Saturday, August 5, 2023

Debut Author Panel: K.X. Song

Topic: What to know about the path to publication

K. X. Song is a diaspora writer with roots in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Her debut young adult novel, An Echo in the City, was published in June 2023 with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. You can visit her online at

Martha Brockenbrough (panel moderator) calls this book timely and wonderful. 

Martha asks: Is this the first novel you've worked on, or were there more over time?

This is not the first novel K.X. wrote. It was probably her eighth or ninth fully drafted manuscript. Those books needed to happen for K.X.'s  debut to come out, as she slowly got better with each.

Martha: You mention you written other novel before this one...Can you pinpoint a moment that taught you what you needed to know?

K.X. can't pinpoint one specific moment, but calls it more of a continuation or a journey. With each novel she wrote, she could see herself becoming a better writer, and the responses from editors and agents started to creep up (going from form rejection to more personal). 

Martha asks about creative process:

KX started out as a pantser, but now is more in the middle of pantser and plotter. K.X. often gets ideas when showering or swimming, but her forthcoming came to her in a dream. She quickly wrote notes upon waking up, and started plotting immediately the next morning then she was drafting a couple days later. That's unusual for her. K.X. usually let's ideas germinate for a while. With the book K.X. is working on now, it's been completely different. She wrote a first draft, realizing the tense and point of view were wrong, and she found herself going back to the drawing board time and time again. So while one book came to her and came out smoothly, it's usually a messy process for her.

Martha: Your book gets into complicated politics. How did you make it accessible for readers?

The  pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong was lead by young adults, and it was a landmark movement in history. K.X. shares that interviews were pivotal for her to get into that mindset, and to also tap into important details she couldn't have known (like a door that pushes inward rather than outward as she had written it). 

Martha: How many years were were you working before being published?

K.X. was writing for 5 to 6 years before getting her first agent, who sold her debut but they parted ways and her current agent sold her second novel. K.X. shares that it's so important to sign with an agent who connects with your work, and not just one piece of work, but collective work because your career will be long. K.X. also shares what many have said: No agent is better than a bad agent. 

Martha: If you could go back in time, what do you wish you would have known? 

KX is a long distance runner and she feels a lot of fear that she wont' be able to complete the journey. She feels the same way when she's writing. What if she can't write it, finish it? She keeps a note for herself where she can see it: "Trust the process. Trust the progress." She reminds herself she feels those feelings each time, and remind herself those feelings will pass. And that she can and will finish! 


I would attend this conference for this panel alone! If you want to view this session to hear the full content, along with the rest of the conference, register at Replays of the conferences will be available until September 10, 2023. 

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