks the start of the stretch between when participants start to turn in submissions to the Scholastic Art and Writing awards, and the time they receive notification. i.e. the limbo of hopes, fears, and dreams. To help allay any additional concerns (and so let everyone get down to the already intense and soul-sapping practice of merely waiting), I’m putting up a new Q&A session. Without further ado:
[B]y winning the contest, how exactly are they helping you get the word out about your book? I’ve always dreamed of getting published someday. But like, will you be famous and will your books be in borders in the young adult section? will you be at book signings?
Hi Shaon! I think your name has a really cool spelling, by the way.
The manuscript is currently still being edited/revised, and so marketing isn’t yet in the picture. For any book under contract, a marketing budget and schedule has to be created by the publisher–a process which authors don’t really have control over. In fact, the whole vehicle that is marketing is governed by lots of forces that no one has full control over–the climate that a novel will be released in; the genre; what other books are debuting at the same time, both on and off the publisher’s own list; the tastes and business savvy of buyers (we’re not just talking the consumer browsing in Barnes and Noble, but also, often most importantly, the buyers for Barnes and Noble who say, “sure, our store will order X numbers of that title”) and the hype that can (or can’t) be created around a particular release. A lot of this, of course, has to do with the amount a publisher invests in a particular campaign–but even that can fall flat if the rest of the climate isn’t right.
So will I be famous? Well, I could be philosophical/facetious and ask what fame is, exactly–who measures it, what it means–but none of that matters because no one–authors, editors, agents, friends or my dog–can predict when it’ll happen, no matter what “it” is. Would I like to be famous? Sure! Will I be? Probably not. And I’m okay with that. But I’m glad to have an agent to keep in touch with the marketing department, and to know that I have great editors and that Scholastic is excited about my book.
More practically, book signings, as well as other marketing techniques, often fall to the author these days, and while I’ll certainly invest lots and lots of my own energy into promoting this book, I also know that there are lots of things outside of my control. But would I like to see my hardback in Borders (preferably on a face-out)? Yup. That is, so long as Borders survives till then.
And from John:
You said that you had your manuscript completely finished when you won the contest. Could you have been able to have done the internship the summer that you won? Or do winners have to wait until the next summer?
I can answer this one more definitively. Yes, I could certainly have done the internship just months after winning. Winners have done this in the past, and I’m sure that they’ll do it in future. I already had summer plans, however, which required me being out of the country, and so I delayed the internship. It was a personal decision and one that I’m glad I made, but it should set no precedent for future winners.
Thanks for stopping by and, as always: Please, inundate me with questions!