Guest Post by Marissa Meyer Cinder: The Story of the Sale

First, I want to thank Pam for being a part of the Cinder Blog Tour and inviting me to be a guest on her blog on a most important day. Her birthday!

So—Happy Birthday, Pam! Here is a special Cinderella cake for you:


On this tour stop, I’m going to talk about my path from aspiring-writer to writer-with-a-book-deal, but this post comes with a warning. It’s, er, kind of one of those stories that’s jaw-droppingly surreal and not unlike Cinderella’s fairy godmother waving her wand and making all my dreams come true overnight.

Yes—I’m one of those authors.

I started writing Cinder on November 1, 2008, and finished the first draft—70,000 words—in about two weeks. During the next two years, I would alternate between revising and editing Cinder, writing the drafts of Books 2 and 3 of The Lunar Chronicles (I had the series fairly well outlined from the start), and also finishing up a few fanfics, as I’d been writing Sailor Moon fanfiction for ages and didn’t want to leave any stories unfinished.

Then, on August 16, 2010, I determined it was finally time. The book was as good as I could make it, I had a plan for the rest of the series, and there was nothing I could do to make myself any more appealing to agents. I had to start querying.

I should point out that I have a Master’s degree in publishing and I’d been reading writer blogs and magazines for years and years, so I was well aware that this can be a slow, agonizing process. I psyched myself up with tales of authors who had pasted a hundred rejection slips on their walls, only to go on to be huge bestsellers. I gave myself plenty of pep-talks. Cinder was my first novel and while I was as hopeful as any author could be, I was also aware that many first novels never sell, and I already had ideas simmering in my imagination in case I needed to shelve The Lunar Chronicles and move on to another project.

Well. Two months later, I had three offers of representation and ended up signing with Jill Grinberg, the very first agent I’d queried—my Number One Dream Agent. Pinch me now.

I shrieked, I danced, I drank my “get an agent” champagne. Then I tempered my delirium and got back to work.

It was important to me from the start that we try to sell all four books, because I had a thorough plan of how I saw each book playing out. We decided to go on submission not only with the manuscript for Cinder, but also summaries for the rest of the series and the first fifty pages of Book 2: Scarlet. I spent two weeks getting that all prepared, along with preparing an author bio and having publicity photos taken.

My agent went on submission to publishers on Friday, October 29.

We had our first offer the following Monday, November 1—on the two-year anniversary from the day I’d started writing Cinder.

About a week later, the series went to auction between two publishing houses and we accepted the offer from Macmillan’s Feiwel & Friends on November 11. Less than three months after I’d sent my first query, I was enjoying my “get a book deal” champagne.

It was a blur and a dream and completely unexpected. Even now, thirteen months later, with a finished book and plane tickets in hand for my first book tour, it still hasn’t begun to feel entirely real. I sometimes wonder if it ever will.

* Dire Straits


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55 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I have always enjoyed Ella Enchanted.

  2. Gravatar

    It’s been exciting to watch a success story from the beginning! I’m so happy to finally be reading Cinder!

  3. Gravatar

    Oh wow, I have no idea what my favorite fairytale re-telling is! I am not sure I have read one yet, to be honest. So Cinder shall be my first! :)

  4. Gravatar

    Wow — that does sound like a fairy tale! But it’s clearly well deserved and because of hard work. I feel inspired now!

  5. Gravatar

    My favorite fairytale retelling would be Just Ella by Margret Peterson Haddix. :)


  6. Gravatar

    Cinder look and sounds AMAZING!!! I can’t wait to read it!


  7. Gravatar

    Cinder was an amazing re-telling! I also love Entwined by Heather Dixon. What a cool publishing story!

  8. Gravatar

    That is so awesome! I think my favorite fairytale re-telling as of right now is A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn…its such a great book and I love that she writes her story from a male POV. The book is also filled with some great humor…I love to laugh ;-) I know that Cinder will be a new favorite…I can’t wait to read it! :-D

    -Crystal M

  9. Gravatar

    I don’t think I read a fairytale re-telling yet. I’m looking forward to reading Cinder.

  10. Gravatar

    Snow White is my favorite :)

  11. Gravatar

    It’s not just one fairy tale, you see. I love the movie the 10th Kingdom. It’s kind of like a retelling of all fairytales and nursery rhymes.

  12. Gravatar

    My favorite re-telling of a fairy tale is Ever After. Obviously not a book. My favorite book re-telling is by far Cinder!

  13. Gravatar

    I’m not sure I could pick just one. I’ve enjoyed all the stories I’ve read in the Once Upon A Time series. Thanks for the giveaway. I’ve heard amazing things about Cinder. Can’t wait to read it.

  14. Gravatar

    I really love Devoured by Amanda Marrone. Thanks!

  15. Gravatar

    I seriously cannot tell which one is my fav Fairy Tale retelling… And yes I was thinking hard – I was never really a big fan of this. BUT since I read so much praise about Cinder, I definitely want to read it now ..

    And, Dear Marissa: I LOVED reading your story, it definitely does sound like a Fairy Tale – I’m so happy for you! :))

  16. Gravatar

    For the traditional fairytales, I Think Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire was my favorite in book form.

  17. Gravatar

    My favorite is Ever After. I like the strong Cinderella figure in that one – and the idea that she doesn’t need a prince to save her. I think that’s one of the reasons that I liked Cinder, too.

  18. Gravatar

    Great interview! This book was amazing! Can’t wait to see Marissa in April at the Teen Book Con in Houston! I think my favorite story retelling is probably Jane Eyre lol LOVE it!

  19. Gravatar

    Cinder has moved its way to the top spot, but prior to Cinder, I loved Ever After. Cinderella was a strong heroine in that story, and the writing was excellent.

    Such a wonderful writing journey! I’m glad for you, and you deserve all the things that came your way.

  20. Gravatar

    I love Ella Enchanted and Ash by Malinda Lo.

  21. Gravatar

    I haven’t actually read too many retellings, but I enjoyed watching Beastly and reading A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn. I’m pretty certain she can do no wrong in the fairytale retelling category.

  22. Gravatar

    I absolutely loved Cinder- such a great retelling, and I loved how it wasn’t just Cinderella, that is also had bits of Snow Queen and other stories. I’ve been raving about it to the customers at work. Congrats on such an amazing publishing journey!

  23. Gravatar

    Wow, that is wonderful! It gives me the hope and encouragement to continue with my own writing. I look forward to reading Cinder!!!

  24. Gravatar

    I loved Ella Enchanted too. :D

    I saw a great review of Cinder a couple of weeks ago and it made me really interested in it.

  25. Gravatar

    Not to sound like I’m sucking up or anything, but Cinder has been my very favorite retelling so far! I haven’t read many of them, so this was a wonderful one to start out with. :)

  26. Gravatar

    My favorite retelling would probably ella Enchanted

  27. Gravatar

    Several years ago I read a great re-telling of Beauty & the Beast, but of course I’m drawing a blank on the title and author (not Beastly).

  28. Gravatar

    My favorite fairy tale re-telling would have to be Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley. Love that book.

    Loved the “the story of the Sell” of Cinder. =)

  29. Gravatar

    This is such a hard question! I LOVE fairy tale retellings, but I’d probably have to go with Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl. It was my first book of hers and still my favorite.

  30. Gravatar

    Although not a book but rather a movie, my favorite would be Ever After. I just love that movie. I did enjoy Tangled very much too.

  31. Gravatar

    I think my favorite retelling would have to be Ever After. I think I’ve seen that movie a million times!

  32. Gravatar

    I like the way the Shrek Movies retold many bits of fairy tales. I haven’t found a book, other than Ella Enchanted that did a good job of this yet. I’m excited to read Cinder and find a great one, though!

    Here’s an Amazon list of YA fairytale retellings to add to the discusson:


    Thank you for the opportunity for the giveaway!

  33. Gravatar

    So far of the ones I’ve read I have to go with Cinder & Ella by Melissa Lemon. It still felt familiar, but somehow was completely unique. I’d love to read Cinder too! I love Cinderella retellings. =) Thanks for the giveaway!

  34. Gravatar

    I love fairy tales. My favorite retelling would probably have to be Ella Enchanted.

  35. Gravatar

    I haven’t read it yet, but I know CINDER would be my favorite fairy tale retelling. I do love Once Upon a Time. It’s fabulous.

    I love how the day Marissa decided it was time to start querying her stories was actually on my birthday! :D

  36. Gravatar

    I love Ella Enchanted. It’s so simple and innocent, but it didn’t adhere to the story in a cloying way.

  37. Gravatar

    I really like Cinder a great retelling with a twist. I also liked Cinderella by Rogers & Hammerstein, Ever After, Beastly, and so many more. It’s always fun to see a different side to an age-old story.

  38. Gravatar

    I’m so excited for this book and I’m really glad that Marissa pushed for all four books at once, because the entire series sounds brilliant! :)

  39. Gravatar

    So far one of my favorite fairy tale retellings is BEASTLY by Alex Flinn, though I really think they botched the movie…

  40. Gravatar

    Cinder was AWESOME! So excited to meet Marissa in Provo tomorrow!

  41. Gravatar

    My favorite fairy tale retelling would be the 10th Kingdom Series. I love how that mini series was so playful and wrapped so many fairy tales into one fun movie.

  42. Gravatar

    I really want to read this book, but I can’t afford to go out and buy it. I’ve entered at least 2 giveaways for this book … crossing fingers!

  43. Gravatar

    I’m so enthralled! The spanish translation cover is gorgeous!

  44. Gravatar

    My favorite fairytale retelling is definitely the 10th Kingdom! I loved the set-up, the characters and seeing every famous character aged and living their lives.

  45. Gravatar

    My favorite fairytale retelling would be either the movie Ever After, or the book Wicked.

  46. Gravatar

    That’s hard to decide, but I think my favorite retelling is the movie Ever After. I loved Drew Barrymore in it. And doesn’t need her prince to save her from the bad guy!

  47. Gravatar

    I think my favorite is Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.

  48. Gravatar

    My favorite fairy tale retelling would probably be Ella Enchanted. It was such a charming tale!

  49. Gravatar

    Cinder actually is my favorite fairy tale retelling. I had the pleasure of reading it on Netgalley, and I can’t wait to read it in its final form. It was just so inventive and clever, yet also with the same Cinderella elements we are familiar with. I love that it’s part of an overarching story, that other fairy tales are connected in this world, much like the world of my new favorite show, Once Upon a Time. I can’t wait to read this again!

  50. Gravatar

    I think its Slumber by Samantha Young ( Sleeping Beauty )

  51. Gravatar

    I really liked Beastly, even though I haven’t read the book yet but I loved the movie! :)

  52. Gravatar

    It’s been so much fun reading about everyone’s fav retellings, and I even picked up on some that I haven’t read yet! *rushes off to TBR list*

    Thank you all so much, and thank you again, Pam, for being a part of the tour!

  53. Gravatar

    My favorite retelling would be Beastly, A Kiss in Time and Cloaked all by Alex Flinn.

  54. Gravatar

    Cinder sounds so epic! Kudos for the creative ideal. :D

  55. Gravatar

    I Love YOUR story! And it’s so great to see that Cinder is already a NYT bestseller. Such a great concept and beautiful cover! I’ve been finishing up my first novel, DEWITCHED, a Snow White sequel, from the POV of the Evil Queen… and can’t wait to read Cinder. Will pass it on to my twin tweens afterward. Wishing you much success!

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