Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Author Success Story - Michelle McLean

Imagine Bethany's surprise when she learned that the friend she had made in a worldwide writing forum lived in the same small town, just a few minutes away! Michelle McLean was that writer, and here on day three of Authorly Journeys week, Michelle gives us a glimpse into her successes.

Tell us about your book.
Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers will be published by Career Press in Jan 2011. It is a fun, user-friendly guide that takes the confusion out of writing essays and papers and includes tips on researching, citing sources, and proofreading, along with chapters on a dozen different types of essays. These chapters include sample drafts of every stage of the writing process for each type of essay discussed, and has tips for and examples of the dreaded SAT essay. Unlike other books that are so full of technical jargon they confuse more than help, this book uses straightforward language and simple steps to guide students through the essay writing process.

Can you tell us a little bit about your road to finding an agent and publication?
With non-fiction, I needed a query letter and a proposal describing what my book was about that included a couple sample chapters. I sent my query to my seven top picks for agent and over the course of three weeks received three requests. Of those three requests, one agent, Krista Goering, really stood out in her enthusiasm for my book. In fact, within 45 minutes of her confirmation email that she had received my proposal, she had written back asking for a phone call. After speaking with her, I knew I had found my agent and I withdrew my proposal from the other two agents and signed with her. She’s been a complete dream. I couldn’t ask for a better agent. Since she also represents fiction, I sort of hit the jackpot :)

The speed with which this took place was completely surreal. I had spent more than my fair share of time in the trenches with my first book, so I had prepared for a long, hard road with this project as well. I still find it hard to believe :)

We tweaked my proposal a bit, sent it off to a few publishers, received two requests, and signed with Career Press in February.

Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?
In this non-fiction journey, no, just because it happened so fast! But in my quest for representation and publication for my fiction, definitely. I queried my first book for quite a while before moving on to a new project. But really, no matter how many “I-am-never-going-to-do-this-again” moments I have, I just really love what I do. Too much to ever truly give up on it. We all have our down days, I think. For me, the urge to write just beats out any moment of weakness I have…even if it takes a few days or weeks or months. My fingers always end up back on the keyboard eventually :)

Thanks so much for inviting me over, ladies. It's always a joy to spend time with two of my favorite writers.

Linkage!
Papers, Prose, and Poetry Blog (for tips and help on writing essays, papers, and poetry)

And to read all of today's Authorly Journey interviews, click below:



24 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

Another great interview ladies. SO nice to har about the different journey with NF.

Candyland said...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing:)

Kristi said...

That's cool that you discovered how close you live to each other -- it's a small world out there! Congrats on your NF publication. :)

Shaun Hutchinson said...

What a great story! I almost wish I were back in school so I could use this :)

Jen said...

These are such awesome interviews!!! I love it!!! I can't wait to be one of them :)

Lydia Kang said...

Great story. Again, thanks!

Carolyn V. said...

Oh my gosh, I need that book! Only one more college report to go. =) Great interview Suzette!

Michelle, can't wait for your book. =)

Elana Johnson said...

Yay Michelle!! You are fantastic and I can't wait to see your book on the shelves. I love how we have the same, "I'm not doing this anymore." moments and then we just keep going. Priceless.

Tere Kirkland said...

Wow, congrats, Michelle, that is awesome!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I like that you included a non-fiction book today. Great story.

Bethany Wiggins said...

Michelle is one of the most awesome people I know. Thanks for being on our blog, Michelle!

Michelle McLean said...

Thanks so much, everyone. And Bethany, right back at you!! My only wish is that we could have figured out a little sooner that we lived a block away from each other LOL Thanks for inviting me over to your blog today!

lbdiamond said...

Great interview! Congrats, Michelle! ;)

Sarah said...

So cool that you guys found out you live near each other! Great interview!

Crimey said...

Kudos! Another great interview.

Kathy McCullough said...

What a great idea for a non-fiction book! It's going to be a great success. Thanks for the interview!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a great book - & what a great story! :)

I'm really enjoying these interviews!

Bish Denham said...

That sounds like a good book, not just for students, but for writers in general. Very cool!

Jennie Englund said...

That's an incredible reminder to think about non-fiction!

It's also really good marketing.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Another great interview. You guys rock!

Michelle McLean said...

Thanks again for the interview, ladies, and for all the kind comments, everyone! :)

Matthew Rush said...

Thanks for posting Suzette, and for giving the interview, Michelle. It's interesting to hear a story from the non-fiction side of the road to published author.

Liza said...

Congratulations Michelle! Thanks for the interview ladies!

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh the down days...I totally agree. Sometimes Lisa and I ask ourselves, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" but then we always get ourselves out! I guess that's what writers do best :)

This book sounds like a great resource!