From Imagination To Publication

Thursday, July 27, 2017

MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY: Author Rachele Alpine

Have you ever wondered how authors get their start?
How do they get agents?
How do they get published?
Is it luck? Talent? Drive?

This segment is an attempt to satisfy my immense answer the one question I'm dying to ask every author out there: 

How did your book become a book?


Rachele Alpine
Author of 


Do you have an agent?
Yes, I’m with Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Agency.

How many queries did you send?
I sent about 40 queries for my first book and it took between 4-5 months to sign with my first agent.
For my second agent, I sent out around 10-15 queries before I signed with Natalie (I found the process a little easier this time around).

If represented, how long did it take to get your agent?
It took about a month to sign with Natalie.

If you have an agent, can you copy and paste your successful query letter for others to reference?

Dear Ms. Lakosil:

I’m a 2013 debut YA author looking for representation for my 50,000 word MG novel OPERATION PUCKER UP. I read that you were looking for middle grade novel with heart, and I think my main character has just that. 

When Haddie’s dad walked out, she survived just fine with her mom and little sister as part of the “Terrific Three.” But all that changes when her dad shows up on Pizza Night and announces he’s moving back in. The Terrific Two open their arms to the man who abandoned them, but Haddie can’t simply forgive and forget.  What if he leaves again?  Is it worth the risk?

If that weren’t bad enough, she’s been cast as the lead in her junior high’s production of Snow White…which would be cool if she didn’t have to kiss Prince Charming...on the lips! She’s never kissed a boy, and the idea of experiencing that “first” in front of an audience makes her knees turn to Jell-O. To help, Haddie’s two best friends propose Operation Pucker Up—a plan to score a kiss before opening night. She reluctantly agrees, but as the plots become more ridiculous and everyone in her house is too busy playing happy family to help, Haddie begins to think this whole love stuff is way too complicated.

When Operation Pucker Up goes horribly wrong, she realizes life isn’t cut-and-dry, and sometimes people deserve second chances. As opening night approaches, Haddie is determined to achieve her happily ever after, both on stage and with her family.

My first YA novel, CANARY, will be published by Medallion Press in August, and it has already received blurbs from authors such as Daisy Whitney, Erin Jade Lange, and Jennifer Brown. I’m a MFA fiction candidate at Cleveland State University through the NEOMFA, teach high school Language Arts, and hold a Masters in English Education from Boston University. 
I’ve recently parted ways with my agent, and would love to work with you on this and other drafted novels.  OPERATION P.U. has not been submitted to publishers and the summary/partial for my next YA novel is also available.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Rachele Alpine


How did you (or your agent) find your publisher?
My agent subbed my first book, Operation Pucker Up, to a bunch of publishers that she thought would be a good fit for the book.  Secretly, I was hoping that it would find a home with Aladdin Mix.  I love the type of books they do (and their covers are super cute!).  I could totally picture my book hanging out with all their other titles!  

How long did it take to find a publisher?
We were on sub with my first book for about five months.  I’ve since sold two other middle grade novels on proposal to my editor and one YA novel.  I love working with her, and hope we continue to create books together!

What do you like about your publisher?
I love working with Simon & Schuster.  The team is so fun and friendly and my editor is a dream.  She totally gets my books, offers awesome suggestions, and we work great together.  We also share a mutual love for gummy candy, musicals, and an obsession for Hamilton, which doesn’t hurt either!  I’ve met her in person twice and both times we’ve gone out to eat and talked the entire time like we were old friends.  It’s great to work with someone whose work you admire and you just genuinely like their personality.

What do you dislike about your publisher?
There isn’t anything that I dislike about them.  Maybe the fact that they’re in New York, so I only get to meet up with my editor when I’m visiting.  Ha!  

Did you or your agent hit any snags along the way, and if so how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest snag I hit along the route to publishing was the fact that my agent sold my second middle grade title, You Throw Like a Girl, when my son was eight days old.  She had asked me if I was getting any sleep as a new mom, and when I told her barely, she said it was about to get worse, because she’d sold my book!  To say that those early months of figuring out motherhood were a whirlwind, would be an understatement!  My son, Nolan, was along for the entire ride…sleeping or eating near me while I wrote.  We spent much of his early months in the Starbucks at my local Barnes & Noble, where I’d write while he slept.  I still don’t know how I finished that book, but I’m super proud of it, and love seeing the dedication in the front to my little guy. 

Did traditional publishing get your book(s) in Barnes & Noble or other bookstores?
Yes, which was so surreal!  All my titles have been in traditional bookstores, and I still get a little thrill every time I see them on the shelves!

Did your publisher produce a hardcover of your book or just paperback?
Yes, all my books have hardcover versions.  My middle grade books came out in hardcover and paperback at the same time, with the idea that the hardcover would be for libraries and schools, while the paperback would be more affordable for kids.

Did your publisher create an audiobook for you?
No audiobooks yet, but that sure would be cool!


What marketing tactics worked for you?
I think my biggest tactic is to just be myself on social media. I share my life, my struggles and triumphs with writing, and always try to be authentic.  I also have reader guides for each of my books linked to the Common Core standards.  These can be used in schools or with book clubs.  Another really fun thing that I’m doing is a PenPal program with Girl Scouts for me book, You Throw Like a Girl, which is full of girl power!  I had a patch made and troops read the book, write me a letter with questions after they finish (using good old fashion snail mail), and then I write back.  I was in Girl Scouts when I was growing up, and the younger version of myself would have freaked out if I knew there would one day be a patch for a book I wrote!

If you are traditionally published, what did your publisher do to market your book?
My publisher has done a variety of things including placing ads in magazines, doing school and library outreach, scheduling blog tours, and sharing excerpts from the books.


Looking back would you do anything differently?
I don’t think I would.  Sometimes I feel like the journey to my agent and editor was a long one, but I’m so happy at where I’m at, I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.  They were both well worth the wait!
What lessons have you learned? Any advice for those about to go down your path?
I think it’s important to remember that publishing moves sooooo slowly, so be patient.  It’s also very subjective, so one agent or editor might love something, while another may hate it.  Don’t take things too personally.  And remember, you only need one agent and one editor who loves your work, so keep at it until you find your perfect fit!
Can you provide names and/or contacts for the following?
Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Aladdin
Book Tour Organizer: Flying Book Club


Listen to her latest interview- Aired on NPR! 


A haunting novel about a girl who must face the consequences after her actions indirectly lead to her sister’s disappearance.

Rhylee didn’t mean to kiss her sister’s boyfriend. At least, not the first time. But it doesn’t matter, because her sister, Abby, caught them together, ran into the dark woods behind their house…and never came home.

As evidence mounts that something terrible has happened to Abby, no one wants to face the truth. Rhylee can’t bring herself to admit what she’s done: that she is the reason her sister ran away. Now Tommy, Abby’s boyfriend, is the prime suspect in her disappearance, and Rhylee’s world has been turned upside down. Slowly, Rhylee’s family is breaking—their lives center on the hope that Abby will return. Rhylee knows they need to face the truth and begin healing—but how can they, when moving on feels like a betrayal? And how do you face the guilt of wishing a person gone…when they actually disappear?


Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Gail Nall, Dee Romito, Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, and Jen Malone have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.