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.
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: