Today on my blog I have a guest post by the awesome Hannah R. Goodman. The author of the book Till it Stops Beating.
Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab).
Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear.
Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1684330807/
Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries, Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.
Hannah’s first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.
Hannah is a member of ARIA (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe
Social Media Links –
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-R.-Goodman/e/B002BLU56K
Here is Hannah’s Guest Post on Her Guide to Publishing.
For most of my 14 years as a published author, I’ve run on a fuel made of equal parts ambition and desperation.
My ambition was to become The Next Judy Blume and dominate the world of YA contemporary literature through my Maddie Series books.
My desperation was that I believed, in the most frantic and determined way, that if I followed the letter of the law of those more experienced and successful than I, then I would win the golden ticket (a.k.a. a book contract with one of the Big 5.)
The very first example of that is, after a few years of rejections, I decided to self-publish. This decision came from the advice of A Person In The Know who said that she’d seen people use it as a platform to gain attention from agents.
She was right. This book won a big award and agents started to contact me, and I signed with one of them one only a year after self-publishing. The next piece of advice came from other author friends I made through self-publishing. They said to go to as many SCBWI conferences as possible, so I did. While this didn’t land me a book contract, it helped me to make friends with more published authors. When four years of conferences and working with an agent didn’t move me any closer to a book deal, an author friend told me to get an MFA, focus on craft and revisit the publishing part later. Maybe this would be it! When I started the MFA program in 2009, one of my instructors told me to fire the agent because it had now been 4 years and no book deal, this, according to her, was not a good sign (she was right). So, I fired the agent, finished the MFA (and grew a hell of a lot as a writer!), and followed the advice of another teacher in the program, and upon graduation, submitted to new agents, landing one not even a year after graduation. During my time with the second agent, I revised and rewrote three different manuscripts based on every piece of advice she gave me. As we set out to submit, I thought I am so very close.
I wasn’t. Four years later, I not only didn’t have a book deal but also my spirit was crushed. I had spent from 2003 to 2014 in a desperate chase for the ultimate prize, and I failed to win it.
So, I gave up.
For 2 years I focused on writing for the love of it. I didn’t attend one workshop or conference. I resisted the overwhelming urge to submit to agents and editors because that urge was fueled by desperation (and my ambition caused me nothing but grief by this point) and I was SICK of desperation.
In 2016, I began to submit personal essays that I was really proud of. I carefully researched the market and targeted only those publications that fit my niche.
And it worked. I began to not only get published but also GET PAID (BONUS!)!
That’s when it all became clear: I needed to be deliberate versus desperate, look inward versus outward, listen to my inner voice not just the voices of those around me.
When I decided to sign with Black Rose Writing earlier this year to publish Till It Stops Beating, I didn’t make that decision out of desperation. I made it out of a conscious choice: I no longer wanted to do the pitch/query and wait game, and I no longer believed in the delusions of grandeur I once had: that I would be the next Judy Blume.
Because none of what I had done panned out in a way that was reflective of the amount of hard work, the amount of emotional, financial, or physical sacrifice I spent.
Black Rose Writing isn’t one of the Big 5. It’s a small publisher that works in partnership with its authors to market and publish books. With this publisher, I have support, encouragement, and freedom. This beats false hope and desperate ambition. More importantly, my work is out there for you all to read and that’s really what fuels me now.
Please do go and take a look at the other blogs that have contributed to this tour. They are all listed below!