NaNo success story

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NaNo success story

Postby cheekychook » 27 Aug 2011, 21:13

As some of you may remember (due to all the online fretting I did) last November I was in the midst of querying hell. I'd been querying since early September and was in the throes of what would be one of many periods of query-related breakdowns. I'd never tried NaNo before, but I knew I needed to do something to keep from checking my inbox every fifteen seconds, so NaNo I did.

I loved the camaraderie of the other Bransforumers who NaNo'd alongside me and the inspirational posts by Sommer, who encouraged us all along the way. I even convinced two of my local writing group members to join me. It was just the distraction I needed. I'd had an idea for a sequel to the novel I was querying and even though I know you're not supposed to write "book 2" until you have an offer on "book 1" of a series I felt the need to tell the rest of the story for my characters. I NaNo'd my heart out and cranked out 56k by the third week in November. I was very pleased, and a little calmer since I'd finally focused on something other than the ups and downs of rejections, requests and more rejections (and the waiting....oh, dear God, the waiting...).

Anyway, over the next few months I added another 30k to the manuscript and gave it a few polishes. Plus I gave it to several of the people who'd read my first novel for me so they could read the continuing saga of the characters they'd grown to love along with me. The downside was that I feared that not just the one novel, but TWO novels with my beloved same characters would never go anywhere.

As many of you know, after 9 months and 27 days of querying and submitting my novel I accepted an offer of publication from a small press in June. I was beyond thrilled. I still am. As of this week, however, I'm (impossibly) even more excited. The same publisher asked if I had a potential sequel in mind and I was able to say I not only had a potential one, it was already mostly written. I submitted it, at their request, and last Thursday I signed a contract for them to publish it. I now have a two book deal on my original novel and its NaNo's follow-up.

I hope this encourages those of you who are compelled to write the further story of your characters in a second (or third) book. And I also hope it encourages people to give NaNo a shot---you never know what can happen!

Thanks again for all the support I've received during this long year's journey down the road to publication---I literally couldn't have done it without the support, knowledge and critique of many of the wonderful Bransforum goers. I'm eternally grateful to have you all.
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Sleeping Beauty » 28 Aug 2011, 05:00

Congratulations cheekychook! It must be incredibly gratifying to have a third to-be-published title in your signature. :D I've never tried NaNo but I might just give it a go this year.
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Sanderling » 28 Aug 2011, 08:16

That's awesome! Congratulations! It's so wonderful to hear encouraging stories like this, and it really underlines the point to me that not everything is right for everyone, but something is always right for someone. If your story's been through the wringer with your critique partners and they've given it the thumbs up, chances are it will, sooner or later, find a home.

I also think that that oft-repeated advice about not writing the sequel till the first book is sold is probably primarily intended to save disappointment for those writers whose work is, let's face it, not very good but they don't realize it's not very good. I think if you've got a few writing partners - honest, helpful, supportive partners - who have worked with you on your manuscript and given it the stamp of approval, you can probably safely move on to book two of the story if it's calling to you even if you haven't sold book one yet. I guess the only possible concern is if the publisher wants you to take the story in a different direction than what you wrote... although if that's the case, and they don't see the story from the same perspective you do, do you really want them to be your publisher?

Have fun on your journey through publication-land! It's been fascinating for me to see the ins and outs of producing a book, behind the scenes.
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Collectonian » 28 Aug 2011, 09:22

Awesomeness! Congrats :-)
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby wilderness » 28 Aug 2011, 10:34

Congrats! I know your query was driving you up the wall, so I'm glad it worked out! Is this the same novel about 2 married people who become friends and eventually fall in love? I didn't realize it could be a series! :)
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby cheekychook » 28 Aug 2011, 10:44

wilderness wrote:Congrats! I know your query was driving you up the wall, so I'm glad it worked out! Is this the same novel about 2 married people who become friends and eventually fall in love? I didn't realize it could be a series! :)


Thanks! Yes, that's Meant To Be. The sequel, Holding On, explores the first few years of their marriage to one another. So the first book is sort of one long prelude to a kiss...and the second is what happens once they're able to be together.
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby cheekychook » 28 Aug 2011, 10:45

Thanks SleepingBeauty, Sanderling and Collectonian. :D
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby bcomet » 28 Aug 2011, 11:23

That is awesome wonderful news!! Congrats!!
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Beethovenfan » 28 Aug 2011, 16:31

Fan-Freakin-Tastic! Cheeky that's wonderful! Reading about your success helps me to keep pushing forward. You are the success story I hope to be someday soon!
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Claudie » 28 Aug 2011, 20:55

Cheeky, that is so awesome! I love to hear stories like this. It puts a fat ass grin on my face. :D

By the way, the good folks at NaNo collect a list of published authors who wrote their manuscript during NaNoWriMo. You might want to send your names. They love to see it grow longer. :)
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Sommer Leigh » 29 Aug 2011, 05:53

Oh my god I am so thrilled for you! You can't see me right now, but I'm doing a little dance in my cube at work. :-)

I'm glad you loved the NaNo posts last year! I am going to do it again this year because I think I needed it as much as anyone else.

Has this been the most exciting time of your life or what? Tell us everything :-)
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby cheekychook » 29 Aug 2011, 17:03

Thanks bcomet, beethovenfan, claudie and sommer. :D

Claudie: I will definitely look into telling the NaNo folks so they can say another NaNo was contracted---any idea where I find out who/how to contact?

Sommer: I think I'm still more in denial than anything else. I'm waiting for the "it's real" feeling to hit me. When you spend a long time wanting or planning something and it finally happens it's a weird feeling. In the moments that it seems more real it feels great---scary as hell, but great.
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Claudie » 29 Aug 2011, 21:49

OK, looked up the NaNoWriMo page of published authors but there was no contact indication at the end of it. So I checked their contact page. The way I see it, you either use their Share-A-Story contact form which is where Wrimos send extraordinary nano tales, or e-mail the NaNoWriMo general hotline. They'll take it from there.
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby trixie » 01 Sep 2011, 07:39

Cheekychook! CONGRATS! How exciting!

Thank you for sharing this story. I've done NaNo twice now and am flexing the brain muscle to pull together my plot for this year's story. Your success story reminds me of why I love to write. Not because I might get published... no. It was the part where you said you hit 56K words by the 3rd week of November. I *love* that feeling and I can't wait for Nov 1 to come around again!
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Re: NaNo success story

Postby Aimée » 01 Sep 2011, 15:17

How wonderful! Congratulations! This is inspiring and makes me want to work harder during NaNoWriMo this year. :)
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