I have a Secret. Kind of.

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Because so many are asking (and really, I love you all for it!) here’s why I can’t tell you what my Secret YA project is, and why I can’t tell you when I’ll be able to tell you what my Secret YA project is:

Because it’s a secret. It’s right there in the title. ;)

Kidding, of course.

Okay, so here’s the real deal. I’m writing the Secret YA project on speculation.

According to Merriam-Webster (and that guy usually knows what he’s talking about), speculation in this instance is defined as, “[an] assumption of unusual business risk in hopes of obtaining commensurate gain.”

What that means, in practical terms, is that I am writing this book without having sold it first. The business risk, in this case, is the chance that no publisher will want to buy the book, which will mean I’ve wasted months of my life and of my career that could have been spent writing books that did sell, thus helped me pay my bills. The “commensurate gain” is the possibility (I like to think of it as a probability) that the book will sell, once I’m ready to send it out.

How is that different from how I usually do business? Well, I’m no superstar, but after five years in publishing and seventeen novels sold (to publishers) I’ve been fortunate enough to sell fifteen of my seventeen sold novels sight unseen. Some on proposal. Some on…well…my track record of writing (and finishing!) books on time and in reasonable condition.

[The two I sold based on full manuscripts were Stray (my very first) and My Soul To Take (my first YA), each of which sold as the first in a three-book deal.]

Could I have sold Secret YA on proposal, without having to write the whole thing first? Maybe. Probably.

Why didn’t I? Because, much like with Stray and My Soul To Take, this Secret YA is a departure for me. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever written. New world. New characters. Possibly a new (for me) genre–but I’ll let my agent have the final say on what genre this is. Because of all that newness, and because it isn’t enough like what I’ve done before to be judged by my previous work, my literary agent and I agree that the best way to present this new idea is in its finished form.

So why can’t I talk about it yet? Because it isn’t finished. And because my agent hasn’t seen this book yet. She knows what it’s about, but she hasn’t actually seen any of it, and I can’t tell you guys what I’m writing before my agent has even seen it. That’s just how this works. In fact, I can’t tell you guys what this book is about until it sells, if it sells. (This is the part where you all cross your fingers for me!)

No one has seen any of this book except for my critique partner and my husband (and he’s only read the first chapter). Only four people in the world know what this book is about. My agent, my CP, my husband, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes, because she looked interested at a moment when I was just dying to tell someone what I was working on.

I’ve been working on this book for more than two years. The ideas have evolved drastically since then. I’ve had setbacks and moments of true elation, when I realized how certain parts are meant to be written. That’s a great feeling. I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to take notes on my phone. I’ve scrapped nearly 50,000 words in a total of three previous versions of this book, and every single one of those word-dumps hurt like you would not believe. This book hasn’t yet made me a single dime. It hasn’t paid any portion of any of my bills. Yet, even fit between my existing deadlines, it’s taken up more time than anything I’ve ever written. I would love for all this work to pay off. I’m doing my best to make sure that happens, which is why I’m not sending it to my agent for submission until it’s as close to perfect as I can get it.

Here’s what little I can tell you: It’s a young adult book, but most of the characters are in their very late teens. It contains intense, detailed world-building, but is much easier to understand than the Unbound worldbuilding. It’s grittier than Soul Screamers and contains action more along the lines of my Shifters series. It contains paranormal elements, but in this particular case, I’d hesitate to label it only as “paranormal,” because that doesn’t capture the book at all.

Having said all of that, I promise to let you all know what this book is as soon as it sells and I have permission to announce that sale. Assuming that happens. But before that can happen, I have to finish the book and possibly go through a round of revisions with my agent. Then she has to sell it. So…it could be a while. I truly, honestly don’t know how long. I have no way of answering the “When?” question. It takes as long as it takes, which is the beauty of writing on speculation–there’s no deadline! Except that ticking clock in my head, constantly reminding me that if I don’t get this book finished and out into the world, someone else is going to write my idea, and it’ll be too late for this book!

That’s a terrible feeling, by the way. But it never goes away.

So…anyway…there you go.

Also, I realize I forgot to post this week’s giveaway. Check back in on Monday for next week’s. I’ve already got the entry question ready!


  1. Amelia (The Authoress)

    September 8, 2012

    Wow. It’s inspiring for me — as an aspiring author without a single book under my belt — to see you, a highly successful author of both the adult and young adult crowds, to, in a way, come back to “square one” where there’s the trepidation of how the product of so much effort will pay off. It’s posts like these that make me realize that authors are just as human as me. ;)

    Thanks for sharing! I’m excited for the new book! :)


    • Rachel Vincent

      September 8, 2012

      Oh, we are all so human! Full of doubts and fears and insecurities, just like anyone else. ;)

  2. Rachel

    September 8, 2012

    Oh my gosh this secret book of yours is killing me and I’ve only heard your tweets about it for a few months! I can’t WAIT until it sells. Because it WILL sell. And I hope it gets the full court press – with all the buzz and hype that will make this a BEST SELLER.

    Waiting sucks for us, but we’ve only been waiting a short while. But writing a book for years that you’re trying to make perfect must be so tough for you. Especially since it hasn’t yet sold. Especially since you don’t know if there will be a market for it when it’s finally ready to be presented all shiny and pretty with a bow to your editor.

    I wish you the BEST of luck with finishing it before anyone even comes close to grabbing your idea. And it’s best not to leak any details anywhere in case someone takes that thread and weaves it into something before you do.

    But I, for one, am so super excited for you, that you’re getting to the finish line. Of course I’d kill to be your agent right about now. :)

  3. khn21

    September 8, 2012

    Well Rachel!

    The secret project souns like it has best of all three of your worlds you’ve created, Soul Screamers, Unbound and Shifter series. I’m positive that it will sell and it has to sell since you’ll be ending two series in the early year of 2013.
    Best of luck :)

  4. Jen K

    September 8, 2012

    If anyone can sell this book, it’s you :) You are incredibly talented and I have no doubt that we will see this wonderful addition on the shelves soon. Can’t wait!

  5. Kimberley S

    September 8, 2012

    This makes me smile so much. That you’ve got these amazing ideas you’re forming and working so hard on, without knowing the outcome yet. It makes me excited for future books. I wish you so much luck and I’m going to keep my fingers and toes crossed for success; because I want to read everything you write :)

  6. starryeyedjen

    September 8, 2012

    This is most excellent news! Knowing that the Soul Screamer series is coming to an end soon and that I have no more Shifters to look forward to, this news has me feeling elated! I understand the importance of secrecy, but it’s still going to be torture for us. Obviously, not as much as what you’re going through, but at least you know you have the support of your readers. All we get is your teasing! :P Anyway, I have no doubt that your secret project will be top notch. Best of luck!

  7. Jess (The Cozy Reader)

    September 8, 2012

    That’s awesome Rachel!! Wishing you the best luck with finishing your book and the selling of the book once you’re done!

  8. Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

    September 8, 2012

    I’m almost scared to read your new book (because I KNOW it’s gonna be published ;) ) because i know it’ll be twice as awesome as Soul Screamers! But ahh, the suspense is killing me! Paranormal, but not quite? Is it a paranormal contemporary or something?!? And I can’t wait to read about what creatures you’re gonna write about now!

    Right now, I so wanna be your agent/ CP/ Jennifer Lynn Barnes/ #1. :P

  9. smiling_ina

    September 8, 2012

    This is so super exciting!!! I’m even more excited about your secret book than I already was before reading your post!

    I wish you all the best and keep my fingers crossed that all your hard work on this project will pay off, which I’m sure it will!!! :)

  10. Kai Charles

    September 9, 2012

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you! Thanks for sharing your process. I love that you say this book is different then anything you’ve written before. I rarely read the blurbs on your work because you are firmly in the “buy” column of my book lists! Really enjoy the fact that you take risks and add a fresh POV to the established genres :)

  11. abi

    September 9, 2012

    Good luck Rachel…. Can barely wait to know more about your novel… hope you get it out asap… ;) Good luck…
    wishing for your best!!! :)


  12. Jo

    September 9, 2012

    I am SO intrigued by this book! I look forward to hearing more about it when you’re able to chat – once it’s sold, because, of course, it will be! :) Eeee, it sounds so exciting!

  13. Tara

    September 10, 2012

    I wish i hadn’t read this post ’cause i tottally forgot about this mystery book…until now. the suspence is killing me

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Rachel Vincent
I am a writer and a fantasy/ horror fan. I am married to my No 1. fan, mother to two brilliant teens/tweens (code names: Melody & Maestro), and slave to two spoiled cats (Nyx & Cleo). Welcome to my blog!Rachel Vincent



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