Things that make me sad: When I respond to a piece of fanmail, especially those from aspiring writers, only for the email to bounce back!
That happened this morning, so in the hopes that said fan might read this blog, I’m posting my response here – and hope it will help any aspiring writers out there who are about to start looking into the publishing process.
Important Note: There is SO MUCH MORE to be said about the process of getting published, getting an agent, writing query letters, etc. There are entire books written on this subject, and I do recommend that anyone wanting to take their writing to the next level read at least one book on publishing and/or getting an agent. My advice, below, is really meant to be a jumping-off point for further research and is by no means all-encompassing!
“I am a young author and have written a book. I was wondering how to get a book published. I am hoping that you could give me some advice for someone who wants to get started.”
First, congrats on finishing your novel!
In my opinion, the first step to take after finishing your novel, but before submitting it for publication, is to find some trusted readers who will read your book and give you great advice. I work with three critique partners and they always point out weaknesses that I couldn’t see myself. You really want to give your book the best chance of standing out from the crowd.
After that, if you want to be traditionally published, your next step will most likely be to query agents.
I suggest checking out www.agentyquery.com – there are some great articles there on what an agent is and why you want one. You can also use their search form to start building a list of agents you want to contact about your work.
Then you’ll write a query letter, and for that, the best resource I’ve found is the Query Shark blog. The Query Shark is a real book agent who critiques query letters, and after you read through some of the archives you can start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Writing a great query letter is the best way to catch an agent’s interest and hopefully get them to take a look at your novel.
Then you start sending it out!
And then you start working on the next book. It’s always smart to have something else you’re working on to take your mind off the waiting. And if the current book doesn’t catch an agent’s interest – maybe the next one will!
It’s here!! The cover art for Winter was just revealed on USA Today, and I am OVER THE MOON to be able to share it with you all, finally!
I talk a little bit about my thoughts on the cover in the article, but I’ll say it here too: I love it! Between the glimpse of Winter’s hand and the iconic Snow White apple (which so cleverly matches Cinder’s glass shoe!), it seems like the perfect bookend to four beautiful covers.
I hope you guys love it as much as I do!
Oh, also, the reveal on USA Today just happens to include . . .
AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM WINTER. (One that includes Scarlet, and I know how concerned you all are for our dear Scarlet…)
Now: Go! Gaze! Squeal!
Hello everyone! I am back from my Fairest book tour and month-long maternity leave and anxiously waiting for the Winter copyedits to land in my inbox. (Which should be happening any minute.)
I wanted to take a second, though, and give a huge thanks to everyone who has sent me their kind and encouraging (and sometimes shocked and devastated!) words about Fairest. I really love having Levana’s story out in the world, and hearing how many of you have enjoyed getting a glimpse into her dark and twisted past has meant so much to me. Next up: WINTER!! *dances*
So with Fairest coming out prior to Winter, I’ve been getting lots of uncertain emails from both long-time fans and new readers to the series:
If Fairest is a prequel to the other books, what order should they all be read in? And when should I read the companion short stories?
The answer is both simple and complicated.
I personally think the books and stories should be read in the same order that they’ve been published, which is also the same order that I wrote them in. However, I recognize that this opinion is biased, because it’s impossible for me to imagine the takeaway from any one book or story without having the knowledge you gain in all the previous installments. That’s how the stories came to me, so that’s how it seems they should be read.
I also worry that skipping ahead in the series could ruin certain reveals in the books. But then, maybe reading things in this order ruin what otherwise would have been great reveals if you didn’t already know them? I don’t know. It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around reading them in a different order and how that would impact the reading experience. See? Complicated.
My Suggested Reading Order, as Written and Published:
Cinder (Book #1)
Scarlet (Book #2)
The Queen’s Army*
The Little Android* <~ Note: As this short story is not directly related to the events in the books, it doesn’t really matter when you read it.
Cress (Book #3)
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky**
Fairest (Book #0.5)
The Princess and the Guard***
Winter (Book #4)
*Glitches, The Queen’s Army, and The Little Android can be read for free at http://www.wattpad.com/user/marissameyer22.
** Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky will be sent as a free bonus short story when you subscribe to my newsletter at http://www.marissameyer.com/connect.
*** The Princess and the Guard is a short story that will be released this summer.
THAT SAID, I have heard from plenty readers who started with Scarlet or Cress, and they’ve told me that they had no trouble following the events of the book, and many of them even went back and read from the beginning afterward. I have tried to write each book so that it could potentially be read on its own. (If you don’t mind cliffhangers, ha!)
I also understand many readers are choosing to wait to read Fairest until after Winter, because they don’t want to feel undue sympathy for Levana. I’m honestly not sure this is worth being concerned about (she’s really just not that sympathetic…) but I understand, and I think this will be fine. Though I also think you’ll enjoy Winter more knowing Levana’s backstory. But it’s totally up to you.
And then there are readers who are determined to read things chronologically. While again, this wouldn’t be my first choice, I don’t think it will ruin anything for you. You’ll just get certain reveals in the wrong order. Er, at least, a different order than how I’d planned them.
In other words—it’s totally up to you!
To read the story chronologically, go in this order:
Fairest (Book #0.5)
The Queen’s Army
The Princess and the Guard
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
The Little Android
Cinder (Book #1)
Scarlet (Book #2)
Cress (Book #3)
Winter (Book #4)
I hope that answers all your questions and doesn’t just confuse you more!
Have you read the books and stories out of the order I suggested above? Did you feel that they were easy to follow and didn’t harm your understanding of the story? Let us know in the comments!
On a side note, I’m going to be sporadically in and out of this blog for the next couple of months, as I work on finalizing Winter and Heartless, among other projects, but I will be sure to let you know whenever exciting new stuff is happening!
I have SO MUCH NEWS to share with you all. So let’s get to it.
First up: FAIREST IS OUT TOMORROW.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death.
(dun dun dun)
In addition to getting to share a bit of background about Levana and her dastardly deeds, I’m super excited about the bonus materials we got to include in this book:
1. An extraordinarily beautiful illustration of Levana’s palace on the book’s endpapers (so pretty!!)
And 2. The first 3 (count them—3!) chapters of Winter.
ALSO RELEASING TOMORROW: The paperback of Cress!
Speaking of bonus materials, the Cress paperback includes:
– a full-color diagram of the Rampion spaceship on the endpapers, which I think is just the coolest thing ever.
– a special blogger thank you page (thanks, bloggers!)
– a sneak preview of Fairest, including an exclusive poem that I wrote! (I didn’t even know my publisher was doing something with it, so that was a surprise for me, ha.)
– and an interview between me and author Mary Weber (Storm Siren), plus a bonus question from Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why)!
OTHER BIG NEWS… you could win stuff!
There are two great sweepstakes happening right now.
The Lunar Chronicles web site is hosting a sweepstakes in which you could win travel and VIP tickets to BookCon, to meet me! (woo!) Enter at: http://thelunarchronicles.com/sweepstakes
And Shelf Awareness is also having a sweepstakes and 10 winners will each receive a signed copy of Fairest! Enter at: http://apps.shelf-awareness.com/signup/149
(For international fans, stay tuned! I plan on hosting some contests and giveaways myself in the coming weeks.)
AND MY LAST BIG ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DAY…
I just finished Winter!!
Like, finished, finished. Like, going to copyedits finished.
I might be in shock.
(There are rumors of a particular page count floating around the interweb and I can tell you… yes. Yes, it really is that big.)
I’ll find out how much information I can share about it and hope to have more on that soon.
In the meantime… I need a nap. *falls over*
What an AMAZING contest this was, with so many brilliant entries!! I really enjoyed seeing how so many of you interpret Levana, both her glamour and what could lie underneath.
(Hint: Some of you came very close to the truth!)
It is my honor to announce our Grand Prize Winner . . .
Artist: Genevieve LeFebvre
Why I Love It: There were many wonderful interpretations of Levana using her mystical mirror—both whole and shattered—but Genevieve’s won my heart for how it conveys both Levana’s striking glamour and also something dark and sinister lurking underneath. I think it was a brilliant choice to illustrate Levana’s “reality” in the mirror using only black and white, with the occasional hint of bloody red, but then juxtaposing that reflection with the airbrushed perfection of model’s faces clipped from magazines. To me, this illustrates both the illusion of beauty Levana tries to show the world, while also suggesting that her glamour is impermanent and variable, like a mask that can be changed out for a new one.
Also, just now in looking at the picture again in order to write my thoughts about it, I noticed that Genevieve left a secret message in the illustration! (How clever, Genevieve!!)
I won’t say what it is. Do YOU see it?
I am so happy that Genevieve and her mom will be flying in from Minnesota to join me for the Fairest Launch Party on January 27. (On a school night! Can we give her mom a big round of applause for that??)
I can’t wait to meet them and give Genevieve her VIP Prize Pack, which consists of . . . I have absolutely no idea, lol. But I’m sure my publisher has something special in mind.
Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest and wow’d me with your brilliant interpretations of Queen Levana. My publisher will be announcing our five first place winners later this week.
The release of Fairest: Levana’s Story is only TWO WEEKS AWAY. I’m so unprepared, ha! But I’m excited to show you all this glimpse into Levana’s past and prime your expectations for the series conclusion, Winter, coming this November. Which I’m still revising. *cough*
But enough on that! Here is some updated information on the Fairest launch party and book tour!
The Fairest Launch Party in Tacoma, WA
Where: The Tacoma Public Library, Main Branch, in the Olympic Room
1102 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, Washington 98402
When: Tuesday, January 27, 6:00p.m.
Book signing tickets will be available at 4:00p.m. in the Handforth Gallery. Please note that the book signing tickets secure your spot in the signing line following the book talk, but do not guarantee a seat in the Olympic Room. Doors to the Olympic Room will open at 5:00p.m.
Come celebrate the launch of Fairest: Levana’s Story! Marissa will read an exclusive excerpt from WINTER, show off the winner of the Fairest art contest, and sign books! You’ll also have a chance to decorate your own crown, take your photo with Levana’s mirror, and even share your thoughts about The Lunar Chronicles with the rest of the world. Light refreshments will be provided.
Please Note: We are expecting a large crowd, so please plan accordingly. Seating will begin in the Olympic Room at 5:00p.m. and is on a space-available basis. Additional seating will also be available in the Handforth Gallery.
The Library will remain open until everyone gets their books signed.
(RSVPs are great because they help us plan the event, but it’s not necessary to RSVP, nor will RSVPing guarantee a seat or a place in the signing line.)
Books will be sold through King’s Books. All Lunar Chronicles titles will be available and Marissa is happy to sign multiple books per guest.
For a faster signing line, please pre-order your book(s) here: http://www.kingsbookstore.com/event/fairest
Can’t come to the party? You can still pre-order a signed and personalized copy to be shipped directly to you! Click the link above for details.
We hope to livestream the event so that fans all over the world can tune in to hear Marissa read from WINTER and answer questions! Follow http://www.thelunarchronicles.com or http://www.facebook.com/lunarchronicles to be kept up-to-date on livestreaming details.
The Fairest Book Tour
Nowhere near Tacoma, WA? Check out these other Fairest tour stops!
**IMPORTANT: Some events are ticketed. Please click on the bookstore links for more information.***
Salt Lake City, UT
Wednesday, January 28, 7:00pm
New York, NY
Thursday, January 29, 7:00pm
Friday, January 30, 7:00pm
Saturday, January 31, 7:00pm
The Woodlands, TX
Sunday, February 1, 3:00pm
Monday, February 2, 6:00pm
San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, February 3, 7:00pm
And one more time… if you can’t make it to an event, you can still order a signed book from King’s Bookstore to be shipped directly to you!
It’s almost here!!! Ohmygod! Okay, deep breaths, aaaaannnnd…. back to Winter revisions.
Yesterday I posted my complete reading list from last year. Of all 100 titles, here are the books and series that stand out the most in my memory as truly exceptional reads.
TOP 10 BOOKS / SERIES I READ IN 2014
In alphabetical order by author.
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Books read in 2014: Ruin and Rising
Could there possibly have been a more satisfying end to one of my most beloved fantasy series of all time?? Leigh Bardugo NAILED this series conclusion. It is epic, resonant, heartwrenching, fulfilling, exciting… everything you could possibly want in a finale! Plus, you know, we got to see more Sturmhond. Any book with Sturmhond has my heart. I cannot wait to read what Leigh comes up with next!!
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Rosemary Clement-Moore has become one of my top favorite authors, so I spent 2014 catching up on all of her backlist titles that I hadn’t yet read—and The Splendor Falls did not disappoint! This book has a wonderful southern gothic atmospheric quality, with plenty of haunts and spooks, and a little bit of romance to round it out.
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
This was the first book that I read last year, and the second I finished it I had an inkling that it would end up on this list. Twelve whole months later and this one still clings to me—the world-building, the drama, the star-crossed romance . . . though I would have loved to follow the characters on a series-long adventure, this one makes for a wonderfully epic stand-alone.
Firebug, by Lish McBride
First of a two-book series, Firebug introduced us to one of my favorite heroines of the year and two of my favorite male leads (though in this example, two hot guys does not a love triangle make). Firebug may be packed full of Lish McBride’s signature wit and hilarity, but it’s never lacking in thrills and suspense. I’m super excited to get Part 2 in my greedy little hands!
Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins
The swooooooonnnnnss in Stephanie’s third contemporary romance absolutely equal (or in my opinion, surpass) those in Lola and Anna. Though I’ve loved each book in the collection, Isla was my favorite, with a quirky, adorable protagonist and a surprisingly realistic portrayal of young love.
The Under the Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi
Books read in 2014: All three of them!
This is one of those series that I’d been hearing buzz about for three years (Veronica Rossi and I shared a release date back in 2012!), but for whatever reason I never got around to picking it up. Well, when I finally cracked open Under the Never Sky, it was all over—I marathoned the entire trilogy in under a week. Great romance, great adventure, great world-building, and I think very fitting for Lunar Chronicles fans.
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
Books read in 2014: The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime
I just think about these books and I start to hyperventilate all over again! This is easily the series I recommended the most this year—I have forced it into the hands of every fantasy / romance / adventure / YA fan I know. Seriously, just go read them. Well, read the first one, and then wait breathlessly with the rest of us for the rest of the series to come out! (Lucky me, I got an advance copy of Book 2. Yay job perks!)
Vicious by Victoria Schwab
Though I at first thought this was a stand-alone title (and it certainly works as one), I was so happy to hear that Victoria Schwab is working on a follow-up. The characters are phenomenal and the entire concept revolving around superheroes, villainy, and right v. wrong was seamless. I’m fairly certain that Victoria is an evil genius.
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor
Books read in 2014: Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters
One of the smartest decisions I’ve made in the last couple of years was waiting for both of these books to come out before reading them, because this is definitely a series that you’ll want to lose yourself in and not come out of until you’re finished. Laini Taylor has such a powerful imagination and these books are full of stunning imagery and emotions that tear at you—in the best possible way!
Storm Siren by Mary Weber
The first book in a new trilogy, Storm Siren pulls together some of my most beloved fantasy tropes (a female protagonist unearthing her own magical power; an oppressive society on the brink of revolution, and a breathless romance that has every possible odd stacked against it). But Mary Weber manages to put her own unique spin on this classic genre, with beautiful imagery, feisty dialogue, and ohmygod the worst cliffhanger ending in the whole entire world. (Seriously, you guys thought Cinder was bad?!) I am so looking forward to the next installment!
TOP 10 BOOKS I WANT TO READ IN 2015
A few of the above titles have follow-ups coming out in 2015 that I will be eagerly snatching up, but for this list I’m focusing on books that are already out. Some are 2014 releases that I was sad I couldn’t get to, and others have been on my TBR list for ages. Some are YA classics, and some are recent popular titles for which I’m curious what all the buzz is about!
In no particular order, the Top 10 books I want to prioritize in 2015 are:
1. The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black
2. Alanna by Tamora Pierce
3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
4. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
5. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
6. City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
7. Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
8. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
9. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
10. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
My goal for 2014 had been to read 100 books and I was going strong all year long. I finished Book #98 on Saturday, Dec. 20, so I was very confident. 100 books was totally in the bag!
And then I got caught up in holiday planning and didn’t read anything for a few days, and then…
And then I really wasn’t reading for a few days!! (Unless you count squishable baby books that max out at 15 words…)
So with a hint of desperation, I picked up two graphic novels on New Year’s Eve and, in between feedings and diaper changes, managed to finish the last page of my last book at precisely midnight. No, really. I shut the book at the same moment that fireworks exploded down the block. It was epic.
Then I changed some more diapers.
Here is the list of all 100 books I read in 2014, along with some statistics. My Top 10 Books / Series will be posted tomorrow, along with the Top 10 Books / Series I plan to read in 2015.
Total books read: 100 (woot!)
Children’s / Middle Grade: 6
General Fiction / Literary: 6
Graphic Novels: 10
Non-Fiction: 13 (3 parenting, 3 writing guides, 2 for research, 5 for fun)
Young Adult: 55*
*Young Adult can be further divided into:
Short story collections: 3
Futuristic / dystopian: 8
Paranormal / urban fantasy: 15
THE COMPLETE LIST
1. Plus One, by Elizabeth Fama
2. The Connected Child, by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
3. Fool, by Christopher Moore
4. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
5. Winterspell, by Claire Legrand
6. Star Cursed, by Jessica Spotswood
7. Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
8. Splintered, by A.G. Howard
9. Revolutions for Fun and Profit, by Ryan Shattuck
10. Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi
11. Through the Ever Night, by Veronica Rossi
12. Into the Still Blue, by Veronica Rossi
13. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
14. My Life as an Experiment, by A.J. Jacobs
15. Passionate Persuasion, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
16. Also Known As, by Robin Benway
17. Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel, by Daniel Cooney
18. Baby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles, by Arne Bellstorf (graphic novel)
19. Zahra’s Paradise, by Amir & Khalil (graphic novel)
20. Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige
21. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
22. Firebug, by Lish McBride
23. The Splendor Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
24. Devine Intervention, by Martha Brockenbrough
25. The Wicked and the Just, by J. Anderson Coats
26. Symbols of Love, by Denny Lee and Josh Stoneman
27. Bubbly on Your Budget, by Marjorie Hillis
28. Choker, by Elizabeth Woods
29. The Raft, by S.A. Bodeen
30. Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale, by Joss Whedon (graphic novel)
31. The Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski
32. Vicious, by Victoria Schwab
33. Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor
34. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton
35. Of Neptune, by Anna Banks
36. Hatter, by Daniel Coleman (first publication; to be re-released Fall 2014)
37. Ashen Winter, by Mike Mullin
38. Shards & Ashes, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
39. Dark and Stormy Knights, edited by P.N. Elrod
40. I Heart You, You Haunt Me, by Lisa Schroeder
41. Bad Boys of the Black Hills, and Some Wild Women, Too, by Barbara Fifer
42. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (graphic novel)
43. Haunted Deadwood: A True Wild West Ghost Town, by Mark Shadley and Josh Wennes
44. The Taste of Lightning, by Tamara Felsinger (beta-read)
45. Storm Siren, by Mary Weber
46. Enthralled, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
47. Boxers, by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel)
48. Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel)
49. Threats of Sky and Sea, by Jennifer Ellision
50. Ruin and Rising, by Leigh Bardugo
51. The Serpent of Venice, by Christopher Moore
52. I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
53. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
54. In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (graphic novel)
55. Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor
56. Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor
57. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
58. Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta
59. Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
60. The Avery Shaw Experiment, by Kelly Oram
61. The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner
62. Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins
63. Sister’s Fate, by Jessica Spotswood
64. The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings
65. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
66. Elusion, by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
67. The Truth About Alice, by Jennifer Mathieu
68. Unforgotten, by Jessica Brody
69. The Caress of the Wind, by Tamara Felsinger (beta-read)
70. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, by Kathleen Flinn
71. Lailah, by Nikki Kelly
72. Altered, by Gennifer Albin
73. Writing for Comics, by Alan Moore
74. Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers, edited by Nat Gertler
75. The Winner’s Crime, by Marie Rutkoski
76. Priya in Heels, by Ayesha Patel
77. Charming, by Elliott James
78. Prom Nights from Hell, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
79. Hell Week, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
80. Highway to Hell, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
81. A Little Something Different, by Sandy Hall
82. Epic Fail, by Claire LaZebnik
83. Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater
84. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
85. Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll
86. Salvation, by Anne Osterlund
87. The Adopted Family, by Florence Rondell and Ruth Michaels
88. An Unexpected Kiss, by Cindy Roland Anderson
89. Feels Like Love, by Jeanette Lewis
90. Full Court Devotion, by Cami Checketts
91. The Christmas Eve Kiss, by Taylor Hart
92. Risking it All for Love, by Kimberley Montpetit
93. Blue Christmas, by Lucy McConnell
94. Batwoman: Elegy, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III (graphic novel)
95. My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins
96. Dreamwood, by Heather Mackey
97. The Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson
98. The Bitter Kingdom, by Rae Carson
99. Amulet, by Kazu Kibuishi (graphic novel)
100. The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba (graphic novel)