One of the best perks of my job as a writer is that I get a lot of free books to read and review. Normally I don’t write about fiction, but today I’m writing about fiction. Why? Because young novelist Julie Kraut hugely impressed me by following one of my golden rules of networking.
Julie, a self-described “eager first time author,” reached out by email and offered to send a copy of her new novel, Hot Mess: Summer in the City. I said sure. The book arrived with a press release, plus something I’d never received with a book: a little pink envelope with “Lindsey” handwritten on it (points for spelling my name correctly). Inside the envelope was a lovely note on pretty stationery, thanking me for giving Hot Mess a read.
Julie, you had me at the thank you note. (And I’m going to swipe your awesome strategy and send thank you notes along with review copies of my book too!)
She also followed up with me a few weeks later and agreed to do an interview for my blog. Here is the interview, along with Julie’s generous request to help any young novelists seeking advice:
Interview with Julie Kraut, co-author of Hot Mess: Summer in the City:
Q: How did you get your book deal?
Julie: I have to admit that my book deal was a whole lot of luck. I had written the proposal for Hot Mess with Shallon [Lester, the book’s co-author] and we knew it was good, but just didn’t know what the next step was. I was fortunate to be working in publishing and, over lunch with a good friend who’s an editor, I mentioned the proposal idea. She was interested and the rest is Hot Mess history.
Q: Describe the writing and editing process for us.
Julie: Writing a book is a weird combination of too long and too short. Seriously, you don’t even know how long 300 pages is and how fast four months go by until you’ve signed a contract saying that you’ll deliver a 300-page draft in four months. But of course it’s incredibly rewarding, and seeing your name on a book cover is beyond exciting. Plus, no one really notices when you do 2.2 spacing and that makes 300 pages go a little faster.
Editing can take some getting used to. Like, I got the note on a recent round of edits that jokes about hand jobs weren’t appropriate. And I was kind of like, um, without any HJ jokes, this book is going to be about three pages. And that’s including the dedication. But, you get used to it and realize that a book is a team effort and everyone’s working toward the same goal of making the most successful book they can. In the end, it’s all about being proud of what your name is on. And I probably shouldn’t be proud of hand job jokes anyway.
Q: What’s your best advice to aspiring novelists?
Julie: This sounds totally lame and like I’m too into The Secret (which maybe I am), but my big advice is to see every aspect of your writing career as steps on your path to getting published, especially rejection. Everyone gets no’s along the way. Just accept the negative responses, learn from them what you can, and then consider yourself one step closer to a yes.
Q: Give us the pitch for your book!
Julie: Hot Mess: Summer in the City is the hilarious and dishy tale of Emma Freeman, who waves buh-bye to her standard summer of stationwagoning around the suburbs and hello to a fabulous internship in the big city. But as the summer heats up, Emma learns that glamour is hard to come by when your only friend is too boy-crazy to hang, your budget is more H&M than D&G, and you spend 8 hours a day working for a man who proves that the devil wears Dockers too. Add one little white lie told to one very hot coworker and a roommate who makes Paris Hilton look junior varsity, and this summer in the city turns into one hot mess.
Q: Any final thoughts?
Julie: I’m super happy to chat with folks in more detail about getting into writing. Please pass on any interested blog readers who want get in touch. (Note from Lindsey: If you’d like to reach out to Julie, leave a comment and I’ll pass along your info.)