get the newsletter

shine along

January 1, 2014

Starting Again

Kate Hart
skeleton key
I'm superstitious. I don't walk under ladders, I cross my heart if black cats cross my path, and I never leave a hat on the bed. I always knock wood, I throw spilled salt over my shoulder, and on New Year's, I always eat black-eyed peas -- my husband didn't bother to ask if yesterday's inconvenient grocery run was really necessary.

This year, I've seen a new superstition passed around: that what you do on New Years is what you'll do all year. And while I know from past experience that I've never ended up hungover for 12 months straight, and no amount of bowl game-watching has extended the college football season, I still like the idea. So here I am, writing a blog post, but not to get back in the habit. It's to start a new year of being honest with myself, and any of y'all who find yourselves in the same position.

Because career-wise, 2013 was disappointing. There's not a lot I can say about it publicly, but there was some soul crushing, and the end result is obvious: I'm still not published. Obviously I'm still writing and I'm still hopeful about various opportunities, but it's hard to write about writing and publishing without feeling ridiculous and embarrassed. Staying positive on Twitter is a challenge. Even Tumblr has gotten tough -- it's YA-central these days, and the irony of my "How To Get Published" chart making the rounds there this week is not lost on me, I can assure you.

so you want to get published chartBut as my girl Justina Ireland so concisely observed on that Tumblr post, "I find that there is a lot of crying and drinking and neurotically refreshing email missing from this flowchart." The business is hard. Life is tough. And I'm not doing myself any favors by wallowing or worrying what people might think about my failures the amount of time it's taking me to succeed.

So on that note, it's time to look at what was good about 2013, and what to look forward to in the coming year.

Favorite Albums:

Janelle Monae - Electric Lady // The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Dessa - Parts of Speech
The Shouting Matches - Grownass Man // Lorde - Pure Heroine (extended)

YA Highway's Holiday Road Trip:

Best Music to Write To/Be Inspired By:
Atoms For Peace - Amok // Paper Tiger - Made Like us (2010) // Bonobo - The North Borders

Best Book Of The Year:
 Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Most Unexpectedly Delightful Book Of The Year:
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
Book I Wanted To Hate But Couldn't Because Game Recognize Game:
 Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Book I Can't Get Out Of My Mind :
All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry and Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Best "New To Me" YA Author:
Elizabeth Wein
Best Sequel:
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Books Not Normally In My Wheelhouse That I Still Enjoyed:
The Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson
Best "I Want To Go To There" Setting in a Book: 
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Best in YA Films/Television:

Catching Fire

Best Book Covers

Most Anticipated Book Releases in 2014

Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour
Raven Boys III by Maggie Stiefvater
Begin Again by Sumayyah Daud


This year I finally reached my goal of reading 100 books (101!). But when I crunched the numbers, my diversity stats look about the same as the numbers over at YA Highway. We try to be proponents of diversity, so it's disappointing to see where we've personally failed, but I think it's better to be honest about those failures -- and motivating to see hard data that we need to do better. Only 17% of the authors I read this year were POC and/or LGBT, and next year I'll try to double that. 

No matter what path you take on that chart up there, all roads lead to the same place:

write a new book


  1. There are so many things I want to say to this, but it all comes down to the fact that you are way too talented to stay unpublished for long. THIS WILL BE YOUR YEAR, KATE HART!

    (And OMG thank you so much for looking forward to PUSH GIRL! <3)

  2. Wishing all the best for you in 2014! :)

  3. First,*hugs* And, also, I understand. I feel this post in my bones.
    But, NO BEING EMBARRASSED. Shame is so insidious and heartbreaking and we just need to kick it to the curb. All we can do is our best with the parts we have control over...the rest we have to let go. I really love this positive way you are approaching it all. :) <333

    Oh man, The National--Trouble Will Find Me = SO MUCH LOVE. I burned it to the ground. :)

    May 2014 be a year of Awesome for you.

    1. Oh girl, I actually saw The National live this year too -- get thee to a concert! <3

  4. Oh, have I been in this place. But just because you haven't sold a book yet absolutely does not mean you're not qualified to talk about whatever you want, including writing and publishing, anywhere you want. The doubt monster says all kinds of things, that I promise you no one else (whose opinion you should care about, anyway) is thinking. Your voice is missed when absent.

    The Internet, I think, makes the journey feel even longer sometimes. All I can say is that I have complete confidence your career will happen, because you are still writing and putting in the time in the trenches. Perseverance. And how long it took to get there? Won't matter once it happens, except possibly that you'll be all the more prepared to keep working in the face of the new challenges and stresses that come with publication. I know you have stories to tell.

    1. It's frustrating to be on the bubble, but you're right -- I'm definitely better prepared than I would have been four years ago. Thank you for the kind words, Gwenda.

  5. As Lola said, I feel this post in my bones too. It was hard for me when the year ended and I wasn't where I had wished and hoped and wanted to be in my writing and publishing life. I'm sorry things were the same for you. But, but, but, here's to 2014. I wish you a very Happy New Year, Kate!!!

  6. Kate, I'm in very much the same place as you, publishing-wise, and the only thing that keeps me from going completely nuts is knowing that there are crazy-talented and awesome people who still aren't published either. Thanks for your honesty, that fabulous list of upcoming books, and for being generally amazing. Here's to a fantastic 2014!

    1. Katy, I feel like we occupy such similar positions online, and often think of you in the same way -- super talented, and it's not like I've lost respect for you over time, so logically, I shouldn't lose it for myself either. Easier said than done, of course, but grateful to count you as a friend. <3

  7. Oooh, this post hits me right in the feels. 2014 is definitely the year of 'write more books and trying to forget about 2013's disappointments' for me.

    I hope you have an amazing 2014, Kate!

    1. You too -- good luck, and looking forward to seeing what you produce!

  8. You're amazing and as long as you keep at it I know your time WILL come girl. And I'm hoping this year will be amazing for you, because you deserve it dammit.

  9. Hi Kate,

    I just stopped by your blog for the first time. I thought this was such a lovely, honest post. Writing is such a tough biz. Having been an agent, I went through a lot of heartbreakers with clients. Resilience, persistence and devotion become just as important as talent in getting published. Anyway sending good vibes for 2014!

    ~Maya Rock

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, and for stopping by!

  10. Well I'm glad I'm not the only one reading this post several months after it came out. Just wanted to say I hear you and and can absolutely relate. Onward!


All content copyright Kate Hart 2016

Template copyright @ 2016, Blogger Templates Designed By Templateism | Distributed By Blogger Templates20