Every. Step. Of. The. Way.


This is going to be another one of those “Jolene’s a realist” posts.

So. The Summer I Found You hit stores!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I may have done a little happy dance (or a big one) when I saw my book on the shelves in the DOWNTOWN SEATTLE BARNES AND NOBLE. And then again when I saw it in my Anchorage Barnes. (See mine? There in the sort of middle w/ the big flowery heart?)


So. I went to the AWP conference last weekend in Seattle where I spoke on a panel about dealing with illness and loss in YA novels. Despite the dark topic, it was a blast. AWP expected about 10,000 people to show up at that conference – I’m not sure on final numbers.

Yes. 10,000.

Some were professors and high school teachers and librarians, but nearly all of them were also writers. Nearly all of them are fighting to get a spot on a shelf in a bookstore.

That was one conference.


Here are agent query stats I pulled from THIS POST

Total queries received in 2012: 3,914

Total manuscripts requested from those queries: 71

Total clients signed from the 2012 slush pile: 2

GAH! Hard, right??

AND THEN your agent has to try and figure out which editors would be the best fit for your book.

Maybe the editor loves it, but then they have to take it to their acquisitions board where they discuss marketing and schedules and possible similar titles in their line-up. So, yep. Your book is being judged/chosen again.

IF your book is picked up, your publisher then needs to sell your book to bookstores.

Yes to the indie stores, but let’s be honest – they really have to sell it to Barnes and Noble.

And then, after ALL that, Barnes and Noble puts your book on a shelf with a LOT OF OTHER PRETTY books (see above picture), and then imagine a WHOLE STORE of books, where yours is just one. All you can do is sit back and hope enough people pick up that book so that your publisher will want to try to sell another book with you…and they may not…

So, yeah.

Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

I know people complain about their publishers, or timing, or edits, or how little say they had in certain aspects of their books, but… BUT… I also think it is so easy to forget all the huge steps it took to get your book on a shelf.

I guess what my post really comes down to is that I feel so incredibly fortunate for where I am right now. Have I worked hard? Yes.

Was a lot of my path directed by right person/editor/agent, right time? (aka luck) Yes.

Did I just spend a weekend watching authors who are SO much further along in their career, making me a little jealous? Yep. Did it change how lucky I feel? Nope.

I’m incredibly happy to be on the path I’m on. It’s been hard at times, and I’ve wanted to give up at times, and I’ve been insanely jealous at times… BUT. When I really sit back and think about MY path, I’m thrilled and grateful and want to happy dance everywhere 😀 This is very likely to change next week, lol.

Just wanted to share my gratitude for the very bizarre path I’ve had to publication…

What have you been grateful for lately?

~ Jolene


7 thoughts on “Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

  1. You are MY inspiration! Not to be a total kiss-ass but you are an example of a writer who gets it right. You aren’t afraid to share your insecurities, and you are hugely supportive of others. When you got an agent, you didn’t suddenly stop talking to people like me who are still trying to figure everything out. And, oh yeah, you are freakishly talented – so… in spite of all the hurdles, you make it clear that all of those challenges are worth going through to get to the place you are now.

    Grateful? Today I am grateful to all the people sharing my new book cover! 😀

  2. “This is most likely to change next week.”

    Haha, yup. Writer PMS.

    I think about being on the shelf ALL THE TIME, and I often forget everything else I’ve done despite not being in a bookstore.

    Hmm… I’m grateful for… gosh it’s early. I can’t even think. I’m grateful my internet is working this morning, lol!

    1. You have accomplished SO much. I LOVE your books. I love that you’ve stayed true to who you are as a writer and I love your ability to make me laugh and swoon at the same time 😉

  3. Darn. I was gonna say how I’m grateful for your posts, but Kyra beat me too it. So, I’m grateful for the end of hockey season almost being here. Wait, maybe that’s not what you meant.

    Okay how’s this. I’m grateful for a husband that doesn’t complain how messy our computer room is.

    And now, you must excuse me because I need to go to B&N to look for your book. Okay, not yet cause I’m in my pajama pants, unshowered, and I don’t think B&N is even open yet, but I will soon. And by soon, I mean this week. 🙂

    Congrats on your first (solo) project being in B&N–that’s so exciting.

    1. THANKS!! It is SO super exciting to have a solo project out. There was something fun about sharing that experience w/ Kelley/Nyrae but to know what I can also do it alone was AMAZING.

  4. I don’t dance (at least not sober) but I will do the happy dance for you and your book on the shelf. I’ve been away too long, I missed all the anticipation, but I’m THRILLED for you!

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