1. Wrote the book. It was the first book I had finished.
2. Read through the book and “edited” which I thought meant fixing typos (note: this is not editing).
3. Submitted the book to Angry Robot’s Open Door Month on March 30, 2011. Someone in the writing group I had just joined added the link and I thought “why not. It’ll probably get rejected but at least I’ll have tried.”
4. Heard back from an AR reader named Amanda in June. I clicked the email in trepidation, anticipating a rejection. Instead, she requested the full manuscript. I was travelling around the East Coast with my mom at the time.
5. Freaked out and read it all really quickly in a day as my mom drove to Baltimore, finding a few more typos and then sent it off.
6. One month passed and I received another email from Amanda, who asked a question about the book and mentioned it felt a bit more YA. This time I was in Amsterdam.
7. Flew back to Scotland and received the news that I’d gone to editorial!
8. A few very stressful months go by. I try to keep my cool; I fail. While I waited, I queried agents. My first query letter was terrible. TERRIBLE. My next few queries were better, but I had no bites.
9. In November, it turns out my reader Amanda was promoted to editor of Strange Chemistry!
10. A little while later, I received a revision request from Amanda the editor.
11. Cue three months of hefty revisions and lots of fear that I was making the whole thing worse.
12. February 29, 2012: Begin querying again with a proper query letter. Much better success with
13. Sent the MS back to Strange Chemistry.
14. Some agent rejections in the meantime. Convince myself I have made the book worse and I am
the worst writer in the world.
15. A few days later: Amanda tells me I’m going to acquisitions! I rejoice that I am not the worst writer in the world!
16. More rejections. I deflate again.
17. A few days after that: Juliet Mushens offers to represent me! Happiest of days!
18. Received The Call and a publishing offer 2 days later! Hang up and sit on my sofa in shock for a few minutes before crying a lot in happiness.
19. Deal announced in late March, 2012, almost a year after the initial submission.
20. Book now almost out on the shelves, about 2 years after the completion of the first draft.
So there’s my road, and thank you for following the journey. A little unusual, and a lot of luck that the right people liked my book at the right time gave me the chance to make it better so that they loved it, and then everything clicked into place. I still can’t believe it sometimes.
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.