Deborah Schaumberg is the author of the debut young adults’ novel, The Tombs, published by Harper Collins imprint HarperTeen.
I first met Deborah at our local Kidlit Night. I am so happy I got to know her and watch her publishing journey unfold! I was greatly inspired by her book launch, and seeing Deborah busy at work with author visits and a blog tour.
Now we get the chance to learn more about Deborah and her writing journey. Thanks for taking the time for us, Deborah!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is a day like in the life of an author?
Deborah: Hello, so happy to share! One of the things I love about being a writer is the flexibility to work at any odd hour I please. I kind of juggle my schedule from day to day. That being said, when I am into a good flow, I set my alarm for 5:30am every morning and sit down to write for at least two hours – after coffee of course! My thoughts are clearest when I first wake up. Since there’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for me, I can tell you that in addition to writing, I try to squeeze in running, gardening, yoga, time with kids/family/dogs. Definitely not enough hours in the day!
Q: At one of the Kidlit Nights, you told me that you hired an editor before you even had a literary agent. I thought that was genius! Tell us about the book publishing process with your novel, The Tombs. How long does it take to write a book draft? What was the novel revision process like? How long does it take to publish a book?
Deborah: Writing The Tombs was quite a long journey! I had the idea mulling about my head for years before I put pen to paper, but once I began, it took me about three years to complete. At that point, I sent it out to agents…and got a bunch of rejections. Then I met Dan Lazar of Writers House at an SCBWI [Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators] conference and he asked to read it. He sent me some very detailed feedback and said, “if you find yourself with a strong revision down the line, I’d be happy to take another look.” This was when I hired Laura Bard from Children’s Book Insider to help me edit my manuscript according to Dan’s notes. It took me nine months! I could have had another child! But it worked, and Dan signed me on as a client. Yay! Then we did more revisions (eighteen months worth) until we agreed it was ready to go out on submission. It sold to HarperTeen and I worked with editor Kristen Pettit on MORE revisions! She is brilliant and helped me fine-tune the whole thing. The revision process, although long, was actually amazing. I loved brainstorming with professionals in the publishing industry to create my best work possible. Twelve months later Kristen decided it was ready for market…whew!
Q: At the beginning of my writing journey, late 2016, I dealt a lot with Imposter Syndrome, this feeling that I was fraud and not a real writer. Did you ever struggle with this, or self-doubt, or some kind of fear? How did you overcome it?
Deborah: YES! I have a feeling most new authors struggle with Imposter Syndrome and self-doubt. I still do.
I think what gets me through, is reminding myself how hard I’ve worked to get my book published. Also, my husband and two teen daughters are so supportive and proud of me…I’m a real writer in their eyes! And do not let any negative reviews get to you. I re-read good reviews when I start to question myself – especially ones from strangers.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face on the business and practical side of authorship?
Deborah: One thing that took me by surprise is how much of a social media presence authors need. For someone who hasn’t been involved in that world, I had to learn how to best use a few key platforms. My favorite is Instagram because of its visual and teens love it. It’s important for me to manage my time well though, so I don’t end up spending hours online instead of writing!
Since this is my first book and it came out in late February, I have not yet dealt with all the tax stuff related to being an author. One more thing to figure out.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out their writing journey?
Deborah: The two things I would tell aspiring writers are –
Write the book that makes your heart sing. The path to writing the best book you can is to infuse it with your passion.
Writing takes devotion – I try to sit and work even when I don’t feel like it, or when the words aren’t flowing. Don’t give up – be committed to following your dream.
Thank you so much, Deborah! I hope that your inspirational author journey continues to encourage and give life to other writers just starting out. Deborah Schaumberg’s book, The Tombs, is a historical fiction young adult’s novel and is available on her website, on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.
Here are three key takeaways from my interview with Deborah on the book publishing process:
- Revisions take time! It took Deborah a few years to draft her novel. It was then revised by an editor. It was then revised by an agent. It was then revised by the publisher. Revisions take time, but they are also essential for getting your best book out there!
- Be committed and devoted to writing. As Deborah explained, the writing process is long, as well as the revision process. We all get Imposter Syndrome. Don’t give up!
- “Write the book that makes your heart sing”. The book publishing process is long and challenging, but writing and infusing your passion makes it all worth it!
If you enjoyed reading this interview with Deborah Schaumberg, and would like to learn more about writing, publishing, and the creative journey, check out the following interviews:
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