How did you go about finding the right publisher for the novel?
Once I finished my book, I got an agent, and we worked on it for about a year with revisions.
Then we went on a small submission, only five editors because we honestly weren’t sure if publishing could handle the book I was about to write because there were so many themes.
But within two weeks it had already gotten an R&R [revise and resubmit] and then a week later I found out I was going into acquisition. It’s really important to me that I have someone who will allow me to do art through activism in the way that I do it. I wanted someone who would not only trust me to tell the story, but would help enhance my work without whitewashing it. So when we went with a small batch, that’s what we were really looking at, people who had good reputations as editors and trust their authors.
Chelsea Eberly, who is now a literary agent, wrote me a letter, and it touched me because I felt like she actually got what I was trying to do. Even though she’s not my editor anymore, that’s the same type of energy that I’ve gotten with my current editor, Caroline Abbey, who has been so supportive of me through the editorial process.
I didn’t know what to expect. I thought they would rip apart my book, and it was just such a light touch that it wasn’t even about the themes and issues, but just tightening words. I really feel so supported and feel like I can speak. It’s not an issue when I want to bring something up and I know that is not the case with a lot of Black, Indigenous or other writers of color. So it’s actually been a really great experience.