Melissa Marr (melissa_writing) wrote,
Melissa Marr

Research & publishing timeline questions answered

People ask about the process regularly & how long it takes and WHY it takes so long.  Between concept andrelease is typically AT LEAST 18 months.

My Publishing Timeline
End of 2004: WL the short story was written
2004-Middle of 2005: Editors rejected the short story.
Summer 2005: I started writing it as a novel.

I was querying for a middle grade novel I'd written. A few agent nibbles.  Rejections.  At that point there was not much of paranormal YA market--even Twilight wasn't published yet. EVEN if there is NO market, but that doesn't mean one should give up!!!! I still have this short story I'm obsessing over, so I start writing it into a novel.

[ETA NOTE: Yes, there were a few paranormals, but the YA crush wasn't upon us yet. The point here was that I didn't think it was likely to find much of a home. There were TWO YA faery books out there that were pretty much all I could find Holly Black's TITHE--which kicks ass--and de LInt's THE BLUE GIRL which also kicks ass. Beyond that? I was seeing much indication that there was a market for what I was writing.]

Nov/Dec 2005: An agent who rejected the middle-grade requested the YA novel (then called "Finding the Summer Queen.")

Jan 2006: I queried more agents. 
Feb 2006: I signed with an agent.
March 2006: Harper US & UK bought the book (& 2 more).  NOTE: By this point, we are 16 months btw concept & sold the book.

--here's where it starts to get blurry--

April: a half dozen more countries buy the books.
May-June: Revised like crazy with notes from Anne Hoppe (my US editor) and Nick Lake (my UK editor) .
July 2006: Copyedit
August: Galleys
September: Summoned to NYC by the publisher.

Jan 2007: pre-release tour
--during this time I am also in revisions on my 2nd novel (INK)--

June 2007: WL releases in the US, UK, & Germany
June 2007: WL debuts as a NY Times bestseller.
NOTE: By this point, we are 29 months btw concept & published book.

Summer 2007: I am in London for release of WL & then in Ireland for research & writing.
July-August: Still on the NYT list
--during this time I am also writing my 3rd novel (which was then released in April 2009) AND doing copyedit on the 2nd novel--

October 2007: Surprise! Tour
Dec 2007-Feb 2008: writing

April 2008:  INK releases
--during this time I am revising the 3rd novel--
May/June-US tour stuff
August: London tour stuff/ Scotland research trip
August: WL wins the Romance writers of America RITA for YA (the first YA RITA  in over a decade!)

--during ALL Of this time the books are still selling in other countries, releasing in some, & I am answering what email I can--

. . . and this keeps going.  One book releasing, another writing, and a another in revision . . . and releasing in various countries. 

So while from the outside it may seem that authors are sitting around in our garrets doing not a whole lot, umm, nope.  (And the reality is that my schedule is pretty tame compared to a lot of folks' schedules.) Still, I work far more than 40 hours a week, but WORK isn't really the "fun part."  It's not 40 hours a week of writing.  There are meetings & teleconferences w editors, publicists, agents, marketing (etc).  There are email & phone interviews. There are "we need ___  by Right Now" email from editor/agent/marketing/publicity.

. . . and those are the weeks when we aren't at a deadline, on tour, at a conference.

. . . and the concepts are brewing today for a book that might not happen until years from now.

. . . and the writing is going on (TODAY) for a book not releasing until 2011 . . . which I was thinking about back when I wrote the 3rd YA book. . . in part bc there are clues I needed to put in FRAGILE that will develop in the book I'm now writing.

I'm getting a lot of questions bc of my posting tidbits of lore on Twitter : )


Scholarly Journals
  • The Lion and the Unicorn
  • Marvels and Tales
  • Folklore (among others)
  • your library's online academic database
  • University library holdings (sometimes local non-uni folks can get library passes)
  • Interlibrary loan is ADDICTIVE & awesome.
  • Reference librarians (serious cool folks)
  • look in the aforementioned journals for reviews
  • browse bookstores (used bookstores=potential treasure troves)
  • Bibliographic citations at the end of academic articles
  • Anything associated w Jack Zipes (who is as close to a god as folklore scholars can get)
  • Some books by Maria Tatar or Marina Warner
  • Libraries (don't be afraid to go to the kidlit section)
  • Bookstores
  • Scholarly journals (Marvels & Tales offers trans lore)
  • Sacred Texts website has old texts online
  • Random bookstores when you travel (I stop at bookstores by default & bought an extra suitcase to carry home the books I bought in Scotland & Ireland)
  • Guidebooks for historic spots
  • Museum giftshops
Hope that gives you a start.  I can tell you what I'm reading but half the fun is the journey so simply reading the articles I read is going to be  less useful (& less fun).
Off to write so I can take tonight off to go on a date w my spouse :)
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