It Only Takes One (Not Really)

It only takes one. From the moment I began writing in earnest, this was the mantra I heard. It only takes one agent who loves your work, the reasoning went. Or, it only takes one editor who wants to buy your story. I heard it at conferences, in critique groups, and at almost every gathering of pre-published writers. I even repeated it, to myself and to others.


As a mantra, it was supposed to instill hope, to inspire perseverance, to infuse me with faith. And it did. But as I look back at my journey to publication, I realize that the thing about this mantra is that it’s not completely true. To say that it only takes one person to turn a manuscript into a published book is to discount all those who helped me along the way. To even get my manuscript submission-ready took many people: critique partners, mentors, and conference faculty. After I began submitting the manuscript, the rejections I received were painful but necessary and helpful in their own ways. Aided by my agent, The Nian Monster was acquired by Albert Whitman, and then a whole team of people stepped in to breathe life into my book with beautiful illustrations and a physical form. All along the way, I relied on the support of my family and the encouragement of my friends. And I don’t want to forget the publicists, marketers, bloggers, and educators who created resources and are helping to get my book into the hands of readers. Every one of these people deserve credit. It doesn’t only take one; it takes a village to create a book.


For those just starting out on the road to publication, find your community. Reach out to other writers, get involved in a critique group, go to conferences, start leaving comments on writing blogs, join another writer’s “village” and support their endeavors. Writing may be solitary, but making a book is not. And helping other writers doesn’t detract from your own publishing efforts — it enhances them.


Having moved from Boston to Denver right before my book released, I fretted that I’d left my community behind just when I needed them most. But thanks to EMLA, I found friends waiting for me in my new hometown who welcomed me and made sure people actually attended my launch party. (Yay! And whew!) And thanks to social media, my book village goes with me wherever I am. I’ve been awed and gratified and slightly surprised by the people who have rallied around me and The Nian Monster. From old friends to brand-new friends to friends that I hadn’t been in touch with since 6th grade — thank you for being part of my village and for sharing the journey with me! I love my book, but the journey itself really has been the true reward.


Giveaway Winner! Thank you to all who left comments during my book launch week. The lucky winner of a copy of The Nian Monster is Jen Petro Roy! Jen, please email your address to me at andreaATandreaywangDOTcom. Congrats!


Andrea Wang’s debut picture book, The Nian Monster (Albert Whitman & Co., December 2016), is a Chinese New Year folktale retelling set in modern-day Shanghai. She has also written seven nonfiction books for the educational market and is working on a middle grade novel. Andrea is a former environmental consultant and now writes full-time. She recently moved from the Boston area to Denver, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a dog that will do anything for food. That pretty much describes her family, too.

You can find Andrea online at, on Twitter under @AndreaYWang, and on Instagram as @andreawhywang.


Filed under Farewell, Uncategorized, Writing and Life

16 responses to “It Only Takes One (Not Really)

  1. Luke Reynolds

    What a beautiful post Andrea! Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful sentiment, Andrea. It’s sooooo true about writing and publishing a book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mariagianferrari

    You deserve it all, Andrea!! I agree–it takes a metropolis to write a book (especially a PB!) Hearty congrats!! So happy Nian is officially out in the world 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa

    So happy to be part of your writing village 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m going to miss you here, but am so happy for your well-deserved journey to YES! Love your book! YAY YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. katieslivensky

    Andrea, you are going to be missed around here, but I’m so proud of you and so excited your next steps! You are part of my personal village–this is such a great post. *teary-eyed smile*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Katie! I’m thrilled to be part of your personal village. I tried to come up with some sort of Venn diagram to show the overlaps between all our villages but decided that was too geeky even for me… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jason Gallaher

    I am going to miss you so much in the Emu Nest, Andrea! Can’t wait to see what beautiful book you create next!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cynthiahm

    Andrea, your comments about the journey to make a book are so true. I am learning as I go along but I know it really cannot be done alone. Congratulations on publishing your first book! I hope to be publishing my first picture book very soon as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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