The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Sunday, March 1, 2009



So today was supposed to be my press date for Hourglass Door. But, as is often the case, the last 10% seems to take longer to finish than the other 90%. We’re down to cleaning up the last nuts and bolts, and it’ll go early next week. Which is okay by me because part of me is oddly terrified to send it to press and actually see it published. Granted, it’s a small part and usually doesn’t get much attention because the rest of me is still screaming “Hooray! My book is being published!” But that voice seems to be gaining strength the closer I get to my press date and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

Perhaps it’s because this is my first book. My first time as an author. I know it probably sounds strange because I spent all day every day publishing books—but for other people. And, believe me, it’s different when it’s your own book.

I recognize that my path to publication was a little different than other authors since I actually work for the company publishing my book, but it was different in part because I kept my writing a secret from my coworkers. I wanted the people in the office to be able to review my book without the burden of bias. Without feeling obligated to like it and without feeling awkward if they didn’t. For the year or so that I was working on Hourglass Door only three people knew anything about it: Chris Schoebinger (the YA product director), Anne Sheffield (my immediate supervisor), and Jay Parry (my good friend and next-door office neighbor)—and frankly, I’m not sure Anne and Jay knew much more than I was working on a book. Chris knew more details about the plot and the characters because I’d pop into his office periodically and let him know a quick status report: “I’ve got about 50,000 words now.” “I just figured out something cool about the ending.” “I just wrote the Prologue and it’ll knock your socks off.”

The secrecy was both good and bad. Good, because it worked perfectly: my coworkers read my manuscript and didn’t know it was me and so were honest in their reactions and reviews. (The fact that they loved it was particularly gratifying for that very reason.) The secrecy was bad because it was only after my book was accepted and had a production schedule lined up that I discovered how hard it was to talk to people about my book. I still felt like I had to keep it a secret, which was not particularly compatible with what the marketing department wanted to do—which was to tell everyone in the world about my book.

Over the last few months, I’ve had to consciously shift into “blab mode.” So now when my hairdresser says, “How are you today?” instead of saying “Fine,” I say, “I’m doing great! I have a book coming out this spring and I’m really excited about it.” And when I see my neighbor at the grocery store and we start chatting about books, I find a way to mention my good news. For a girl who grew up painfully shy, this is a big step for me.

I hope this blog will be another big step for me. A way to blab about my book on a grander scale than to just my neighbors at the store. A way to chronicle my transformation from full-time editor to first-time author and beyond.

I hope you’ll join me on this amazing journey. I can’t wait!


  1. I love to read author's journeys to publication and want you to know how thrilled I am for you! It's time to toot your own horn and let people know about this amazing book you've written. I can't wait to read it.

  2. I feel so much like you! It's so hard to go from being shy to being an author. I was glad to hear someone else feels the same way! Congratulations!

  3. Lisa, congratulations! I am so looking forward to reading your book!

  4. Man, I can't imagine having to keep my book a secret. How on earth did you make it? 0_0

    I'm so excited for your book :)