How To Become a Young Adult Author in 34 Easy Steps by Jeff Strand

I am quite happy this Memorial Day to welcome back frequent visitor (he has his own archive section) author Jeff Strand. Already well-known and respected for his work in the horror and humor-horror genres, Jeff recently decided to expand his horizons and specifically set out to scar young minds by writing a YA novel. I will be reviewing the result of his efforts, A Bad Day For Voodoo, tomorrow, but for now sit back and allow Jeff to regale you with the secret of his success.

Jeff StrandHow To Become a Young Adult Author in 34 Easy Steps

1. Publish a few mostly-comedic books between 2000 and 2005.

2. Read a novel called Fireworks by James A. Moore and think “Wow, that was awesome! I loved how it was an alien invasion novel but not at all about the actual alien invasion!” E-mail the author to tell him so.

3. Receive a friendly response back from James A. Moore, who you can now call “Jim.”

4. Later, receive an e-mail from Jim saying that he’s just read your novel Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) and absolutely loved it.

5. Exchange several thousand e-mails (approximately) with Jim. This relationship will eventually lead to you two collaborating on the monster-filled extravaganza The Haunted Forest Tour, but that’s off-topic.

6. Attend the World Horror Convention in New York City in 2005. Do not resist when Jim (a large, intimidating gentleman who could rip off any or all of your extremities) pulls you out of your seat during the mass signing and says that he’s going to introduce you to Paul Miller.

7. Have a very pleasant talk with Paul Miller of Earthling Publications. He’s really not open to submissions at the moment, but he’ll take a look if you want to send him something.

8. Send the manuscript for a “serious” novel called Pressure to Paul.

9. Receive phone call from Paul saying that he wants to publish it.

10. Squeal with joy as Pressure is published in a gorgeous hardcover edition in late 2006. That cover is totally creepy, right?

11. Receive e-mail from author Sarah Pinborough saying that Pressure should be a mass market paperback, and asking if it’s okay for her to tell editor Don D’Auria at Leisure Books that he should buy it. Reply back that it is absolutely, positively, sincerely, one-hundred-percent acceptable for her to tell him this.

12. Receive update: Don D’Auria would be happy to read the book.

13. Ask agent to send him the book.

14. Agent does not send him the book.

15. Discover this several months later. Get mad at agent. Decide that you’re better off with a different agent.

16. Send the book to Don your damn self.

17. Receive an acceptance e-mail from Don. Quickly get a new and improved agent.

18. Even though Pressure is a dark, nasty, unpleasant, grim book, promote it in a wacky manner, because that’s just the kind of person you are.

19. Discover that the 2009 Romantic Times convention is taking place in Orlando, which is sort-of local. Leisure/Dorchester will have a huge presence there. Since the convention is only a month before Pressure will hit bookstores, decide that you should go.

20. Attend the convention. Spend much time huddling with the other terrified men, but also meet and hang out with a trio of Dorchester staff members, including romance editor Leah Hultenschmidt, who is Don D’Auria’s wife. Leah tells you that she enjoys the goofy book promo you do.

21. Leah says “Let me know if you ever write a romance novel!”

22. Fail to write a romance novel.

23. Publish a second book with Dorchester. Almost publish a third.

24. Watch in horror as things at Dorchester begin to suck, suck, suck. Scream “Nooooooooo!” a lot. Snarl angrily as Don and Leah are both laid off on the same day.

25. Hear that Leah got a job as a Young Adult editor at Sourcebooks.

26. Receive a holiday greetings e-mail from Leah. Send back a funny response that you can’t remember at the moment. Get e-mail back from Leah saying “Let me know if you ever write a Young Adult novel!”

27. Think “I should write a Young Adult novel.”

28. Send Leah some sample chapters.

29. Get an e-mail back saying “Let me know if you ever write a different Young Adult novel!”

30. Write a couple of sample chapters for A Bad Day For Voodoo, an insane comedy. Wonder if the guy’s leg rocketing off in a spray of blood will be an issue.

31. Get an e-mail back asking for some tweaks, but none related to the guy’s leg rocketing off in a spray of blood. In fact, that was Leah’s favorite part.

32. Make the tweaks.

33. Receive phone call from Leah saying she wants to buy A Bad Day For Voodoo.

34. Congratulations! You’ve done it!

Jeff Strand is the author of over a dozen books, including Pressure and Gleefully Macabre Tales, both of which were nominated for the Bram Stoker award, Dweller, Benjamin’s Parasite, and the Andrew Mayhem series. Jeff also recently co-authored the e-book Draculas with F. Paul Wilson, Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Knorath), and Blake Crouch. To learn more about Jeff Strand, visit his website.


  • Sabrina Ogden

    May 29, 2012 - 7:41 PM

    This is pretty fun reading… several thousand emails with Jim, huh? 😉

    • Jeff Strand

      May 29, 2012 - 8:18 PM

      At least!

      • Elizabeth A. White

        May 29, 2012 - 8:22 PM

        I’m not so sure you can trust Jeff’s counting abilities… you should have seen the original title of this post. 😛

        • Jeff Strand

          May 30, 2012 - 5:19 PM

          D’oh! I’m glad you caught that! I cut a couple of them and then didn’t change the title! Fortunately, this blog does address the importance of editors…

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  • Muriel

    May 28, 2012 - 10:10 AM

    Thanks, I’ll try that.
    Might have some difficulty with step 1 because those years are in the past, but there I’ll see that I find some way arount that.

    • Muriel

      May 28, 2012 - 10:12 AM

      “Arount”. Oh, well, if life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.

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