Pub Rants

Writing To The Market but Also With The Book Of Your Heart–Guest Blogger Sara Megibow

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STATUS: I wish I was working late tonight but I can’t….

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? O HOLY NIGHT by Josh Groban

Marie Lu is not the only author having an exciting release week! Sara’s very first agented author book is hitting shelves today. Hard to believe but yes, it really does take that long from sale to publication for this to be the first.

What better way to celebrate than to guest blog? (Okay, I’m making her toast with champagne, too, but you get the picture.) Huge congrats Sara and Miranda!

What did debut author Miranda Kenneally do that’s making her book release so exciting? CATCHING JORDAN hits bookshelves today and the buzz surrounding this book is absolutely incredible (ESPN picked up a review of the book yesterday and the Seventeen Magazine online book club is running a feature on it tomorrow).

Here’s the secret – Miranda wrote the book of her heart. She did NOT write to some hot trend. What’s hot in young adult novels right now? Well, one might agree that fantasy and paranormal and dystopian are hot. Contemporary young adult, conversely, might be hot or might not be hot depending on who you ask (I personally am a huge fan, obviously). And, contemporary young adult sports novels? yikes.

CATCHING JORDAN didn’t sell right out of the gate. We DID find the perfect editor for it, but we also had a handfull of editors pass saying, “no one is interested in reading about sports.” Yes, the heroine of this book is captain and quarterback of her high school football team. Yes, there are some scenes on the playing field in which the teammates are talking football plays and field positions and stats. When I read this book in the slush pile I fell immediately in love with the characters, the voice, the dialogue and the personality. THAT’S what I saw in it which made me jump up and down with glee. And that’s what these tremendous reviews seem to be saying too.

If Miranda had ever asked an agent, “should I write about vampires or about football?” it’s likely her first book would have turned out differently. But, as a great credit to her and to our art, she didn’t ask that question. Instead she wrote a book that takes a chance on a concept that we haven’t seen before. And, it’s paying off!

So, if you are looking at publishing and are tempted to ask, “do you think XYZ is hot right now?” stop. Take a deep breath. Yes the market is important but so is writing a book you believe in wholeheartedly. Miranda did just that for CATCHING JORDAN. It wasn’t in the hot trend but in a sense, she did keep the market in mind because it has a luscious romantic element. Something we’ve seen in other successful contemporary YA novels recently. Cheers to an author who took a chance and to the readers (and editors) (and reviewers) (and ESPN) who are loving that gamble!


20 Responses

  1. Kristin Laughtin said:

    Congrats! It’s always heartening to hear you can write the book you’re passionate about. I think that would lead to greater happiness anyway, whether it sells or not.

  2. Angela Brown said:

    That is wonderful. I hear it often that we as writers should write what we love. I suppose that tends to be where so much of our passion can flow instead of trying to force out a book for a trend.

    Congrats all around 🙂

  3. Cath @ Constance Reader said:

    I always hate it when I hear writer friends talk about writing a marketable” book rather than the book they hold in their hearts. I’m so glad that Miranda Kenneally had the guts to do it her way! Congrats to her and you on your success.

  4. Natalie Aguirre said:

    So excited for Miranda and you as her agent. I think a lot of girls who are in sports will love and relate to this story. And it’s such great advice not to try to write to trends. Congrats Sara.

  5. Kristan said:

    “No one is interested in reading about sports”? Have these people never heard of fantasy football? Do they not realize that athletes and ESPN and the whole industry makes billions of dollars every year? Are they the same people saying that boys don’t want to read?


    As a girl that loves football, I for one am very excited about this book. Thanks for taking a chance on it, and congratulations to you both!

  6. Keisha Martin said:

    CONGRATS Sara and Miranda its refreshing to see unique books, you can’t get any more kick ass than a girl on a football team, a quarterback to boot, but what fascinated me was this was in the slush pile, that was a great gut feeling Sara.

  7. Debra Lynn Lazar said:

    Congrats Sara and Miranda, and hurray for writing from the heart! Since there are no guarantees of ANYTHING in this business, doing otherwise is bordering on insane.

  8. Donelle Lacy said:

    Big congrats to both of you for this! It’s really refreshing to see a girl football player spotlit in a YA novel. I get very tired of the ‘damsel’ heroines. It’s also so wonderful that you got to see the work and hope for this novel pay off like it has. I’m definitely a big supporter of a book of the heart.

  9. Warren said:

    Big congratulations to both author and agent. Writing what speaks to your heart will ultimately (I think) speak to the hearts of others. Looks like that was definitely the case here! Plus, I doubt anyone will complain about one less vampire book. 🙂 Again, congrats!

  10. Kristina Mathews said:

    I think people would read more sports books if there were more available. I heard somewhere that making a movie about ghosts and baseball and cornfieldds in Iowa would never work. But we all know what happens “IF you build it…”

    I keep telling myself that when I am haunted by the baseball player hero and the woman he traded for a career in the majors.

    I’m not usually a fan of YA, but this looks like a good one. And judging by the length of the ladies’ room line at sporting events, plenty of women and girls are sports fans.

  11. Deb said:

    This one is definitely on my “to buy” list. If my YA reader doesn’t love it, I plan to love it myself.

    However, “write from your heart” isn’t always a useful thing for authors to hear. What if what’s in your heart is simply despised in your market? It’s giving false hope to writers, IMO, to point to a project such as this and try to draw parallels to other projects in other markets. Kudos to the book and its writer that, this once, it happened as it’s supposed to.

  12. Stevie Carroll said:

    Congratulations to all!

    I’m not usually a fan of books about US sports, but something about that one’s catching my interest. How much sense would the sports parts make to a UK reader?

    Then again I could always read it with a handy computer and Google ready to go…

  13. Tonya Kuper said:

    CONGRATS Sara & Miranda! It’s on my TBR list. I agree completely – write what you love, even if it isn’t trending. It gives us contemporary YA writers hope. Yay!