I don't know about you, but this is the last day of my holiday before I go back to work. Where has that time gone? I hope you are all enjoying this series and this helps you to ease back into normality tomorrow.
Today's debut is Simon James Green. Simon has only recently announced his debut. His book, Noah Can't Even will be published in May with Scholastic.
1) Have you seen the book cover and how did it make you feel?
I have – although we haven’t done the cover reveal yet, so I obviously can’t say too much. My editor at Scholastic sent me an email saying they’d all had a meeting to look at possible cover designs and that there was ‘one clear favourite.’ He then told me to ‘brace myself’ before I scrolled down to see it. Oh. My. God. I loved it. It’s bright, bold, memorable, funny and edgy, and I have to admit I spent most of the rest of the day just staring at it because I was so happy. The cover was designed by Liam Drane, and I have to take my hat off to him because it’s a real talent to be able to read a book and then sum up so much about the tone and content in a cover design. I think it might raise a few eyebrows when it’s revealed – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
2) What has been the most memorable moment of the run up to your debut?
There have been quite a few, so it’s hard to choose. Being long-listed and then selected for SCBWI Undiscovered Voices was pretty memorable – and then attending the party where agents came up to talk to me, asking me to send them the book, was also very memorable because that’s not normally how it happens! Joanna Moult from Skylark Literary calling me to offer representation was a lovely moment, and then getting the offer from Scholastic for a two-book deal was obviously super memorable, not least because I worked myself up so much I ended up in bed with an IBS attack, which is really glamorous and totally part of the ‘cool author’ image I am trying to portray!
3) How have you kept yourself occupied in the run up to publication day?
I’ve been busy working with my editor at Scholastic (Linas Alsenas) making a few changes and generally polishing up the manuscript. Linas is an amazing editor – he totally ‘gets’ the book and his ideas and suggestions have been brilliant. My publicist at Scholastic (Olivia Horrox) has also been in touch and we’ve had initial discussions about things we can do to market the book. I’m very lucky to be working with team there, because they’re all so lovely and supportive. In the coming months I’ve got to sort out a new website and focus on the marketing and publicity side of things, whilst starting work on writing ‘book 2’ – the first draft of which is due in August.
4) What is your biggest fear about publication?
Well, obviously my biggest fear is that everyone hates the book and they organize parties to burn it, whilst people with pitchforks and flaming torches come to my front door. That aside, there is something really quite scary about this thing you’ve been working on for the best part of four years finally being released into the wild for absolutely anyone to read. Writing a book is a fairly solitary journey and my characters so far only exist in my head, those of a handful of editors and book people, and my closest friend. I guess it’s a bit like sending your kid off to school for the first time and knowing there’s nothing more you can do, except hope he makes a few friends, gets on OK and everyone doesn’t pick on him.
5) What advice would you give to unagented and unpublished authors?
The single biggest thing that helped me get a deal is getting professional editorial feedback along the way. I had four editorial reports on Noah Can’t Even before submitting to Undiscovered Voices, and each one revealed new things and helped me make improvements – and not just on that manuscript, but generally as a writer. I’m a member of the Golden Egg Academy, and through their workshops and the guidance of my assigned editor, I was able to take the manuscript to the level it needed to be. There is a cost implication to all this, and it isn’t cheap, but for me it made all the difference and turned out to be the best investment I could have made.
Stay focused on your goal and don’t give up; Noah Can’t Even is actually my third novel. We won’t talk about the other two, but they both paved the way for this one.
Surround yourself with people who support, encourage and inspire you. Don’t put up with anyone who thinks it’s ‘just a hobby’ or doesn’t take what you’re doing seriously. Those types suck the joy out of everything and drag you down and no one needs that in their life.
Enjoy the journey. Sometimes it’s slow. Sometimes there’s a rail replacement bus service. But you will get there.
Summary of Noah Can't Even
Painfully geeky Noah Grimes is desperate to do whatever he can to survive school. He thinks his best chance at social normalcy is to start up a romantic relationship with the wonderful Sophie, but his plans are hopelessly derailed when his best (and only) friend Harry kisses him at a party. And that's when things go from bad to utter chaos.
To find out more about Simon James Green: