KEYNOTE: The Journey to Sightwitch
Let me tell you about a book that was both one of the hardest things I’ve ever written and also the easiest. This tale begins in the Spring of 2014, after turning in a first draft of Truthwitch to my editor.Actually, let’s back up a bit further to 2012, when my first book, Something Strange & Deadly, released. It was a deeply underwhelming performance, so it was no surprise when, the following year, the sequel performed even worse. (Also, in case you’ve ever looked, the dust jacket for book one is fancy…and the dust jacket for book two is not. This is entirely thanks to the terrible sales.) I lived in daily terror of the series being cancelled.Shockingly, HarperTeen published the final book, but of course, it sold in the double digits, and at that point, my career was essentially toast.Here’s the thing: bad sales hurt an author more than no sales. Which is why, frequently, authors change their names. We have a higher chance of selling as a “debut” than an author with a terrible track record.I was tired. I was desperate. I really didn’t want to have to lose my name—after all, Susan Dennard was quite popular for her writing advice! Too bad, no one actually read her books. So when Tor Teen took a chance on my epic fantasy, I was ecstatic. I mean, ecstatic. This was my second chance. My only chance, really, to turn my career around.