In life, nothing is the same as it seems. People create masks –identities – to hide who they really are –some for noble reasons, or nefarious ones, but only a tiny fraction because they must.
Alessandra and Damien, or Rosalie and Daniel, were once the Princess and Prince of La Pacifica until they were forced out of the beautiful island. Eight months flew by, and they finally began to settle in Alexandria, Egypt, when they found out that they didn’t leave their past behind them, and that they were both wanted urgently. Dead
First of all, thank you so much, Basma, for having me here! I was thrilled to know that there’s an Egyptian book blogger active out there who’s interested in YA (since I’m Egyptian too!), so it’s a lot of pleasure having the chance to guest-post on your blog :)
Today I’m going to explore my journey in the publishing industry, and how I got to write and publish my debut, Rosie.
Well, in the beginning I’d like to mention that I come from a family that adores books and publishing. My grandfather, Ahmed Maarouf, established one of the biggest children publishing houses in the Arab world, with offices both in Egypt & Lebanon (and maybe in other countries, too!), and when he passed away, both my father and uncle established two different pub houses, specialized in textbooks and children books respectively. Later on, my cousin opened his own bookshop. So, basically, I’ve been involved in this industry since birth.
When I got older, at the age of twelve or thirteen, I was officially enrolled in father’s pub house as an intern, just generally observing the whole process. I took Photoshop courses, worked hard on my English language skills, and helped around with the minor tasks (like observing layout problems, making sure proof copies come in complete). Later on, I expressed interest in joining the editorial team, and so I did. At first, I did first-round revisions (read: spell & grammar checks), and then by the age of fifteen I was one of the senior editors of books made for the lower grades (kindergarten to grade four). Later on, I was given the task of translating a whole series of books from Arabic to English. Those books covered the Computer Science curriculum from the first, to the sixth grade.
During that time I started writing intensively at school (a writing task every day), in addition to free-time writing that involved short stories and poetry. I didn’t start writing novel-length stories except post the whole Twilight-phase a lot of us have went through. Rosie isn’t my very first novel – it’s actually the fifth – but it’s the first novel I thought of publishing seriously.
So, I started doing several rounds of revision and editing, then sent it to my 8th-grade English teacher (who’s been a friend of mine ever since), who edited it further for me, and acted as a fresh eye to the whole thing. After I made the final round of revision, considering her thoughts and comments carefully, I sent it out to the editor at Alexandria Publishing (because here, in Egypt, we don’t have any agents in between) and he was extremely excited! Soon, I got my contract and a while later I even got a cover, and I made the trailer and we had a release date and were ready to go! Of course, that also involved even more rounds of revision, but by the end of last August we all agreed that no further revisions were required.
I have to say that the most interesting (and relaxed) part of my road to publishing was certainly post-contract! That was when I got to meet amazing bloggers and explore the whole community – and even make a book trailer for Rosie!
Nowadays, I’m a remote intern for the literary agent Weronika Janczuk, an editor at the same pub house, and somehow managing to prepare for university, haha. I’m also working on my first dystopian novel, Skyquake, which I wish to publish more widely than I did with Rosie.
You can find out more about Rosie here.
Again, Basma, thank you so much!
Mariam Maarouf is a 17-year-old editor, translator, student and above all – just a teen. She lives in Alexandria, Egypt, writes articles for school magazines and has been working in a publishing house for a couple of years now. ROSIE is her debut novel. –Mariam's website