Friday, March 30, 2012

COSCBWI Meeting March 2012: A Chat with Mindy McGinnis

This month's COSCBWI meeting featured author and librarian Mindy McGinnis and a chat about her road to publication.  Mindy's YA debut novel, currently titled, Not A Drop To Drink, is slated for release Fall 2013 and came after ten years of hard work pursuing publication.

Mindy's story was inspiring and very informative, and boy is she funny!  (We were laughing for most of the meeting!)  She told us that she always knew she wanted to be a writer and started her first book in college.  Then she made the newbie mistake of thinking it was publishable right away (who isn't guilty of doing that?) and sent it off to agents, promptly receiving scores of rejections.  After a while, she put that first novel away and wrote a second one, only to earn more rejections.  But she wasn't ready to give up yet!  When she decided to invest her time in online groups and critique partners, she learned what she was doing wrong, figured out how to make her book kick-butt, and finally scored an agent!  (Hooray!)  She was offered representation by Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary, but her journey wasn't over yet.  After many rounds of submissions to publishing houses, more rejections, and some more revisions, her book earned multiple offers and went to auction on its last-ditch submission round.  (What a relief!)  And if that wasn't awesome enough, she scored a two-book deal with her new publishing house! 

Now, Mindy is eagerly awaiting revision notes from her editor at Katherine Tegan/Harper Collins and will soon begin the oh-so-long process of actual publication.  Her Dystopian novel's premise about a future without plentiful water sounds spectacular and you can read her teaser here.

So how did Mindy escape the slush pile to score an awesome agent and two book deal?  She attributes her success to two things: the reading revolution and her online network.  As a librarian, Mindy saw the massive effect Stephanie Meyer's Twilight had on today's teens.  Before, only nerdy bookworms (like myself) frequented the school library.  But now, reading is cool and teens gobble up books left and right, including the Homecoming King at her school.  This change has created a big demand for great MG and YA books, and therefore a demand for great writers.  (See?  There is hope for the rest of us!)

Mindy's online network was essential in her path to publication, too.  Mindy takes part in a number of online blog groups and sites such as Agent Query Connect and From the Write Angle.  The sites helped her learn about the publishing world, craft a winning query, and put her in contact with the critique partners who ultimately made her book ready for submission.  Mindy encouraged everyone in our group to get out there and network.  There are countless wonderful sites to explore and connections to make all just a mouse click away.  She encourages blogging and Twitter, too, to create an online presence for yourself.  (Just be careful what you post, she warns.  Whatever you say can come back and haunt you...)

You should definitely check out Mindy's blog, Writer, Writer Pants on Fire.  You can find her on these other sites as well:

Book Pregnant
Friday the Thirteeners
The Lucky 13s
From the Write Angle
Agent Query Connect

These are all very informative sites and quite fun, too!  And I can guarantee, Mindy's words will certainly make you laugh.  :)

Best of luck to Mindy and her debut novel!  Can't wait to read it in 2013! 
For more information about COSCBWI, please visit the website at:

Hope to see you at next month's meeting!