Mentor Monday ~ Laura Resau
I first met Laura as I arrived as a wide-eyed, freshman member of the Gangos (Erin Murphy Literary clients) who traveled out to Portland, OR., for an agency retreat back in 2009. I was actually awed enough to be quiet for two hours. From reading Laura’s work, I knew she was a fabulous writer. She also had all of these wonderful stories of her travels and how her adventures fed her written stories. Fascinating. Beautiful. Sad. Inspiring.
Without further ado….
~~Laura Resau – Mentor Post~~
My mentor came on the scene later in my writing journey, but at what turned out to be the perfect time. Mentor-less for many years, I’d managed to bumble my way through writing and revising my first YA novel, What the Moon Saw, thanks to a smattering of enthusiastic teachers and writing group members (and my mom) who gave me guidance. Of course, it would have been wonderful (and time-saving!) to have had a mentor during the five years it took me to write the book. But a mentor-of-sorts did come along, just in time to help me navigate the rough waters of the publication process and beyond.
Lauren Myracle (of the Luv Ya Bunches and TTYL series) became an invaluable (and supercute, superfriendly, supersmart) resource for me. She’d always been supportive of me and other prepublished writers when I saw her at events in Fort Collins (where we both live). So, when I got a voicemail message from an editor at Delacorte saying she was interested in my manuscript (but that she would be out of the office for vacation and wanted me to call her back after one torturous week), I called up Lauren for advice. I was agent-less at the time, and Lauren was the only industry expert I knew who felt approachable. She squealed and congratulated me and cheerfully told me that if the editor made me an offer, to bump it up a few thousand dollars, since that’s what they expect.
A week later, I called the editor back, my hands shaking, my throat parched, nervous sweat gushing from my armpits. She offered me a typical debut literary novel advance—about the price of a small, used car. “Yes!” I said. “Yes! Thank you thank you thank you!”
She paused. “Are you officially accepting the offer, then?”
Terrified that she would suddenly change her mind, I said, “Yes, yes, officially, yes! Thank you!” (Oh, if only Lauren had been right there with me on speaker phone…)
After the discovery that I was terrible at negotiating book contracts, I called Lauren. I told her the good news and, a bit embarrassed, said that I suspected it would be a good idea for me to get an agent. ASAP.
And being the generous soul that she is, Lauren gushed excitement, then gave me her agent’s phone number. He ended up referring me to my unbelievably wonderful agent, Erin Murphy (who is also Lynda’s agent!) Erin proved to be worlds better at contract negotiations than I could ever dream of being.
Lauren continued to be a wise (and adorable) guide for me through the publication process. She explained authorly etiquette (like asking for blurbs), introduced me to other YA authors, and gave a beautiful, from-the-heart quote for the back cover of What the Moon Saw (which several people have told me made them buy the book). When I had questions about appearances at librarian and teacher conferences, she was the first person I asked (her advice: be generous and wear a cute dress). And when she had to turn down author appearance invitations for local events, she passed along my name, which helped spread the word about my book. It feels so reassuring to have someone like Lauren helping me figure out the YA book industry. (Even after six years, I still call her for advice.)
Thanks for reading! May you all find the perfect mentor at the perfect stage of your writing journey!