Do you think having an agent is the only way to get traditionally published? As our latest author proves, you DO NOT have to have an agent to get published with a big publisher.
Read the full interview with Maggie Ann Martin as she shares her publishing journey with us.
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Full Interview with Maggie Ann Martin from SwoonReads:
You now have two books published with Swoon Reads. Tell us a little bit about that publishing process?
I like to say I took an un-traditional route to get “traditionally published” with Swoon Reads. Swoon Reads is a crowd-sourced imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group where anyone can submit their Young Adult manuscript on SwoonReads.com.
Each quarter, they choose a handful of books to actually publish. Some of the other Swoon Reads authors that have been published have been represented by an agent at the time they submitted, others (like me) are not represented by anyone. It’s truly been a unique and awesome experience to be able to publish under Swoon and I’m excited to (fingers crossed 🤞🏽) keep doing so for a long time.
Tell us a little bit about your books. Where did your inspiration come from and are they connected to each other?
I have two books, both contemporary YA’s published with Swoon Reads. The first is THE BIG F which follows Danielle who fails her senior English class and has to deal with the repercussions of her failure and build a life for herself that she loves.
The second is TO BE HONEST which follows Savannah who is a plus-sized high school senior whose mom has recently gotten off of a weight-loss reality TV show and the tension between her personal body positivity and her mom’s obsession over diet culture.
I think what ties them both is that I really try to incorporate a good mix of humor along with the serious topics because I think life is a nice mix of both. There aren’t any characters or storylines that cross over in each, but my tone stays consistent.
Do you have any new books in the works with Swoon Reads or otherwise?
Nothing officially official yet. Hopefully, I have some good news to share soon!
You sold your first two novels without an agent. Do you plan on getting an agent in the future?
I do. I’ve been talking with a few over the last year trying to find the best fit for the rest of my career.
I know you have traveled to the Book Expo and other book festivals. Are these good marketing strategies? Or are there any other options you would suggest?
I think they are amazing marketing opportunities! I met and connected with so many people at each festival and I always love being able to hand out cute, memorable swag to attendees in the hopes of sparking their interest when they get home and start to go through their goodies.
What’s the most challenging part of publishing?
I think the waiting, honestly! Everything is very hurry up and wait for the most part, and while I’m good under pressure during the hurry up moments, the waiting can be really hard.
What was the biggest obstacle you ran into?
For a long time it was honestly finding an agent. I knew I wanted to traditionally publish, but without an agent, there aren’t many avenues to take. That’s why I jumped on the opportunity to submit to Swoon Reads when I saw a friend of mine (shout out to Lydia Albano!) had been chosen for publication.
I had been querying THE BIG F for a little over a year and was ready to put it away in a drawer when I came across the site. I thought “what do I have to lose?” and uploaded my manuscript. Two months later, I had a book deal. It was still my best decision I’ve ever made!
What was your favorite part of the process?
Actually, the editing process has been my favorite. I adore my editor, Emily, at Swoon Reads and she absolutely has the best vision when it comes to my stories. Playing off of her ideas during the editing process is the best.
What was one thing you learned?
Don’t read reviews on Goodreads! I think the first piece of advice every newbie author gets is to tune out reviews (and we generally don’t listen) but I really held myself to not getting on any review websites after the release of TO BE HONEST. It’s honestly (pun intended) been much more productive for my mental health.
What would be your best advice for someone hoping to get their book published?
My biggest piece of advice is to keep going! Keep persisting if this is what you’re passionate about. Every writer’s journey is filled with many, many no’s but the ones who have books on shelves kept pushing through it until they heard a yes.
Thank you so much to Maggie Ann Martin for sharing her un-traditional publishing journey with us! It’s encouraging to know not everyone’s journey is the same, and you might not always need an agent to get published.
And for more around the blog, check out these other articles:
- Author Interview with Debut MG Author Heather Shumaker
- From Unpublished to Self-Published with Rinda Beach
- YA Author Laura Snider Shares Her Journey
- How to Publish a Series with Susan Maupin Schmid