I love interviewing debut authors on the blog. This is because aspiring writers can look at their path to publication and identify what they did right. Today’s featured author is Lindsay Cummings, author of the YA futuristic thriller, THE MURDER COMPLEX (June, Greenwillow Books).
Lindsay Cummings is a 22-year-old author of YA and MG books at HarperCollins. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband Josh, her hedgehog named Hedwig, her two German Shepherds Hurley and Kai, her wolf cub Kimber, and a draft horse named Dan the Man. Lindsay deals with Chronic Fatigue issues, believes Jesus is the reason for all of her success, and swears that book hoarding is not a problem at all. She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. You can visit her book blogging website for teens at www.booknerdigans.com. Find Lindsay on Twitter. Her other books are THE FEAR TRIALS and BALANCE KEEPERS: THE FIRES OF CALDERON (Sept. 2014).
Please describe what the story/book is about.
THE MURDER COMPLEX is about two teens who must struggle to survive in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate, and pre-programmed assassins plague the night.
Where do you write from?
Briefly, what led up to this book?
This is my debut novel. Before this, I was simply writing short stories and half-novels, but with TMC, it really clicked!
What was the time frame for writing this book?
I wrote this book in two weeks, but it took about 2 years to edit, rewrite, etc.
How did you find your agent (and who is your agent)?
My agent is Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. I originally used the Guide to Agents book to find out who I wanted to query. I saw Louise’s name (formerly at a different agency), along with several other agents I wanted to query. I got to meet a few of them at a writer’s conference in Dallas (DFWCON), and from there, Louise became my agent!
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What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
I never realized that publishing is such a slow business. Everything takes months and months of time, from getting an agent, to the book deal, to the editing process, cover design, marketing and branding. I never realized that! Another big aspect was that there are people out there who WILL read and review your book, and give the entire world their honest thoughts about it. Whether the feedback will be harsh or glowing, an author can never know. The hard part is learning how to take it all!
Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?
I started as a book blogger, and that really helped me get to know the business of publishing. What books were coming out, how authors were marketing, etc.
On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?
I think I would tell myself that I just need to RELAX and breathe. Publishing is a business, and often as authors, we forget that. Our books become our lives, and sometimes we just need to sit back, relax, and understand that it takes time to see it happen (and hard work!).
Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing the build a platform and gain readership?
I am very adamant about social media. I love Instagram and Twitter, as those have been pivotal in helping me sell books! It’s been great to connect with fans. I still review books as well for publishers, and that helps me connect with fellow authors!
Best piece(s) of advice for writers trying to break in?-
Write a great book. The publishing world may be hard to break in to, but if you have a great book, they’ll have no choice but to notice you. And on that note, EDIT. Edit like your life depends on it.
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I live with Chronic Fatigue, and it’s the real reason I began writing!
I love all 8 of the Harry Potter movies, but I always have a soft spot for The Bourne Identity.
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