Monday, April 21, 2014

This writer's life: From rejection to letters from readers

Something I didn't know before? There's an invisible thread connecting rejection letters and reader letters. I wish someone had told me this years earlier.

You have to get the first kind of letter to get the second kind. 

There's probably no getting around this. You have to read the books on writing. Let others critique your work. Keep practicing. Try new things. Experiment. And yes, accumulate a few rejections.
Rejection is part of the experience so you can just say to yourself, "Wow, this rejection is part of the process - part of the experience so I will keep going until things come full circle."

I would tell all young writers that if I could.


Feb 1, 2011
Dear Author,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work. Unfortunately, we did not feel your project was a right fit for our agency. But we do wish you the best of luck.

Please forgive the form letter, but the enormous volume of inquiries we receive obliges us to respond in this manner. Thank you, and again, best wishes in your future endeavors

Feb 11, 2011
Dear Karen,

Thank you for your interest in our agency. While we appreciate the opportunity to review your work, ultimately we have decided to pass as we did not find your project to be a good fit for our agency at this time.

Sorry this did not work out; we wish you the best of luck as you continue your search for representation.

Mar 8, 2011
Dear Author,
Thank you for sharing your work with me. Unfortunately, I feel that in today's market, I cannot take on projects unless I feel strongly about them. I'm sorry to say that it didn't happen with this one.

Apr 19, 2014
Dear Ms. Harrington,
    I am fourteen years old.  I have just finished reading your book, Sure Signs of Crazy, and really wanted to let you know how much I loved reading it.  It is now one of my favorites, right at the top of the list with Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.  I want to be a writer someday and your book has only intensified that yearning.  I want to write a book that touches someone and makes him laugh out loud the way your book has done to me.  Even if that someone is a quirky fourteen year old girl who reads while the rest of the world sleeps.
     I had a journal sitting on the edge of my desk for a while, waiting to be filled, and you inspired me to fill it with words and their definitions because I, like Sarah and Finn, am completely obsessed with words.  Another thing in common between Sarah and me is that we would both rather a boy notice the book we were reading and tell us he liked it too, rather than experiencing a kiss some French guy invented.
     One thing I have been wondering since it was mentioned in the book is what the two songs were that Finn added to Sarah's iPod?  If you can answer that question please do.  
     Something I have come to realize is that the best books don't ever leave you.  They find a place inside you and stay there forever.  They are always there when you need them.  Sure Signs of Crazy has wormed its way inside me and I don't think  it'll ever leave.  Thank you for a marvelous book.
     Happy Easter,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Spanish edition of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY

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I ADORE this cover design and title! So gorgeous. Also, DEAR ATTICUS was one of my original title ideas for the book a couple of years ago so it's pleasing to know someone in another country had the same idea and impression about the story. It's so exciting to think about young readers in other countries getting to know Sarah Nelson! I say that all the time, but the thought of a story I wrote traveling around the world was almost too big of a dream to dream.

Speaking of dreaming big, let me share this recent letter from a reader with you because it reminds ME to keep dreaming.

Dear Ms. Harrington,
Although I would have prefered to have written a letter and sent it to you, I could not find an address to send it to. I would like to start off by telling you that I have just finished Sure Signs of Crazy (literally, I finished it about five minutes ago) and would like to inform you that the reality and insight of this novel has forever altered my view on life in a good way. I know that I am only fourteen, but I feel that Sarah is one of the finest fictional characters ever created. I too have read To Kill a Mockingbird and I know why Sarah looks up to Atticus. Who wouldn't? I would also like to point out the fact that more people need to read your book. If everyone in the world read your book, it could end up causing world peace :). You have officially become my favorite author. Sarah's perseverance and courage will forever inspire me. because of Sarah, I started writing a word journal. I hope it comes out as cool as Sarah's journal. Thank you.
     -a little girl with big dreams

Oh, stop my heart! The writer of this letter lifted me in a way I can't describe and I've printed it out and put it in a special place.



Friday, March 28, 2014

In which I share the Brazilian book cover for SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY

Very excited to see the cover for the Brazilian edition of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, which will be out in April. The translated titled is CLEAR SIGNS OF MADNESS. I wish I knew how to read Portuguese so I could see how Sarah Nelson's personality is translated. It's really incredible to think about a young Brazilian girl reading about a young girl from Texas. What would they have in common? What would she find interesting? Would she, like Sarah, adore Atticus Finch? Keep a diary? I love thinking about these things.

Until next time!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In which I post an update (Or, where I've been.)

Whew, this blog needs some spring cleaning and refreshing. In my defense, I haven't been a complete scobberlotcher in every area of life.

First off, I was getting in ARCs of my next novel COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS and starting a little pre-launch planning after spotting this beauty on the Little, Brown Books at ALA midwinter.

But then I fell into a giant plot hole broke my arm and had to wear this magnificent arm brace.

(The true story of this breakage is only known to me and the floor I broke it on, okay?) It was my good arm, too! My right arm, aka, the one I use the most. So I sat around and read a ton of books and watched a ton of movies. (It felt slightly wrong to eat ice cream while watching THE HUNGER GAMES. Slightly.)

Fortunately, I'd sent in a new book proposal the day BEFORE I broke it. (News about this soon, I hope.)

And then, I had to console my third grade daughter after this crushing conversation.

ME: Well, I bet Hilary Clinton is our next president.
HER: Is she a woman?
ME: Yes.
HER: So she'll be the FIRST woman president?
ME: Yes.
HER: But I was going to do that!!! (sob, sob, sob...)

Oh, to be young and hopeful and live in a world where everything is possible. I think that's my favorite quality in children.

So this week, I was able to stop wearing the magnificent brace. (Even though my daughter had discovered that parts of the brace are magnetic and was plying me with magnets.)  She even put a Vermont magnet on it. VERMONT! I was gifted with this wonderful basket by my writer friend, Polly Holyoke, who'd heard that SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY was recently recognized on the 2014-2015 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Vermont reading list!

Find the entire Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award list here. I was so honored to hear this news! The list has so many of my favorites like COUNTING BY 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan and THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING by Linda Urban!

So to celebrate, I bought myself these interesting spring flowers yesterday. It's nice to finally be able to drive and pick up fruit and flowers. It's the little things in life, right?

So you see, I haven't been a complete scobberlotcher.

Hope your spring is going great! Don't be like me and take spring BREAK literally, okay?