Sunday, March 23, 2014

Path to Publication - Vigilante Nights

For years, I’d heard that boy point of view (POV) books were a hard sell. Statistically proven, females are the majority readers and they read a lot of books from the female point of view. I’m not saying that females don’t read books written in a male POV or that they don’t sell. Look at John Green, Chris Crutcher, or Merit’s own Steven Parlato, among many other authors who write young adult novels in a male POV. They exist and they appeal to both male and female readers. I kept hearing that editors wanted “boy” books, yet there were so few slots for them on a publisher’s list. None of this stopped me from writing Vigilante Nights, because it needed to be written! I just figured I’d have a harder time landing a publisher.

I queried a lot of agents, and came close to an offer of representation a couple of times, but they already had a client with a boy book they were trying to sell. Just as I was ready to start querying publishers on my own, I read about F+W Media’s new imprint Merit Press and how they wanted to publish contemporary novels and no paranormal creatures or SF&F. My editor at another F+W Media imprint was able to get me an early copy of the submission guidelines. As soon as I read them, my stomach did somersaults, literally. I thought Vigilante Nights was perfect for Merit Press, and Merit seemed okay with books that had a light supernatural element. Even though it appeared Merit primarily wanted books written from a girl’s POV, they were open to books from a boy’s POV, too! My second thought was….I’m going to submit ASAP before there were no more slots for a “boy” book. Paranoid much? Yes!

Merit’s editor, Jackie Mitchard, fell in love with Vigilante Nights, and I had an offer in hand within three months.

I can’t help but think timing had a little to do with selling Vigilante Nights. :) But what really sold it was finding an editor and publishing house that loved it as much as I did. This is what Jackie had to say when she offered to publish Vigilante Nights: “Everyone is excited about VIGILANTE NIGHTS, and about the comparisons it offers with classics such as ‘The Outsiders.’ We love this book. It's just exactly the book that Merit Press was founded to publish -- with a great deal of heart, pure, strong characters, and even a hint of magical realism.”

People in the publishing business say it only takes one editor to love your book. I’m happy it was Jackie and Merit Press, and they took a chance on me and Vigilante Nights.

Read more about Merit Press books and authors at:
UncommonYA Website & Blog (unofficial author site)