YA Author Janet Gurtler: Deadlines as a Sourcebooks Author

If you are like me, there’s nothing better than meeting a writer you knew online in person. Okay, okay, there is something better–having lunch with them because you live in the same city, cheering as they release books into the world, and best of all, getting to call them a friend.

Enter my friend and YA author, Janet Gurtler.

Janet is uber talented…and that isn’t just the friendship talking. She’s releasing her third book with Sourcebooks, and I couldn’t be happier for her! Just a few days ago, I attended her launch party (way awesome) for WHO I KISSED and had to quickly snag a book before they were all gone. (Yes, her writing is that good!)

One thing I admire most about Janet is her amazing ability to focus and write. Since May 2011, she’s released 3 books! I am amazed. In awe. And completely gobsmacked that she is able to accomplish so much in such a short time!

So, I asked her here to tell us a bit about what it’s like.

DEADLINES by Janet Gurtler

The last two books I wrote were under contract before they were finished. That is an amazing thing. To be able to write a book that you know is going to be published. Trust me, I’ve written my fair share of books tucked away that will never be seen by anyone. It’s tough to keep the faith and keep writing when you’re not sure if your books are ever going to be published. Well. I shouldn’t speak for anyone else but me. For me it was hard. So to know what I’m working on will someday be encased under a cover and available in bookstores is amazing. I consider myself very lucky.

Writing under contract also introduces a new concept. Deadline. It’s kind of an ominous sounding word isn’t it?  Dead plus a line.  On the other hand, I remember hearing about writers with a deadline before I was published, heck even after I was published, and thinking it sounded delightful and delicious.  Mmmm. Deadline. Trust me, it really is, but it’s also a little intimidating. Scary. Good scary. Along with the knowledge that people are going to read the words you’re writing is the OH MY GOD knowledge that people are going to read the words. So they better be good.  But no pressure. Right?

The other side of the deadline is the line. And the part where you’re dead if you don’t cross it on time.  At least it feels that way. I would be absolutely devastated if I missed a deadline. And it’s funny that no matter how much time I get, for me it always seems to come down to the last month.  I don’t speak for anyone but myself. For me it all comes down to crunch time. I kind of instinctively know where I have to be by that month and when. And then it’s messy house, take-out for the boy, nose buried in the laptop, busy.  The story becomes all consuming. It’s up late late at night so emerged in the story that I sometimes blink at my son and husband and have to remind myself who they are.  And strangely, I kind of love it.  I’m not so sure if they agree.

Though each publishing house is probably different with timelines, I think with deadlines you tend to write to a shorter timeline.  I know friends who have done Write For Hire books and their deadlines are super tight.  So there’s no time to wait for your muse to speak to you. You have a deadline, you’re expected to keep it.

I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing with Sourcebooks. After WHO I KISSED was turned in, I signed a new three-book contract. They are definitely a publishing house that gets behind their writers.  They are amazing at branding, all you have to do is look at my covers to see what I mean.


But branding also means keeping momentum going. And so does a three book contact. This means that they want books available for certain seasons. Publishing houses work way ahead of the current schedule.  Sourcebooks had a sales meetings not too long ago, looking at their Fall 2013 line up. So, that often means tight deadlines from contracted writers, because there’s production and editing deadlines that have to be met on their end.  An editor is balancing and juggling a great number of books and doing a million other jobs to get books out and marketed, and man they have to have awesome time management skills.

Fortunately, I can write fairly fast and deadlines don’t destroy me. Though again, fast is relative. I have writer friends who can write three or four novels a year.  Others write one novel in two years.  So when taking on deadlines, I guess it’s about taking on what you know you can complete on time.

I am the type of writer who truly appreciates the revision process. For me the hardest part of writing a book is the drafting. I have an idea and I know where I want to go but I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get there.  Deadlines actually help with that process because in order for your editor to let your write your book, you have to give them a taste of it. Chapters and a synopsis.

The other thing that honestly helped with the tight deadline on my last two books was the wonderful book available from this very blog: The Emotion Thesaurus. (I SWEAR I did not pay her to say this, lol!) When writing the first draft I was often whipping down the story and knew I’d need to plump it up and add texture and layers later. Mmmm. Revisions.

I found myself writing dialogue or scenes and then marking ACTION HERE or BEAT HERE.  And later I often consulted the thesaurus as a guide to help me to round out my scenes, to add more SHOW and take out more TELL.

I’m starting in on Book 2 of my Contract and the deadline is just over six months away. Between thinking, plotting, writing, and getting to know my characters, it’ll give me enough time to be done. Can’t wait. Best get started!!!

~ * ~ * ~

Okay, I still don’t know how she does it. Perhaps she has a clone. Or seven. Yes, I am sure this must be it! Whatever she does, I hope she keeps at it, because more books means we all win!


Even BEEBS is checking out WHO I KISSED!
She never thought a kiss could kill… 

Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in… and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died–right in her arms.

Sam is now the school pariah and a media sensation–how did she not know Alex had a peanut allergy? Consumed with guilt, she’ll have to find a strength that goes way deeper than pulling off a fastest time in the 200-meter butterfly. Because if she can’t figure out how to forgive herself, no one else will either.

Want to find out more about Janet’s books?  Check out her blog, find her on Twitter and if you like, add her books to your Goodreads!


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Publishing and Self Publishing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to YA Author Janet Gurtler: Deadlines as a Sourcebooks Author

  1. Robin says:

    Great post! I am terrified of deadlines, but can’t wait until I have them-LOL! Yay for giveaways. and Janet’s books are great reads, so I’m in. robear529 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. Karen Lange says:

    It’s great to meet Janet! Wishing her all the best with her books! 🙂

  3. Congratulations on your three book contract and getting to meet Angela. 🙂

    It is really special to meet up with writers. My first writing friend (who encouraged me to start writing) is a well published mystery and romance writer. We both moved a few years ago so now we just email and facebook…

    I think I draft reasonably fast, but then I go back and add in all the emotion and details which takes time and research.

  4. Carrie says:

    I am in awe of her ability to complete not one but THREE books in such a short time. I have about 5 novels half started…I seem to have difficulties focusing on one project. Distractions abound…oh shiny!

    I’d love to read her book, thanks for the giveaway

    carrie dot rogozinski at gmail.com

  5. Inspirational but sounds like a crazy pace to keep up. It takes about a six months to a year for me to get the first draft done, then there’s editing, editing, editing. Three books in a year would definitely take away my sanity.

  6. Congrads on your book deal Janet!! I gotta get my fingers on your books asap! They sound awesome. Deadline. *shiver* She’s got a clone. For sure. *wink*

    robyn (at) robyncampbell (dot) com

  7. idea says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. I would LOVE a chance to win a copy! I have all Janet’s books and she won me over with the very first one.

    martzbookz (@) sbcglobal (dot) net

    This was a really interesting spotlight. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Angela, so awesome you get to meet with Janet. She’s such a sweetie! And gifted. Just as you are 🙂

  9. I think I’d be terrible writing under contract. Just knowing it would have to be done by a certain date would be enough to bring on writer’s block. Eek!

    whatinabox at gmail dot com

  10. Kristin Lenz says:

    Janet’s books have been on my list for awhile now – I keep hearing good things. Also great to hear about her positive experience with Sourcebooks. Keep up the good work!

  11. Deadlines scare the heck out of me – I’ve been working on my novel for over a year and am still at the re-write and fleshing out stage, lol. Your book sounds awesome, love the concept! 🙂

  12. A J Hawke says:

    What an intriguing concept for a novel.
    I appreciate the opportunity to obtain a copy.
    Janet is a new author for me and I look forward to becoming
    acquainted with her writing.

    A J Hawke

  13. Thanks for the nice comments!

    I feel really lucky to have Angie and the other ladies who make up our lunch crew (Stina, Linda, Leslie, Deb, Jan, Trish, Gloria.(

    We all support each other no matter where we are in our careers. I’m also pretty darn impressed with Angie’s book and we also share an agent so we’re triple connected!

  14. Marcia says:

    I love author interviews. I completely agree with Janet about the draft being the hard part, loving revisions, and finding out you can write faster than you thought when you have a deadline. I’ve been hearing about Who I Kissed and really want to read it. Thank you both for the interview!

  15. Rosi says:

    I absolutely loved I’m Not Her, so would be very excited to read Janet’s new book. Thanks for a great interview.

  16. Janet has been so supportive of me, so I feel like I’ve won the lottery, knowing her in person! 🙂


  17. Lynn says:

    Always exciting to meet another author that lives in your home town! Congratulations on your book deal, Janet. Love to get my hands on one of your books very soon.

  18. Ha! I love the picture!

    Drafting is my hard part, and revisions are the part I love, too! I’m in the middle of drafting my first deadline book– due Jan. 1– and I’m panicking!

  19. J says:

    Wow….. Like the others, I can’t wrap my mind around six months. Deadlines are a frightening idea for this crazed mama of four.

    Congrats on your success, Janet!

  20. I still can’t believe how quickly Janet writes and edits her books. I’d have a heart attack with such short deadlines.

    I’m starting WHO I KISSED today. 🙂

  21. Janet, I also struggle with the drafting stage so I appreciate you sharing this. It’s encouraging to hear how you deal with it, and so quickly! I read I’m Not Her, and loved it. Can’t wait to read the others.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Right now I take a LONG time to finish a first draft so the deadlines of publishing sound really scary. I just try to tell myself that others do it so I would be able to also.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck with your book. I’ve just started doing some blog tours with Sourcebooks and really like them.

  24. JeffO says:

    Six months and you’re just starting? Yikes! So far, it takes me about six months to finish a draft that is in no way ready for anyone to see. But I do agree that deadlines have a way of making you focus. It’s also important, as you mention, to write even when the muse is not so willing.

    Nice post, thanks for sharing!

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