On getting my first book deal and kicking imposter syndrome to the curb

For years, I wasn’t brave enough to admit I was a writer.

I went to college to study the craft. Five years later, I returned to school for my MFA. I gave readings and attended writers’ conferences and residencies. I wrote. For all intents and purposes, I was a writer. But when chatting at parties, when introduced to friends of friends, when asked that inescapable, horrible question, So, what do you do? I would say, “Oh, I work in [insert day job here]. I also write.” Writing was a tacked-on thing, although really, it was everything.

There were a few reasons why it was hard for me to disclose my writing life to anyone outside of my family, close circle of friends, and network of writers who “got it.” For one, it didn’t pay the bills, and isn’t that what people are really asking at parties? Oh, you’re a writer who doesn’t make money? Fascinating. So, what do you really do? For another, I dreaded the inevitable follow-up questions. Have I read you? Where can I find your books? It felt exhausting to explain. “Yes, I have poetry published in literary journals you’ve probably never heard of. I have two chapbooks out with fantastic small presses you probably haven’t heard of either. No, the books aren’t on Amazon. No, a chapbook isn’t the same as a chapter book. No, my poems do not usually rhyme.”

It was on me, 100%. Imposter syndrome loomed large, and I was not ready to take ownership, especially over my fiction. Poetry was hard enough to explain to the world at large, but at least I had poems out there to prove my existence. See, I write! I am! In prose, I had zero publication credits in a genre wherein it is actually possible (if rare) for a writer to become a household name. When it came to my creative identity, I was a little bit lazy and a little bit distrustful and a little bit shy. But I kept writing.

Then this spring, something amazing happened. After a year of writing and revising and three months of querying my first contemporary young adult novel, I signed with my agent, Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management / Folio Jr. Over the course of the spring and summer, Erin and I worked on three full rounds of revision and then several more “lightning rounds” of touch-ups, and when we both felt the manuscript was ready, Erin put it on submission to publishers. As summer turned to fall, another amazing thing happened. Ruta Rimas, a Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster’s Margaret K. McElderry imprint, acquired my debut novel and a second novel in a two-book deal:

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Finding a home for my books with Simon & Schuster is especially meaningful because my career began with that very NYC publishing house. My very first [insert day job here] was with S&S, where I interned during college, and then worked as an editorial assistant for a year and a half. So this book deal is a special kind of homecoming.

No, you probably haven’t read me yet, although you can find some of my poems right here. And yes, while in deed my young adult books will be on Amazon, I hope you’ll consider supporting your local bookstore, too. For the moment, you can add See All the Stars on Goodreads, which is pretty exciting!

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It took leaving my day job to throw myself into writing and editing full-time, which also happened this spring. It took some external validation from fantastic people with careers representing and publishing books. And most of all, it took a big vote of confidence in myself. I can do this. I am doing this.

Hi, I’m Kit. I’m a writer.

More specifically, I’m the author of See All the Stars, which will be out from S&S/McElderry in 2018, and a second young adult novel, also forthcoming from S&S/McElderry, in 2019.

For those who know me already, consider this our re-introduction. For everyone else out there, I look forward to getting to know you! You can find the very occasional blog post here, as well as book news as it happens, and I hope you’ll also follow me on Twitter @kitfrick for regular posts about writing, editing, reading, and being alive.

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The thank yous:

My fiercely talented agent, Erin Harris, has been the best guide a writer could ask for throughout this strange and wonderful process. I’m so lucky to have landed with my editor, Ruta Rimas, whose enthusiasm for my debut nearly had me in tears, and I cannot wait to work with the entire McElderry team.

An endless world of thanks to the beta readers, writers, and friends who provided invaluable insight, encouragement, and cheer along the way: Nora Fussner, Brittany Cavallaro, Rachel Lynn Solomon, Karen McManus, Lily Ladewig, Ivy Blackman, Tabitha Martin, Elle Jauffret, Kayla Olson, Rachel Simon, Stephanie Kuehn, and the entire PitchWars mentor group, Ladies Social Wine Club, and Black Lawrence Press families. And finally to my family, especially my husband Osvaldo Oyola, my parents Pat and Tony Frick, and to Sally, Sonia, Lissette, and Angel, who believed in me and my creative path. I’m excited to see where it leads.