Kate’s experiences with how the book came to be and the process she went through in order to get it published, etc.
Thanks for having me here today, Katelyn! Whether an author goes the “traditional” route and gets an agent first, queries publishers directly, or self-publishes their story the second it’s done, writing a book and seeing it through to publication is an incredible journey. Writing FLAWED and finding the right home for the book was no exception, and I learned a ton during the process.
It all began when the image of James watching his sister from the shadows came to me about six years ago. I was in a screenwriting class at the time, so I wrote the bones of the story into a screenplay for an assignment and moved onto other things. It didn’t even dawn on me that it might make a good book or that I should be the one to do it. I knew I was halfway decent at the whole writing thing, but it was something I did for fun. Nothing I took seriously.
A year later, after one of my professors informed me I was writing “genre fiction” (insert literary fiction snobbery here), I signed up for a romance writing class. She was right. My background in screenwriting had beaten the need to write high concept, commercial stories into my head and I couldn’t shake it, even though what I wrote came out in a literary voice. I was okay with that, but I seriously doubted anyone else would be.
Mid-boot camp, two things happened:
First, I moderated a chat room pitch contest and had to stand in for an author who no-showed. With nothing else to pitch, I talked about FLAWED. The agent was over the moon for the premise and requested to see the book immediately. Except…it wasn’t finished. And she was really disappointed. I’d just committed one of the worse newbie sins and didn’t even know it. Note to aspiring authors: Never, under any circumstances, query a book that isn’t done. I felt awful. Her initial enthusiasm was contagious, though, so I dove back into the book with more motivation than I’d had before.
Second, I participated in a query letter challenge with the agent who had expressed interest in my other book. It was a pretty good query letter, but I wasn’t sure she’d use it, much less be interested in the story itself. Her “OMG YOU’VE BEEN HOLDING OUT ON ME!” email is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever received.
But the book still wasn’t finished. Horrified this was happening again, I sent her the opening chapters and a massive apology. She loved them and didn’t yell at me for getting her hopes up. I finished the book by the end of the month and signed with that agent within a couple days of turning it in.
I had my dream agent and a book that, by all accounts, rocked. End of story, right? Wrong. As much as I loved my new agent, we couldn’t agree on a vision for the book. I learned another very important lesson about the publishing industry, though. There are a million different ways to write the same story, and if you have a shot in hell of writing a compelling book, you have to believe in what you’re writing.
Though I adored her, she and I parted ways. It was about then that I realized I’d never actually queried the book. Maybe there was someone else out there who would get me? So I picked six agents, sent them the manuscript, and received several offers. It’s hard not to get excited when crazy stuff like that happens, but I vowed I’d be more pragmatic this time. I narrowed it down to two agents who really seemed to get FLAWED, then went with the one who suggested amping up a couple of subplots that ended up being vital to the story. I never would’ve gotten them right without her help, which taught me another valuable lesson. Your “dream agent” is the person who gets your book and knows exactly how to make it better. You can’t know who that person is until they’ve read your book and chatted with you about their ideas, so don’t get hung up on someone before you get to that point.
After several rounds of edits and a MAJOR change to the end (which is why there’s an alternate ending that I’ll eventually release), we went onto submission. We had a ton of requests within the first week, but ultimately, none of the editors wanted to take a chance on such a dark, dramatic book. When I received a revise and resubmit that echoed the concerns several editors had already expressed, I knew I had a problem. I wasn’t willing to change the book into what they wanted it to be, but there was no way one of the Big 6 would take it unless I did. FLAWED isn’t a traditional book—I knew this when I wrote it—nor will I ever be a traditional author with my literary voice and commercial sensibilities, so I decided to look for a home outside the box. Entangled believed in me and my voice and the story as I wanted to tell it. I signed FLAWED over to them and haven’t looked back.
Seeing FLAWED through to publication has been a whirlwind, and I’ll never forget how nerve-wracking it was when the first reviews rolled in the day after Thanksgiving, or the surreal feeling of opening the case of print books that arrived on my doorstep on Christmas Eve. I’m still waiting to see the book on a bookstore shelf (my B&N doesn’t have most of the YA books everyone else has, damn it), but I know they’re out there. If you guys see one, take a picture for me! In the meantime, I’m going to write another book and start the journey all over again.
About the Author:
Kate Avelynn lives in Central Oregon with her husband, whom she fell in love with at eighteen after realizing he shared her obsession with music, sports, and psychoanalysis. When not devouring books, holding down her editing gig, or attempting to coax life out of the weed patch she calls a “garden,” Kate writes dark, young adult romance that blends first love, betrayal, and danger. FLAWED is her debut novel.
Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago—James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.
Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.
Sam Donavon has been James’s best friend—and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on—for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realize James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact…
And now for the prizes! Kate is giving a $15 gift card to either Amazon or B&N—your choice. All you have to do is leave a comment about the interview, along with your email address and which gift card you’d prefer. Today’s giveaway is open to International readers.
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** Thank you so much for stopping by today Kate and if there are any of you out there who have yet to get the chance to check out her latest release FLAWED, I suggest you hit the stores A.S.A.P. and change all that. It's a wonderful, deep story that I think everyone will consider long after they've finished the last page.