Today, I’m welcoming Stephanie Faris, author of the middle grade novel 30 Days of No Gossip. Her book comes out this Tuesday, and today she’s sharing her 20-year journey to this point. We’re also giving away an autographed copy of her book, so be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!
Around the Publishing World in 7,300 Days
by Stephanie Faris
Thanks for having me, Jamie. I’m so excited to be here!
They say there’s no such thing as an overnight success. I’m inclined to agree.
When I wrote my first novel, there was no Facebook, no email, and the world had never heard of something called a “blog.” There was just me and a very bad, pre-Windows 95 computer.
Yes, that was a long, long time ago!
There was another major difference between the world today and the world of 1993. Young adult fiction, at that time, was a completely different thing than it is today. I wrote my first YA book in the style of the YA books I’d grown up reading. Books like Sweet Valley High and those teen romances that featured cheesy teen models on the cover–that was what teens read in the 80s.
I wrote that first book, then began researching. My research revealed that the young adult market was, to put it nicely, dead. I actually found that in a book. (We didn’t have Google in 1993!) So I moved on to romantic comedy and spent a few years trying to get published in category romance. Silhouette and Harlequin were publishing romantic comedy in the 90s. That changed, too.
I took a brief respite from writing novels in the 00s and, when I came back, romantic comedy had died a swift death. Chick lit murdered it. I tried writing the romantic comedies I’d written before the 00s, only to have it immediately dismissed as chick lit. Nobody wanted a comedic, clunky heroine anymore. But I quickly found the best news of all.
Young adult was selling!
Thank you Stephenie Meyer. And J.K. Rowling. And everyone who brought it back to life. Only, I had another important lesson to learn. I learned it as I set to work creating cutesy YA stories similar to the ones I’d read growing up. I sent those books out, only to be told my voice was too young for YA.
What? Too young? But…this was the same style Francine Pascal and Carolyn Keene used for their teen books. All of those teen love stories I read as a tween had that style, as well. If YA was now edgy and dark, what were tweens reading?
This discovery lead me to middle grade. I fell in love. The books had the same fun as the ones I’d read as a tween, only they actually featured girls on the cusp of adolescence.
What did I learn from my 20-year journey? Many things. But, most importantly: the publishing world will change. If you’re lucky, as I was, someday those changes will lead you to your perfect niche.
30 Days of No Gossip by Stephanie Faris