Every novel faces a unique journey to publication. My latest title, A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT, endured a very rough road. Here’s the story behind the story.
I started the book in 2011, finished in 2012, and celebrated when it was acquired by Egmont USA in 2013. When I received my first editorial letter in 2014, I didn’t flinch about the extensive revisions—I was excited about my editor’s feedback, knowing it would strengthen the story.
I was exhilarated to move through each stage of publication. Revisions flowed well, changes pouring from the tips of my fingers. The cover design was beautiful, a perfect fit. Advance reader copies arrived. The cover was featured on a popular blog. People congratulated me. I was thrilled.
Until it all came to a grinding halt.
One day in January 2015, I received a message that my editor needed to speak with me. Like, now. I knew it was bad. My thoughts swirled as I called her. And then I heard the worst news of all. My book was not happening.
Egmont USA was closing doors and all of the titles scheduled for release after May 2015 were dead. My book was dead. D-E-A-D. And I was devastated. Rights reverted, which was good, but how and when would another sale happen? What revisions would a new editor suggest? There were so many what ifs, so much fear.
So I did the unthinkable. I burned my book. That’s right, I burned it. I tossed an ARC into a bonfire one girl’s night, surrounded by a bunch of my sister friends, and we watched the whole thing go up in smoke. The pages curled into a glowing, fiery, lotus-like flower, beautiful and heart breaking in the same moment.
It sounds sacrilegious, right? An author burning her book? Trust me, it felt sacrilegious. But it was necessary. Healing, even. I needed to give it back—every single word and phrase and sentence, every paragraph and chapter, all of it—back to the universe and God and all of the all that is. It was an offering. A here-take-this-because-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next moment. It was me letting go and trusting that somehow, everything would fall into place.
And you know what? It worked. Soon after, my editor called my agent. She had a new job at Sky Pony Press and she wanted to talk about my book. An offer was made. A deal was brokered. And everything was in full swing before I could even believe it was happening. The edits were complete (hallelujah!). I was given a new cover that was even more perfect than the original. ARCs arrived. And the deal did not die. The book released on July 5, 2016 and is in stores as I type this closing. I am beyond grateful to see this title hit shelves. But more importantly, I have learned to let go a little, to make decisions with less fear, and to surrender my trust to all of the all that is.