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  • Writer's pictureSydney J. Shields



The Honey Witch sold in a six-figure preempt, in a two-book deal to Orbit US and Orbit UK! I'm going to do a brief overview of how this all went down, but eventually, I'll do a whole post detailing my entire publishing journey thus far.

But for now, LET US SCREEEEEAAAAAM!!!!!!!!!

In May of 2022, I challenged myself to write this book in ONE week. Something in my gut told me that this was *THE* book and I knew that the faster I finished, the faster I would get to where I wanted to be. Call it intuition, call it luck, call it anything you like! I just had a very strong sense that this book idea was going to change my life.

TW: Loss of a grandparent, grief

Writing this book was cathartic for me. I lost my grandmother (very suddenly) a few months before, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever dealt with. I wrote this book to heal from that grief, and to feel like I was spending time with my grandma again. In many ways, writing this book was selfish because I wrote what I needed at the time—delicate, soft grief. And through many rounds of editing, the book became so much more.

I signed with my agent mid-September and we went out on sub in late October/early November. There were a lot of potential outcomes for this book, and I cannot even begin to imagine how I would have navigated this without my agent. She is so sharp and brilliant. When I got on the call with the editors at Orbit, I had another gut feeling that was similar to when I got the idea for the book. I wanted to work with them more than anything. I was actively fighting tears (in a good way) during the call with them because I was just so happy. All of the stars aligned for this deal—a six-figure, two-book preempt with a big-five publisher. Someone pinch me?!?!?!??

I have no idea when this will feel real. Maybe after this blog post goes up? But as of right now, I still cannot believe that this is my life.

Here is my timeline of this book, for those who are curious:


June - July - Most of August: Edited THW

Very end of August: Queried THW (I believe I sent 18 queries total, with 11 full requests and 4 offers of representation. It took about 2-3 weeks. I did have a few agents who would have offered if I could've given them more time, but I knew that my agent was the one for me so I didn't feel the need to change my deadline.)

September: Signed with CAA for literary/film/tv representation

October: Edited THW

November: Went on submission

December: SOLD

There are so many people I need to thank, so without further ado and in no particular order:

Thank you to Mollie Glick, my amazing agent who changed my life in the best ways. Thank you to Brit Hvide and Nadia Saward at Orbit who love this story as much as I do! Thank you to Lauren Davila for being the most amazing friend, and for teaching me how to participate in pitch events. To Megan Eccles who helped me polish my query and opening pages, and gave me confidence when I was at a very low point. Thank you to my dear friends, Andie and Ria, who read this book before I even queried it and were so helpful and kind. To my agent siblings, Kasey LeBlanc (my whole heart and my guiding light through all of this), Deborah Crossland (my author mom who has accepted me as her middle child), and Katie Wolf (one of the sweetest and sharpest writers I know). To David Kang for being an amazing friend, writer, and chess opponent. To Ris, the first person to draw Marigold, who helped me discover even more about my own MC. To Kendall Lacy for always being ready to scream with me at a moment's notice, through the good times and the tough times.

To Joey for inspiring everyone's favorite character in this book, and for being my best friend since the womb. Also, Liz and Kayleigh—thank you for being lifelong friends, and thus teaching me to write heartwarming friendships that rival our own.

To Nikki Moss for being the best sounding board for all of my ideas, and also being an incredible friend. I would be forever lost in the ether without you.

To Danie, my kindred soul who believed in my writing before anyone else and stood by me through all of the breakdowns and self-doubt. My angel <3

To Morgan, the other half of my brain, my sister in a past life, and writer of world-changing books, thank you for everything.

To my parents who push me to pursue my dreams and always accept me for who I am.

And to Will, my partner and my world, you are my person. Thank you. <3

Any expression of gratitude would be incomplete if I failed to thank all of the people who have cheered me on through all of this. If you've ever followed, liked, commented, or shared any of my posts, THANK YOU. You are the reason I pushed through the hard parts. You are the reason I write. I truly hope that this book is everything you want it to be. It was made for you. <3

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