I've wanted to hit the NYT list for as long as I can remember. It's been the #1 thing on my bucket list since I started writing seriously and I was determined to achieve that goal someday. But I never expected to hit it anytime soon...or with this book.
Why? Because Future Shock was a book no one wanted.
Future Shock was the fourth book I wrote. My first two books were completely terrible and no one has ever seen them but me (thank god!). I got my agent, Kate Testerman, with my third book - but it didn't sell. The next book I wrote was Future Shock. And guess what? No one wanted it either! It was sci-fi in a time publishers weren't buying that genre and had a Mexican-American heroine too. All my rejections said the same thing: "Elizabeth is a great writer, but we don't think this will stand out in the crowded YA market."
After over a year trying to sell Future Shock, I was ready to give up. Not just on the book itself, but on writing completely. By then, I'd had two books that didn't sell...and I was starting to wonder if the problem was me.
But I couldn't give up. My friends and family wouldn't let me, and I knew in my soul that writing was my life's work. So I took a break from sci-fi and wrote something totally different for fun - a new adult contemporary romance called More Than Music. I rediscovered my love of writing, and people seemed to enjoy the book, which was amazing.
After More Than Music came out, my agent wanted to try selling Future Shock one more time. I told her to go for it, but I didn't think it would actually sell. I'd already written it off as a book that would be shelved forever.
Within a few weeks, we had an offer.
I wrote Future Shock in 2012. It sold to Albert Whitman & Co in 2014. It hit the New York Times bestseller list in 2016.
I am so grateful to my friends and family for not letting me quit writing, to my agent for never giving up on this book (or on me!), and to everyone at Albert Whitman for taking a chance on Future Shock -- and buying an entire trilogy!. Plus they put a badass Latina woman on the cover! And now she's on the NYT list like a queen!
Future Shock came out in April, but it made the NYT list this week thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication, a ton of perseverence, a big heaping dose of luck, and most importantly, because of the amazing support of my friends, family, and readers.
I'm telling you all this because I wanted to give up so many times. I came very, very close. But I kept writing, kept dreaming, and kept fighting to get my books out there. I worked my butt off and I was determined to succeed, even in the face of many rejections and disappointments. And after many years, it all paid off.
So if you're writing or trying to reach some other goal, I want you to keep at it too. Even when it gets hard. Even when you feel like giving up. Like all the best journeys, sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Your time will come too.
Don't give up. I believe in you.
And thank you for all your support.