Friday 15 October 2010

I'm published!

I've been a published author for over a month! I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. When the contract was first signed, it drove me batty to think about the MASSIVE two-year wait for publication! And now it's come and gone... and I'm waiting again... this time for book 2...

In the meantime, I've been visiting schools to talk about Zac and the Dream Pirates, and loving every second. School visits and book signings are something I didn't even think about pre-publication, because I didn't think anyone would be interested in little old me or what I had to say. But I've been blown away by the response to Zac. School visits have been a blast. Kids have drawn pictures of their dreams and nightmares, and we've chatted about what it's like to be a writer and the publication process. Their questions have been ace too, and in a year where I've become a dad for the first time and felt more grown up than ever before, they've reminded me to look at the world with a sense of wonder, always questioning, always curious. I think that is where the best ideas are born.

Some of the kids even turned up at my first book signing, which was a success beyond anything I dared hope! Waterstones sold out their entire stock of Zac in an hour!

So thanks so much to anyone I've visited at schools or seen at a signing.
You've made me feel like a real author for the first time!

Friday 2 July 2010

The Phone Call

Every published author knows what it's like to get The Call - that moment of pure, life-affirming joy when you're told that your story... YOUR STORY... will actually be a real book in a real bookshop with a real cover and (hopefully) real fans.

In my case, Zac and the Dream Pirates had been turned down by a few agencies. I received very polite letters from various agents - or assistants - mostly telling me that my manuscript "wasn't right" for them. A couple commented that they thought my writing style had potential, and asked me to send along whatever I might work on next. Close but no contract.

I built a little collection of rejections, giving particular pride of place to the letter in which I was addressed as Rose rather than Ross, and prepared to send out a second round of queries.

And then something incredible happened.

You see, way back when I sent out that first batch of manuscripts, I allowed myself one Silly Submission - not to a literary agency like the others, but to a publisher. My dream publisher.
I pushed this particular submission to the dark, cobweb strewn recesses of my mind, never daring to believe that it might actually lead somewhere.

Many months later, I arrived home in a stinking mood after a stinking day at work, and checked the phone. There was a message.
That's when I heard Barry Cunningham's unmistakable voice. The Barry Cunningham, discoverer of Harry Potter and founder of Chicken House.
He'd read my manuscript, and would very much like me to call him back!

I hung up. I tried to breathe. I danced around. I composed myself. I picked up the phone and dialed with trembling hands...

The contract was signed a few weeks later. Zac hits the shops on September 6th. I keep trying to imagine what it'll feel like to walk into a bookstore and pick up my book.

Whatever happens, it'll take a helluva lot to beat that first call.

Sunday 27 June 2010

My name is Ross Mackenzie. I'm a children's author. My first book, Zac and the Dream Pirates, will be published on September 6, 2010 by Chicken House. I'll ramble regularly about the writing process, editing, publishing, and just about anything else that grabs my attention. Here goes...