In other weeks, we’ve talked about the surprises we’ve faced as YA authors. This week, we specifically talk about the surprising realities of being a published YA author (or soon to be published, in Angie’s case). Here are mine:
1) That the fear of failing my reader is getting stronger. I’m in the middle of revising my second book, and the feedback I’ve gotten from the first book combined with lessons learned from me reading other YA books has me wondering, “Am I ever going to nail every single layer this book needs?” I know that no author feels her book is perfect, but all I’m wanting is a book that doesn’t cheat any of my readers.
2) That I was paid a lot more for a YA book than I expected. I’d read the industry averages, and I’d expected around the $5,000 mark. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this wasn’t the amount I was given.
3) That my editor isn’t like my previous magazine editors or high school teachers. She isn’t riding me, asking me how I’m doing and if I’m on track for my deadline. She just expects for me to meet that deadline. As a result, I realized just how much self-motivation and good work ethic you need as a YA author.
4) That my titles have stuck, even though everyone’s told me never to get attached to your title. Personally, I would love for someone to come up with a breathtaking title for my 2nd book, something that screams, “Buy me! Buy 10! Put me on the NYT bestseller list!” One of my favorite titles? The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.
5) That I feel like I have a larger responsibility to my reader as a YA author. Adults have made most of their mistakes and have hopefully learned from them. A teenager still has a ton of mistakes facing them, and as a big believer of learning from others’ mistakes, I want my reader to learn from my characters’ mistakes. Nothing like putting even more pressure on myself… Some days, I wonder if being a heart surgeon is easier.