Whenever I have a question about publishing, I turn to Julie Kraut. She entertains all my idiotic newbie inquiries, cracks me up with her sense of humor, and still manages to make it seem like she’s not laughing at me.
Julie writes young-adult fiction, and her first book, Hot Mess: Summer in the City, came out last year. Before she started writing full time, she worked in publishing, so she understands the book industry from both angles.
As if that didn’t make her cool enough, Julie traveled through Africa for three months this year, blogging about it along the way. So what if we haven’t met in person? Julie and I are now malaria sisters.
Today Julie’s second young-adult novel, Slept Away, hits bookstore shelves. It already has gotten several great reviews, including this one. Know a pre-teen or teenager who would enjoy reading about a city girl stuck at summer camp? Buy the book!
Here, Julie indulges me once again, answering a few questions about her own writing and publishing process.
Alexis: You’re only 27! How have you authored two books already?
Julie: I'm 26! This age defying moisturizer isn't working at all, is it?
Tell us a bit about your new release.
It's called Slept Away and is young-adult fiction. It's a story about a city it-girl who gets sent to a rustic sleep away camp and her summer of being an outcast, going through Diet Coke withdrawal, and taking more than a few kickballs to the face. It's a really fun read and in my own humble opinion, laugh-out-loud hilarious.
How long did it take you to write Slept Away?
From the way start of the proposal to the final copy edit, around 14 months.
Can you explain the process you went through to sell the novel?
Step 1: Gave it to my kick-ass agent.
Step 2: Did lots of happy dancing when she called with a deal.
Why did you decide to use a literary agent for your second book, after flying solo for your first?
Pretty much so I could skip to the happy dancing faster.
An agent helps with the proposal, does the selling legwork, negotiates the nitty-gritty of the contract, and handles all of the business so that you, the writer, can actually focus on writing.
You worked in publishing before writing full time. How has that experience helped you as an author?
Being on “the other side of the desk” is such a different experience from working at a publishing house. Still, I was really surprised by how new everything felt when I'd been in the industry for a few years. There's just more emotion involved when it's your book and that can change your perspective a lot. That being said, understanding the business has helped in terms of managing expectations, anticipating the process, and digesting the sales and marketing information.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Recognize that it's all part of the process. Everything's a step forward. The rejection, the painful editorial feedback, the blank page and blinking cursor… Whatever it is that feels like a roadblock or setback is really just a step toward getting published. Have faith in your talent and ambition.
[Alexis interrupting here: I absolutely love this advice. Everything’s a step forward!]
And in less inspirational advice, back your hard drive up. I'm still mourning what I lost in the Great Crash of ’07. Rest in peace, series of joke haikus on my overactive sweat glands, rest in peace.