Promise Me Nothing – A Very Honest Moment.

I joke a lot on this blog.

I talk more about cookies than craft, and I tend to skirt around the hard stuff. There are so many eloquent authors out there with insightful, introspective blogs, and I can’t compete. I use up all my eloquence and most of my sincerity on my actual book writing.

But I want to have an honest moment about the journey, the process. Because when I was in the early stages, still writing my first book, still searching for agents and furiously compiling lists as if the order and predictability I brought to them would carry over into my actual journey…through all that I scavenged through author blogs in search of honesty.

So here we go.

The best thing my publisher ever did for me was make no promises.

When you reach the offer part of the journey (the part where a publisher wants your book!), often the house will make promises. In addition to the advance, they’ll throw out shiny words like tour and lead and emphasis and pre-pub buzz and a dozen others, and your eyes will glaze over.

But the sad and honest reality is that the likelihood of a house following through on everything (they will do their best to give you a portion) is slim. It’s just a part of the business, and most authors are told upfront, warned by agent or author-friends, that those promises are not written in blood or stone. Still the fact remains that when we are promised something, when that seed is planted in our thoughts, we wait for it to grow.

When my publisher bought my book, they made no promises. At first I felt a little…not sad, but unsure, mostly because I knew I would have to just wait and see. Very few people would choose waiting over knowing.

And yet, the lack of promises has been the best thing Hyperion COULD do for me. It caused me early on to depend on myself and my own energy. Instead of waiting for my house to do things for me, assuming they would handle it, I set out to market myself. I became involved in the YA Rebels, more active on Twitter, my blog, FB, etc. The point was, I came to assume that a lack of promises meant a lack of support, not in a bad way, just a fatalistic way.

But my house is also known for being nurturing, for taking care of its books. It’s just always been in my nature to assume that if I’M not doing something, it’s not getting done.

The result of all this has been that when Hyperion DOES do things for me, I feel like I’m at the top of the world. Every little gift, every ARC they’ve sent or will send, every pre-pub buzz and every gesture they’ve made…not a single act is lost on me. I take nothing for granted, and because of that, every step of the process is about discovery, not expectation.

It has made, and continues to make, this journey infinitely more enjoyable.

I thank my publisher, then, for making no promises, the online community for being ever-enthusiastic and supportive, and I honestly, truly, cannot wait to discover what 2011 holds.


13 thoughts on “Promise Me Nothing – A Very Honest Moment.

  1. Julia Karr says:

    I echo everything you said. I’m much happier with no promises than broken (or unfulfilled) promises.

    I’m betting we’ll both be fine!

  2. Paul Greci says:

    Love this post, Victoria!! It’s so proactive! Thank you!!

  3. RK Charron says:

    Hi Victoria 🙂
    I am glad you took your fate in your own hands.
    If you hadn’t been on Twitter I would never have known about you nor THE NEAR WITCH. Your genuineness shines through!
    I am SO looking forward to reading your debut novel.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Leigh says:

    You really HAVE done a wonderful job of getting yourself out there, but it helps that YOU are so very genuine and honest. If you were a different person, I may have read about The Near Witch and thought “eh, but that author is so…” Instead I think “OMG AND I KNOW HER!” So kudos to you for being, well, you. xoxo

  5. Bonnie says:

    Thank you for your insight. I still have a while to go before I can even dream of being in your shoes, but I love your viewpoint on this matter. It’s very true and makes complete sense.

    If you want a further marketing tool, do you know ? You do need a LiveJournal account, but many authors will port their blogs over there. Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce, and Alexandra Bracken are three I can think of offhand. I port my book review blog to LJ. It’s another venue you might want to look into for marketing your book later this year! (THIS year!!) I read it all the time and just recommended it to a friend of mine who just got a publication deal for 2012 and they welcomed her with warm arms.

    Good luck this year! I can’t wait to support your book!

    • veschwab says:

      I have indeed heard of Enchanted Inkpot! I haven’t participated yet, but it’s something I’d love to do at one point.

  6. Great post Victoria, I love the cookie posts by the way, but it’s nice to see an honest view of your journey. It’s also nice to have some fun author blogs out there, I may be the only one who posts Mr Bean YouTube videos 😉
    I find in your blog that your voice has remained the same, many authors who jump from aspiring to pubbed change their voice (on their blogs) and you have stayed true to yourself. Looks like you and Hyperion are a great publishing match!

    • veschwab says:

      Thank you, Adrienne. I vow to be myself, on Twitter and on this blog. I made the choice awhile back to just be honest and open and me 🙂

  7. I apologize but this link is just perfect…for you…

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