April 22, 2014: The Chance You Won’t Return in the World

I’ve been saying “April 22, 2014″ for a while now. At first in was in the context of, “Oh, my book isn’t coming out for a couple of years, plenty of time to get excited.” Then it was next year, then in about a year, then this year, then this month, then next week, then in a few days.

Now it’s today. My book, The Chance You Won’t Return, is officially in the world today.

It’s a staggering thought that still kind of feels unreal, even though I got to actually see a copy on store shelves over the weekend.

2014-04-19 09.18.36

Please ignore my gross sweatiness.

A lot of people have been asking me if I’m nervous or excited or etc. for publication and honestly, I’m feeling kind of zen about it. Because it’s not really my book anymore. It’s a reader’s book, and I really hope that there’s at least one reader out there who will connect with Alex and her world and struggles and hopes.

I’m so excited to see that today is April 22, and I know that I’ll always look back on today as an amazing day in my life. But it’s not just about seeing my book in print or on shelves or in stores–it’s about passing something I made onto readers who could maybe use this story right now.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped The Chance You Won’t Return on its road to publication, and to any and all future readers it may have.

The Chance You Won’t Return in PW!

About a week away from publication, and more good news on the review front. The Chance You Won’t Return received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! From the review?

“In Cardi’s candid and multilayered debut, high school junior Alex Winchester already has a full plate when her mother begins to believe she is Amelia Earhart…Alex’s voice is caustic, honest, and studded with humor. Cardi weaves elegant metaphors and incisive dialogue throughout her chapters, concluding with a wrenching sentiment about the necessity of sometimes allowing a lost loved one to find her own way home.”

That deserves a happy puppy gif:

Click through for the full review.

In Which I Cuddle My Author Copies

Another step on the road to publication–The Chance You Won’t Return author copies! The real book, just as it’ll look in bookstores and libraries, arrived at my door the other day. Actually a whole box of them. Check them out in the video below!

As always, Candlewick did a beautiful job–the cover and the binding and the layout is awesome. I love my publisher!

Walt suggested that I dump out the box and swim in the books like Scrooge McDuck, but maybe next time.

Links Galore

Lots of fun links to start the week:

Financial Planning

When I first sold my book to Candlewick, a few people asked me if I would be quitting my job to write full time. My reaction:

Most people I know who are artists–writers, illustrators, actors, musicians, etc.–don’t make a living from their art. Most have day jobs or do temp work or freelance. Recently, I came across a couple of posts that brought this issue to mind.

The first is more from a theatrical perspective, but I think it holds true for writers of any genre. Long talks about how a successful society values its artists and, although I’m not sure that we can recreate the Renaissance, it’s good to remember that people like Michaelanglo weren’t “dangling from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel ‘for the experience.’” Artists, just like anyone, need to eat and have a roof over their heads and maybe wear a sweater when it’s cold out. As much as society loves the image of a tortured, starving artist, I think most of us do our best work when we’re not stressing about if we can afford to go to the doctor.

Similarly, the second article looks at the financial realities for writers and how we talk about these financial realities. Bauer says that we can’t pretend that having a financial safety net (like a successful spouse or family fortune) doesn’t matter for artists, and that it’s detrimental to pretend that all it takes to survive as a writer is a little gumption and selling a magazine article every so often.

I remember talking with a couple of fellow kidlit authors recently, and this exact issue came up–if your only job is writing, you’re either a) wildly successful or b) in a position where you don’t have to worry about where your health benefits are coming from. That’s not to say that this is bad or somehow makes you less of a writer. If your family can do it, that’s fantastic. But we need to acknowledge that this is the reality for writers, and maybe consider what that means for writers and artists who don’t have that kind of safety net.

Last year, Laurie Halse Anderson (a hugely talented YA author and, in my opinion, one of the leaders in the field) had a great post about money and writing. It was a major relief to see that, even after publications and awards, didn’t quit her day job to write full time for years. I like seeing writers be honest about this kind of thing. It’s a hard job and most people don’t get rich from it. (And if you do, more power to you.) The reality of being a writer is far removed from the idea most people have of being a writer.

Right now, I’m really lucky to have a job that is generally fulfilling, enjoyable, and lets me go to the dentist every so often. I also have a very supportive husband and family. If I ever get to be a full time writer, that would be fantastic. But for now I know that I’m a lot better off than many extremely talented writers.

I don’t have any answers for how we can reallocate more money to the arts or how we can help writers who are struggling to make ends meet. But I think the more honest we are about these issues, the better. In the meantime, more power to all of you who keep writing, no matter what your financial realities are.

Links Galore

A few good links for a Tuesday afternoon:

Coming to a Bookstore/Mailbox Near You

So I’ve been talking about my book for a little while now. The official sales announcement. Copyedits. Proofreading. The title change. But until now, The Chance You Won’t Return has been seen by only a few people. That’s about to change, now that it’s available for pre-order!

That’s right–now you can find The Chance You Won’t Return at IndieBound, Amazon, Powell’s, and other places you may enjoy buying books! And if online choices overwhelm you, you can also add the book to your Goodreads list and give yourself a few months to decide.

Okay, so the book isn’t technically out until April 22, 2014, but just seeing it at these online book vendors makes me super excited. This is real and maybe someday The Chance You Won’t Return will be read by people I don’t even know. As always, the only true expression of my emotions is in gif form:

Here’s to continuing that wild ride on the road to publication! (Especially if that ride is on a hippogriff.)

I’d Like to Pass Your First Pages

photo (1)

My first pass pages! Love the “Author Set” note at the top.

Another milestone complete in The Chance You Won’t Return‘s journey to publication–first pass pages!

First pass pages are another round in the editorial process. This time, edits are really minor–removing an extra comma here, changing a word or phrase slightly there. By this point, the book should read almost exactly like it will come publication. Reading through, I marked any pages with edits with blue sticky notes, because otherwise it would have been so easy to miss changes when I sent them along to Candlewick.

At this point the manuscript is still unbound, but its pages are printed to look like they will in book layout. After seeing the manuscript as a Word document for the last few years, seeing it looking almost like a real book is pretty exciting.

I’m also a big editorial nerd, so I had fun reading through the manuscript and catching any stray errors. It’s like Where’s Waldo? but with fewer striped shirts and more em dashes.

First pass pages also means that we’re one step closer to ARCs and seeing The Chance You Won’t Return as a real-life book with a cover and bound pages and a spine so it can sit on a shelf. I’m going to have to break out all the happy gifs when that happens. In the meantime, here’s my post-first pass pages happy dance:

Onward and upward!

Links Galore

Lots of mid-week link goodness:

New Title Reveal!

One of the first things I learned about being a debut author was “Don’t get attached to your title.” Even if it sounds perfect to you, it’s still part of the book’s editorial journey and, just like particular scenes or characters, is very likely to change*.

That change was part of my book’s journey. I’m happy to announce my brand new title…

…dramatic pause…

…suspense…

…drum roll…

THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN

Tada!

I’m feeling really good about the new title, and I think it suggests a lot of the themes/emotions from the book–loss and hope and grief and uncertainty and searching. I really liked Queen of the Air, but ultimately I think The Chance You Won’t Return hits the vibe of the book way more, and feels more like YA.

With any luck, that means lots more reveals to come. (Covers! Blurbs! More kittens!) Major thanks to my wonderful editor and agent for working through the new title process with me; you guys are the best!

*Check out where some classic titles came from; one famous book was originally called Something That Happened.