Today’s guest post is by bestselling YA author Susan Beth Pfeffer. Susan is the author of 76 children’s and young adult novels. Her most recent book, This World We Live In, is the final book of a trilogy, also comprising the New York Times bestseller Life As We Knew It, and The Dead And The Gone. Enjoy!
I sold the first book I ever wrote to the first publishing house that ever saw it. It was a young adult novel. I was 20 years old, a senior in college, and the book was written on 80% instinct, 10 % determination, 5% luck, 3% ego, and 2% skill.
I may be exaggerating the amount of skill involved.
Because I had no idea how I had accomplished what I had accomplished, I went from instantaneous success to consistent failure with no difficulty whatsoever. Six months after I started writing my first book, I’d signed a contract for its publication. It took two years before I succeeded in selling another book.
I always do better when I have goals, although I couldn’t have told you that at the time. But I did have a goal then, and now. That was to earn enough money as a writer that I would never actually have to work for a living. The only way of achieving that goal was by writing.
So for two years, I wrote. I didn’t care what genre, or even if I’d ever read a book in that genre. I wrote everything. I wrote The Great American Novel. I wrote The Amusing Murder Mystery. I wrote The Brilliant Sci Fi novel. I wrote The Adorable Picture Book. I wrote The Romantic Gothic Novel and The Plucky Nurse’s Novel. And, of course, I wrote YA after YA.
None of them sold. For two years, the only time I heard from a publishing house was when they sent me back my manuscript. [Read more…]