Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ally's the Next Stephenie. But Who Will Be the Next Ally?

Did you read the news in Publishers Weekly about Ally Condie, the YA author who just inked a seven-figure advance on a three-book deal with Dutton? Wow. She’s being heralded as the next Stephenie Meyer. Well, that’s what her agent, Jodi Reamer at Writers House, said anyway. According to Reamer, reading Condie’s first book in the deal, Matched, reminded her of the first time she read Meyer’s Twilight. Double wow.

But wait, that’s not all Condie has in common with Meyer. Did anyone else notice? Their backstories are surprisingly similar. To wit:

1. They both attended Brigham Young University in Utah.
2. They both have three sons.
3. They both wrote their big-ticket books as stay-at-home moms.
4. They’re both Mormons.
5. They both have Reamer as their agent.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that my fellow Paper Waiters have been dropping like flies lately; landing agents, selling books, and winning writing contests. And then there's me, still in the hunt for my first agent/book deal. So I'm sure you can understand why I’m willing to try anything at this point, including selling my soul to He Who Shall Not Be Named.

And now Condie and Meyer’s mega-deals have given me a stupendous new idea: I’m going to stop revising my manuscript ad nauseum and revise my personal backstory instead. It's radical, I know, but, it can't hurt. Here’s my plan:

1. Move my family out west and get a master’s at BYU. There’s great skiing in Utah, anyway, so that’s fine by me.
2. Have a third son. I already have two, so I’m already two-thirds of the way there. My older son even happens to be named Gabe, just like Meyer’s oldest son. Is it a sign?
3. Quit my job as a college writing instructor/freelance writer to become a stay-at-home mom. If we’re moving out west, I have to quit work anyway, so again, I'm halfway there.
4. Change my religion. I suppose this means that glass of wine with dinner has got to go. Grr.
5. Land Jodi Reamer as my agent.
6. Update my author's photo (shown). I suppose it couldn't hurt to look a little less simian, more simmering.

Wait. Is that the sound of cyber laughter I hear? Is that an agent, shaking his or her virtual head, saying, "Don’t be redonkulous, you nit, you can’t sell a manuscript based solely on a good backstory. You have to write a stellar manuscript too. I mean, duh."

Fine. Call me desperate. Call me whatever you like. Just call me. And don’t forget to use my new number. In Provo, Utah.


  1. hee hees!

    That's funny!

    And also, I totally missed that news. Seven figures?!? Yikes. I think I'd be happy with four...

    Can I move to Utah with you? I don't have three boys, but I have three kids. Does that count?

  2. LOL!!!!

    But I do have to ask - how are you going to "sprinkle in" that backstory? No info dump for you!

  3. Clever comparisons. Great sense of humor. Someone who approaches life with this attitude would be a fun character to read about. You've got the juices flowing. Go for it.

  4. If you move to Provo The Paper Wait would have a NC, FL, and UT satellite. Next. . . World Domination!

  5. Too funny! I was seriously thinking of doing the same as you, but then I realized I would never be able to fulfill an important component...having 3 sons or 3 kids period!

    I must find an agent who appreciates the wisdom that only comes with age.

  6. Ha, ha! Funny J.L. And holy cow! Seven figures????

  7. Larissa: Sure, come one, let's all head out west. We can start a commune for children's book writers. Daily critiques, dedicated writers' hours, and, of course, ski breaks at Alta!

    J.A.: Before I weave in backstory, I'm going to start with action--and, man oh man, is it ever spicy.

    Linda: I'm glad you like my character development, so far. Of course, you already know what I want most in the world, so my motivation is clear.

    Meg: The Paris office is next. That's Paris, France, not Paris, Texas.

    Bish: Your approach is much saner than mine.

    Corey: Yes, seven, as in followed by six zeros.