Gone Rewriting

I am working on a rewrite of my novel, The Bonne Chance Bakery.  And, of course, the exciting news is that this rewrite is not just for me.  Nope, I am rewriting to the notes from the agent with whom I just signed, Erin Niumata, and one of her readers.  

This is all happening fast.  As in, a month ago I hadn't even submitted a query on this novel.  And now I have an agent for it and am working on a rewrite.  This process is interesting, and to all my students and clients, current and former, I say, yes you really do need to expand those descriptions and details! That is one thing I'm seeing repeatedly--a request for more details and description of my characters.  It cracks me up, because I'm constantly saying this to clients--more, more, more!  

Anyway, I have a deadline coming right up to finish this rewrite (which is an excellent thing, as I am very deadline-oriented).  But with my current load of clients, my students at MTSU, and my clamoring family, that means time is at a premium the next couple of weeks.  I've already emailed people and postponed lunches and coffees and non-essential meetings.  

The next thing to fall is going to be blog posts.  You know I can't ignore you for long, and I won't.  I will post at least once a week, but until mid-March that will likely be it.  I know you will understand and forgive me.

In the meantime, there's over 1,000 posts on this site, so you can start at the beginning, nearly eight years ago and read up to the current day.  I'm kidding.  However, there is a topic cloud in the right sidebar and if you click on some of those subjects, you'll find reading material tailored to your interests.

And let me just remind you of three upcoming workshops:

In Portland, How to Write A Book, on March 21 (mercifully after my deadline).  I think we only have a couple of spots left, so let me know if you are interested!

In Nashville, May 1 and 2nd, From Spark to Story.

In Collioure, France, Secrets of Structure, September 5-12.  There is only one spot left here, so let me know if you want to come.  It is going to be a blast!

Oh, and rumor has it there may be an online workshop coming up one of these days soon, so stay tuned!  And happy writing!

When the Time is Right

I was talking to my friend Janet yesterday, and I told her my story about acquiring my agent. 

"Wow, when the time is right, things happen fast," she said. Antique_zodiac_past_234914_l

Yes, they do.

And, when the time is right, things happen a bit differently.  I do NOT recommend this, but I ignored lots of the advice I routinely dole out about seeking an agent.  I did not send multiple queries, for instance.  I chose the agent I wanted and sent one query to her, because I felt so certain that she would feel the same way.

Lucky thing I was right.

Also, this manuscript had not been seen by a lot of eyes.  A few people had seen the first chapters, but nobody but me had seen the full thing when I sent it out.  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS.  It is a really good idea to have your manuscript read by a critique group, or beta readers, or an editor or coach.  The only reason I didn't do that is because I had a strong feeling that Erin would connect with my manuscript and I felt a sense of urgency about getting it to her.

And it all worked out even more perfectly and wonderfully than I could have hoped.  

But, here's the deal--and this is a very important deal, I might add.  I've been working at this for years.  My overnight success has been eons in the making.  I've written novels that never saw the light of day, earned my MFA, published a novel (with a small press), blogged here for eight years. I've coached writers and taught them and critiqued manuscripts.  I've joined associations, and read articles and books and blog posts galore on writing. I've tweeted and Pinterested and Instagrammed and Facebooked.  I've immersed myself in the world of writing fully for the last dozen years, and partially before that.

I'm not saying all that to brag, but just to point out that there's been a ton of work behind this.  And while I hope that you don't have to wait quite as long as I did, I do want to emphasize that you will have to do some work to reach your dreams.

Yeah, I know you know that.  And I have people ask me all the time how to get an agent--when they've not yet written one word.  Or tell me that they are going to send their book proposal that consists of one page of ideas to a top publisher.  And then they will wonder why they got rejected. 

I hate being all lecture-y like this but it is one of my pet peeves.  Do the work first and concentrate on that.  Please. The rest will follow when the time is right.

Even if it does take twelve years.

Photo by brokenarts.

How I Got My Agent

FotoliaTimeForMiraclesFor starters, in case you missed the news, I am now officially represented by Erin Niumata at Folio Lit. Woot woot!  Best news ever.  It happened fast.  She was the only agent I sent the query to, and it was one week from sending her the query to the phone call offering representation.

A freaking miracle.

And that's what I want to write about today--the process I went through to make this miracle happen.

But first.  Let's contrast this magical occurrence in 2013 with my process in 2011 and 2012 when I was submitting Emma Jean's Bad Behavior.  I sent that novel to 60 agents.  Yes, 60.  I was determined--or maybe just deluded.  But I loved my cranky Emma Jean and I thought others would, too.  Some did--but more of them, at least in the publishing world, were overwhelmed and taken aback by her.  The constant refrain that I heard was, "we're afraid she's unrelatable."  (I actually think she was a character ahead of her time by a year or two.  Because after the book got picked up by a small press, the movie Bad Teacher and the TV show Bad Judge both came out.)

So I've now experienced both sides of the submitting process--immediate gratification and the long, painful sending out of emails, many of which never got a response, most of which got rejections, albeit encouraging ones.   (If you are in the middle of doing that, you have my sympathy.)  Because of both these experiences, I know the process well.  And I've come up with a few hints and tips. Here's how I did it :

1.  I finished the book.  If you are writing a novel or a memoir, you need to have the manuscript finished before you can start submitting. (Non-fiction books are a different beast, and are sold with proposals.)  Not only do you need to finish your book, you need to make it as good as you possibly can--this is likely going to mean more than a couple drafts.  I wrote two drafts of The Bonne Chance Bakery, as the next novel is tentatively called.

2. I let others read it.  Find either a critique group (which will often read your drafts in progress) or beta readers (who are readers you trust, not necessarily writers though they can be, who will read the whole thing at once) and get their reaction.  You can find critique groups or partners and beta readers through local writer's groups.  Okay--true confessions, I fell down on this step a bit.  Several writers had read the first few chapters, but that was all.  If I'd been following  my own advice I would have sent it out to beta readers before I submitted it.  And, I had some lined up.  But something told me to go ahead and send the query, so I did.

3. I wrote the best f*%@ing query ever.  I will admit, I'm a good query writer.  You should develop this skill, too, as it will open doors for you.  There's tons of advice online for writing queries, and if you have a specific agent in mind, her website may well tell you what she is looking for (mine did). Follow that advice to the letter.  If you can't find it, here's a basic template:

--Tell why you are submitting to that agent (see #4)

--Devote a 2-3 paragraphs to your story, with a great hook

--Wrap up with your bio

This should all fit onto one page in letter format if you were printing it out.

4.  I researched agents.  Please don't skip this step.  I learned about Erin through the Women's Fiction Writer's Association and Twitter, and then I haunted her agency page and Googled her.  I decided she was the perfect agent for me.  (Luckily, she agreed.)  But I knew that she repped a lot of women's fiction writers and further, that she was specifically looking for more.  And, I knew she had just opened up for submissions.  If I hadn't done my research, I wouldn't have known all of this.  If I had submitted during a period when she wasn't reading, my email would have been ignored.  If I had sent a query through the regular mail, it would have been thrown out--Folio only accepts email submissions.  YOU MUST FIND THIS STUFF OUT.  Find yourself a good agent listing site, choose some likely candidates, and then cross reference to their websites to be certain you have current info. And then follow the guidelines on the website!

5.  I got personal recommendations.  Not this time around, but last time I did.  And let me tell you, if you can write something like "Famous Author Recommended Me" in the subject line, your query is going to go to the top of the pile.  A variation on this theme is to attend conferences and meet with agents there.

6. I braced myself for rejection.  Okay, so it didn't happen.  What did happen is that Erin read my query (itself a minor miracle--she usually sends them right on to her readers) and immediately requested the full manuscript.  And then, um, in a week she was offering me representation.  But don't take this as the usual way things happen!  Like I said, I was ready for rejection (remember, I sent Emma jean out to over 60 agents).  When you do get rejected, scream and yell and sob for a couple minutes and then take a deep breath and hit reply and ask that agent if they can think of any other agents who might be interested. (This advice only works if you've gotten a positive rejection.  If its a form letter, don't try it.)  You might not hear from them--but then again you could.  And if you do, put their name in the subject line when you query (See #5.)

7. I've been basking....Let me tell you, after all the years I've been in this busy, to hear the words, "I am calling to offer you representation by Folio Literary," was one of the best moments of my life. I've told everybody--friends, family, strangers, grocery store checkers.  This is the greatest thing ever!

8.  What happens next?  I signed the agency contract, and last week Erin had an editorial meeting with the two other readers she had assigned the manuscript to.  She is at this very moment writing up an editorial letter.  When I receive that, its time for me to focus on rewriting.  And then Erin will begin submitting it to publishers.  Woot woot! I promise to keep you posted!

Any questions about the process?  Leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.

Book Review: Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents

Cache_240_240_0_0_80_16777215_jh-guide-2015-frontSo, there's this thing called the internet.  And we use it for nearly all our research into anything these days.  This is especially true for research on topics that have to be current, such as, well, agent and editor listings.  When you have a story or novel to submit, you hit the interwebs to find a spot for it, right?

Believe it or not, back in the old days, writers had to rely on books for such research.  Like real, physical books.  And most of the time when you were doing research the books you needed to reference were huge and unwieldy tomes housed in the library.  There were also books published by Writer's Digest and others, extensive, expensive listings of publishing contacts that were out of date by the time you bought them.  Overall, it was a royal pain. So, thank God for the internet.  When I was submitting Emma Jean to a gazillion publishers I used internet agent listing sites extensively.  

(Alas, I'm having a hard time finding any current ones I can link to.  There used to be an amazing one that listed everyone, compiled by a guy with a serious case of sour grapes, who posted every single rejection letter he ever got, and the agent contact info, too.  It was a fantastic resource--but also bordered on libelous at times.  I suspect he got shut down.  Anybody remember this site or have a link for it? NEWS FLASH--I found it!  Here's the link to part one, of seven.  Check it out.  The guy is relentless.)

Anyway, I digress.  I hadn't paid much attention to agent listings lately (this will change soon, as I'm finishing the rewrite of my second novel--agents, I'm looking at you, yes, you, soon) and had assumed that the big guidebooks were a thing of the past.  But, oh how wrong I was.  Because towards the end of last year I was offered the chance to review Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents.   And, having my own agent search in mind as well as the needs of my loyal readers, I said yes.

I have to say, the book is pretty great.  The bulk of it is a directory of publishers, literary agents and independent editors.  Since I'm most interested in agents at this point, that's what I focused on perusing.  And what I like about the listings is that besides the basic info about email and address, they also include a Q and A interview the agent has filled out, which really gives you more insight into them.  

And that's not all--there are numerous essays throughout the book.  These are written mainly by Herman and his wife Deborah.  Some, like the one on digital marketing, are useless.  But others, like the chapter on how agents work and how to find one are quite good.  (I'll be talking more about that chapter in a future post, because as I was writing this up it occurred to me that a How to Find an Agent post would be an excellent idea.)

There's also info on writing book proposals and query letters, definitions of publishing terms, insider tips, and so on.  It's quite the comprehensive book.  And it's got a price tag to match--$29.99 (a bit less on Amazon).   

So, the question is whether or not I would recommend this book.  And the answer is....yes, if.  What I mean by that is yes, if you are a newbie to the writing and publishing world.  (Though do bear in mind that Herman approaches these worlds with a very particular mindset.)  There's a ton of information here that will give you a good grounding in the industry.  If you have more experience in these worlds, check it out from the library.  Because it is fun to leaf through and read and of course, the directory part seems to be quite extensive.  (But also remember that the publishing industry is notoriously fluid.  You'd do well to double check any information in the book with a look at the internet.)

Do you have an agent?  Did you use a directory to find one?

(For the record, I received a copy of the book in order to write this post, but no other compensation.) 

How to Submit Your Work to Publishers (A Review of the Process)

Magazines_volume_perspektive_227795_lSo, this blog has been around for awhile, like seven years, and because of that I've amassed a lot of posts (over a thousand of them) which is something the Google loves and thus I get some traffic through here. Because I get traffic, I also get people pitching ideas to me for the blog.  These are for ads, for posts, and sometimes for links.  

I also get tons of requests for guest posts.  Most of these are thinly disguised ads or link bait and the articles are so poorly written I won't run them.  Not only that, they are completely off topic!  They'll be on real estate or automotive stuff or raising children.  Clearly, these people have not read this blog, they are just working off a list somewhere.

(Do let me be clear that I love running guest posts and if you have an idea for one that is related to writing or creativity, don't be afraid to pitch me. Most posts that I accept are from readers who know the topics I cover here well.)

And then, a few days ago, I got a lovely, long submission from a writer who was an expert in a classic literary figure.  This person wanted to come present her lecture at my workshop.  Yeah, that's right--the workshop where eight people sit around a table in the south of France and talk about their writing. Not a lecture hall in sight.  Clearly no research had been done for this request.

All this reminds me of the tried and true guidelines we've read over and over again about submitting your work.  Let's review:

--Do your research and make sure you are submitting to a publication that runs work on your topic.  If you're submitting to a literary agent, read their website and ascertain that they actually represent fiction if you want them to rep your novel, or non-fiction if you're sending a book proposal.

--If you can, take it a step farther and read the publication you're submitting to.  Peruse the blog's archives.  Look through a few issues of the magazine. Read a book repped by the agent you're pitching.  Or at least leaf through it at the bookstore!  This is the biggest problem I see.  I get these requests from people who clearly have never laid eyes on the blog and have no idea what I write about.  

--Do not send out a blanket email without personalization.  I get emails from people who are obviously just working from a list (like the literary expert mentioned above).  I especially love the ones who compliment me on my wonderful blog and then go on to suggest a story about animal care.

If you just follow those three simple guidelines as a starting point, you'll at least get your query read. Oh, and here's one more piece of advice:

--If you have a recommendation from a fellow author, as when querying an agent, put that author's name in the subject line.  As in, "Recommendation From Famous Author."  That will get you read much faster.  Come to think of it, this applies to other submissions, too.  Always write why you are emailing them in the subject line, as in "Guest Post Submission," or "Article Query," or whatever.

And, as mentioned above, the guest posts I accept are often from regular readers.  I don't have a formal policy for accepting or rejecting, just that the post be well-written, vibrant, fun, perfect in every way--kidding!  But I do like to run lively pieces that will be of value to my readers, and I also run author interviews and the occasional cover reveal.  So hit me up.  Just please don't ask me to run a piece about mortgages.

What are your experiences with submitting to publishers and agents?  Please share the good, the bad, and the hilarious!

Photo by mgelinski.

Aiming High or Over-reaching?

Kenneth-armitage-sculpture-123578-lThis is one of those posts that I write because I don't know the answer and I'm trying to figure it out. (Ha! Like I ever know the answers.)  So bear with me as I sort it out.


--a writer, talented but still raw, without a lot of words beneath her belt, finishing a short story and submitting it to the New Yorker.

--an under-achieving professional applying for jobs--and assuming he'll get them--way beyond what his experience warrants.

--an entrepreneur starting a business from scratch--and setting a goal that she'll reach one million in sales by the end of her first year.

Or how about the emails I get on a fairly regular basis that go something like this: I've got an idea for a book, how do I find an agent?  Note, the writer has an idea only.  Hasn't written a word of said book, but he/she is already looking for an agent.  Or the writers I used to meet whose main goal was getting on Oprah, still without having written a word? (I still remember one such woman, who had seen herself sitting on Oprah's couch in a vision.  She was certain it was going to happen.  Writing the book that would get her there was just a pesky nuisance in between.)


What do all of these people have in common?  


But you could also call it aiming high.  Having confidence.  Who's to say it won't work out?  Who's to say that story won't be accepted, you won't get the job, you won't win the millions?  One of our enduring cultural zeitgeists is the exhortation to dream big, to reach for the stars.

And who am I--or you--to dash the hopes of our strivers by pointing out the reality of the situation?

Yet I'm certain all of us have heard such stories and rolled our eyes.  Tut-tut-tutted at the silliness of these over-reachers.  

Which is a terrible, toxic reaction that shows more--perhaps--about ourselves and how we're not going for our own dreams that anything else.  However, part of that reaction is grounded in truth.   And I think I'm starting to figure out why we bristle when we hear the unrealistic goals of these dreamers:

Because they want to skip steps.  They want to go from zero to 90 in one second, without any work in between.  

And those of us who've been working towards our goals for a long time know that doesn't happen. 


When it does--such as when a college student gets a big book contract, or an obscure blogger catapults himself into the spotlight, or, you fill in the blanks--we feel a bit like they've cheated.  And skipped the steps that most of us have to take.

There's also, I think, a sense of entitlement inherent in over-reaching:

--Give me this job because I deserve it, even though I've never done anything like it before, ever.

--Publish my story because I wrote it, even though I've not rewritten it and worked to get it right.

--Buy my product because I made it, even though I've not done the market research to know if you'll want it.

Aiming High

On the other hand, it's good to dream big, right?  It's good to imagine the job, the publishing contract, the massive business success.

Yes, it is.  We humans live on hopes and dreams.   So there's absolutely no harm in imagining the big payoff.   Think about it every day, and see it happening.

And then forget about it and get down to work.  Because that is what is going to make it happen.  

Those folks who get the publishing contract while they are still in school, or make the product that nets them a million?  Outliers.  And yeah, it could happen to you, or to me, but in the meantime let the universe decide and keep at what you're doing.  Behind most overnight successes you'll find years of toil.

Reach, match, and safety.

So here's what I tell my students and clients.   When you're ready to submit a story--after you've written and rewritten it, and then gone back and rewritten it yet again--make a list.  At the top, put your pie-in-the-sky places (The New Yorker and Tin House come to mind).  Then choose some middle-ground publications.  And then, opt for a long list of publications that will be most likely to want to publish your stories.  Send them out.  And keep writing.

This is much like the advice given to high school students applying to college.  Opt for reach, match, and safety schools.  I think it's a good policy for us as writers as well--go for reach, match and safety publications, or editors, or agents.  

(This list is a great starting point for those of you submitting to journals.)

This way, you can aim high and not over-reach.  Because as long as you continue to work and hone your craft, one of these days you'll get your ambitious goals, I'm sure of it!

Do you have experience with over-reaching and being disappointed?  Or are you a big believer in confidence?  Please comment!  And feel free to share on your social media of choice.

And don't forget--tomorrow I pick (by random selection) the winners of the blog birthday giveaway! You have until the end of today to enter, I'll choose first thing tomorrow morning.  (And, also, for a mere 99cents, you can buy my new short story on Amazon.)

 Image by kloniwotski.

Amazon for Authors, Part Two: Tools and Thoughts

Book_books_pages_265007_lThe first part of this post, Amazon for Authors, Part One: Opportunities, ran last Monday.  You can read that here, and you probably want to do that before proceeding.

Ever since I wrote part one of this post, I've been obsessed with worry that I'm misrepresenting Amazon.  As in, presenting this rosy view of everything that you can do on the site without also showing the down side.  So, here's an article that does that.  And I want to state again that I fall down somewhere in the middle on the Amazon issue.  I like to think I can see both sides of the issue clearly.  In some ways, the issue is about much more than Amazon.  It's about the collision of the old style legacy publishing and the new digital revolution. But, of course, since Amazon spearheaded the revolution, it is difficult to take them out of the picture.

What I see is that each side often knows little about the other and it is my job on this blog to tackle the big picture--tackling all aspects of the writing life.  So I do my best to share what I learn.  And what I learned at AWP was that Amazon, love it or hate it, offers quite a range of tools and programs for writers.


Amazon Author Central.  Once you have a book or two published, you can create your own page for them.   The cool thing is that you can put whatever you want to on it, such as links to your site or sign-ups for your mailing list, an author bio, a rant about politics--anything.   You can also link to your blog so that posts automatically update, and your Twitter feed.  For an example, you can see my page here.   You essentially get your own web page for free.

Metadata on your book listing page.  I'm essentially clueless about this, but as I understand it, you can list keywords (and lots of 'em) of your own choosing in order to drive Amazon's search engines to your listing.  Read more about this here.

Amazon Programs

Create Space.  This is Amazon's service for creating hard copies of your book through print-on-demand technology.

Kindle Direct Publishing.  And this would be the Ebook arm of the indie publishing services.  Many authors start here and branch out to other formats.

ACX.  You can now also create audio versions of your book.  This website is essentially an exchange where you can find actors to read your book, and audition them.  You can then pay them upfront or with a cut of your royalties. Cool, huh?

Their own publishing imprints. Amazon also has their own publishing imprints, covering mystery, romance, women's fiction, science fiction, fantasy and horror, literary fiction, young adult, self help, non-fiction, memoirs and short stories.  In other words, just about everything.  Note, however, that their submissions page says they are not accepting unsolicited manuscripts at this time.  My idea is that they look for indie publishers who are doing well and offer them contracts.

Kindle Worlds.  Fan fiction now has a legitimate outlet that you can actually make money on.  I don't get it--either why you want to write in a world that someone else invented or how exactly this works.  But if you're interested, click the link and find out more.

Amazon Associates.  You can earn money just by putting links to Amazon to your page.  I used to do this years ago but it never amounted to much and didn't seem worth the time.  But I probably ought to revisit it.

Goodreads is a book-lover's site, and yes it is now owned by Amazon.  There was a big stink when they bought it last year.  People say Goodreads is great for authors, but I myself have never gained traction on it, which probably says more about me than them.

Kindle Singles.  The tag line for this is compelling ideas expressed at their natural length.  Ebooks have renewed enthusiasm for short stories and novellas and this program takes advantage of that.  And the good news is that you can submit to them manuscripts from 5,000 to 30,000 words.

No doubt, by the time this post is published, there will be even more programs and services for authors offered by Amazon.  You can see why people believe they are out to conquer the world.

And bear in mind...that many other publishing platforms exist, such as Barnes and Noble, Lulu, and Smashwords, to name only a few.  As far as I know, however, none of them offer quite the extensive range of services for authors that Amazon does.  If I'm wrong, please let me know.

My take.

Okay, that's it. That's all I know.  Over the next few months, I plan to experiment with Amazon publishing myself.  My novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior, was published by a small press that took advantage of Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle Publishing.   I think the book looks good (I'm not biased or anything).  But the marketing part has been hard.  And I'm hearing over and over again that the best way to market is to make sure there's more work up for people to buy, so...I have a few short stories that I'm going to publish myself to bolster my presence on the site, so we'll see what happens. And I have a few ideas for genre pieces, as well. I'll keep you all apprised on my progress!  I'd be crazy not to give it a whirl.

I also have a new novel I'm working on that I would love to see published by a legacy publisher.  Unless something drastic happens to change my mind, when I finish the book by the end of the year, I'll be going the traditional route and looking for an agent.  So I'm a believer that we need to be open to all the opportunities we have available to us as writers.

What's your take on Amazon?  On indie publishing?

Image by white_duck.

Amazon for Authors, Part One: Opportunities

In my previous blog post on my time at AWP, I promised an article on how you, as an author, can utilize some of the many services Amazon offers.  So here it is.

First, let's get clear on a couple of things:

1. I am by no means an expert on this topic.   Many others, who have actual publishing experience with Amazon, are far better versed on the subject than I. Over the last couple of months I've been educating myself, however, and I've accumulated a bit of knowledge.  I also attended two panels at AWP last week and gleaned more information to share.

2.  I am not an apologist for Amazon, nor am I a hater.  I do not subscribe to the view that Jeff Bezos is the devil and his website the Evil Empire.  I think we have to admit that Bezos has changed publishing forever and that Amazon offers fantastic opportunities for writers.  On the other hand, I also lament the ongoing demise of bookstores, especially independent ones, that his reign has hastened.  In other words, I get both sides of the debate.  And I believe one of the reasons it is so heated is that we are standing smack-dab in the middle of a revolution in publishing.  Revolutions are always hard, because one side triumphs and the other slinks away.  But I take the view that there's room for both the old and the new.

So all that being said, let's look at what I've learned.  At one of the panels I attended, the moderator put up a slide with a quote from Jeff Bezos that encapsulates his goal: "Any book ever written in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds."

Yeah.  That tells you something right there.  Bezos wants to get every book ever written anywhere on his site.  This means he's probably going to some day rule the world.  Kidding.  Sort of.  But it also means:

Opportunities for writers on Amazon are incredible.

Not only does Amazon widen the reach of legacy published books, it offers the chance to others who are tired of knocking on the doors of New York houses to publish their own work.  (I'll write more about the actual programs to do this in part two of this post.)

Self publishing, now more often called indie publishing, is no longer quite so frowned upon, especially with the success of authors such as Amanda Hocking, J. A. Konrath, and Hugh Howey. Some stats I picked up from one of the panels: 

  • In 2013, 1/4 of the top 100 on Amazon were indie-published titles.  In 2014, the company expects that figure to go higher.
  • In Germany, the number of indie published books in the top 100 was more like 50%.  In the United Kingdom, 30%.  In India (where Amazon has only been established a couple of years) it was 20%.

Those figures astound me.  As some have said, it's the wild west for authors these days.  (I'm also not good at looking beyond the obvious with statistics.  I'm a writer, not a mathematician.  Though I did manage to raise one.  Anyway, if you see a way we should dig deeper into those figures, let me know.)

And I'm about to divulge some stats that will make you run for your nearest computer to upload your work.  The afore-mentioned Hugh Howey, a writer of science fiction, sold 40,000 Ebooks of his title Wool in May of 2012, to the tune of $150,00 income.  In one month.

Hugh Howey is the current poster boy for Amazon success.  He did so well with his Ebooks that when legacy publishing came knocking at his door, he decided to sell them only his print rights and hang onto the rest himself.  (That a writer was able to negotiate such a contract with the big boys and girls is somewhat of a revolution in and of itself.)

Hugh sat on one of the panels I attended and he's a lovely man, gracious and willing to share his ideas about his success.  He writes an informative blog about his writing and publishing and his books are pretty damn good--I'm currently reading Wool.

By the way, Howey recently created waves a tsunami across the internet, with his report on genre indie author earning.  Read it here.  You can also read a story about it here.

And, all those wonderful, mind-blowing figures aside, there's this:

Discoverability is still a crap shoot.

Discoverability is the new buzz word in indie publishing circles.  It refers, as you have no doubt inferred, to the process of getting your books found among the noise.  I consulted the Google for advice on how many books are published on Amazon and other sites each year, and wasn't able to come up with a definitive answer (though I did read some fascinating articles when I should have been writing).  But we all know that there are a lot of books out there, some excellent, some mediocre, some awful.

The question is how to make yours findable in the midst of the field.   The answer to that deserves a post of its own, one I will no doubt write soon.  But Howey said on the panel that spending time writing good work is the most important thing.  He had put up multiple titles before he actually spent much time marketing his work (and then he used mostly social media).  Many genre indie publishers are finding success with old-fashioned serials, releasing their novels one segment at a time, as Howey did with Wool.  Others augment their novels with shorter works set in the same world.  And most all of them write in series and write a lot.

Amazon says it is working on the discoverability issue.  And one thing I came away from the AWP panels feeling was that they really do have the interests of authors at heart, especially when said authors are making them lots of money. (Because, at the end of the day, Amazon is, after all a corporation, and corporations exist to make money.)

Okay, that's it for part one.  Look for part two in the next few days.  In that post, I'll talk about the various programs that Amazon offers.  And by the way, I'm certainly not against the other indie publishing platfroms out there, including Kobo, Lulu, Smashwords and a gazillion others.  It's just that I've learned more about Amazon, and let's face it, our buddies in Seattle dominate the market.

So what about you?  Are you planning to indie publish?  Or are you dedicated to going the legacy publishing route?  Do you have experience with either?  I'd love to hear in the comments.

PS.  I'm experimenting with the font size on posts.  It suddenly occurred to me the default font size was a bit smallish.  But this font looks big to me. Weigh in, please--which do you prefer?

7 Tips for a Fabulous Book Reading

School-person-literature-15648-lI did my first in-person reading of Emma Jean's Bad Behavior last night (I did one on the telephone, which was a bit trippy, for the virtual release party).  It was at at local coffee shop and I'm happy to report that it went really well.   People laughed in all the right places and after the initial rush you get when you stand up in front of a group, I relaxed and settled into it.

I've done a lot of public speaking, presenting workshops on various aspects of writing, and yet reading my own work is a bit of a different beast.  While I've read pieces in manuscript form through the years, now I'm getting used to reading from an actual book.  I thought you might like a few tips.  (I'm probably writing these nearly as much for myself, as a reminder, as for you.)  Because once you are published, and maybe even before, you will get asked to read.

1.  Plan your reading.  Figure out what you are going to read.  I've gone to lovely readings where the author read in an organized flow, segueing from a piece of chapter one, to chapter three and further in, which can give a good idea of a book.  When I tried to do this, it was a disaster--I got confused, and I wrote the book.  So I settled with several passages with chapter one and that worked great.  If you are reading in chunks, be sure to provide connecting information to your audience--and plan it out ahead of time.

2.  Plan your attire.  This sounds vain, but it isn't, really, because you are going to have a roomful of eyes on you and you don't want to be fussing with pulling your shirt down while they watch.  Last night I chose one of those cardigans with long tails in the front precisely so that I didn't have to worry if my stomach was hanging out.  (I thought if I wore my Spanx I wouldn't be able to breathe.  See #5.)

3.  Suss out the location.  Check it out ahead of time.  The coffee shop where I read has a regular Thursday evening reading series and I'd been there a couple times to hear friends read.  I knew there was no podium and that I'd be speaking into a standing microphone.  And I knew this meant that I was going to have do practice reading with my book held in front of my face.   See next tip.

4.  Practice, practice, practice.  This is far and away my most important advice.  Practicing will give you confidence, the confidence that comes from familiarity with your material. It will alert you to potential minefields--the word you've never been sure exactly how to pronounce, the swear word that might not be appropriate for your audience, the sex scene you might want to save for another venue.  Your work sounds different when you read it aloud--do it ahead of time to find potential problems.

5.  Breathe.  Once you've walked onstage, try to remember to take a deep breath.  As mentioned early, there is a rush of energy that comes in the act of getting yourself up in front of others and it can make it hard to catch your breath.  Nerves make you breathe faster, too.  This didn't happen to me last night, but it has in the past, and then I struggled to overcome my shallow breathing.

6.  Make eye contact.  Look up at your audience once in awhile, instead of keeping your nose buried in the book or manuscript.  This was something I could have done better last night, but since I was reading from my book with no podium, I had to wear reading glasses and it was awkward to peer over them.

7.  Enjoy.  You might not be able to actually utilize this tip until you've done a few readings and gotten used to them.  But you will feel the rush of relief when you are done, and people are applauding.  Soak it in!

 Your turn.  Do you have any tips for readings?  Do you enjoy them, or dread them?

(And by the way, if you feel so moved to buy a copy of Emma Jean you can find info on online outlets here.)

 Photo by svilen001.

Win the Publishing Game: 7 Steps to Getting Published

Chess_game_bishop_266216_lIt's the holy grail, the reason so many of us write: publication.  Whether you're writing a book, or an article, or a poem, everyone wants their work to see the light of day.  After all, if you're writing, there's an assumption that some day, somewhere, somebody will read your work.  If nobody does, the process feels incomplete.

And, really?  It's not so hard.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.  I just fell off my chair because I laughed so much.

Because while the steps to follow are not particularly hard, getting your book (or article, or poem) to the right person at the right time can be a challenge.   Rejections ensue.  We get discouraged.  But then we pick ourselves right back up and do it again, right?  

I hope so.  Because a huge part of this business is playing a numbers game.  As in, sending your work out over and over and over again. Here are the rules of the game to follow:

1.  Write an awesome book.   Work that baby the best you know how.  Edit it and revise and rewrite until you are so proud of your work you could just burst.  Because your ego might a few times during this process, and its helpful to feel secure that you've done your very best.

2.  Package it correctly.  As in, learn standard formatting, which does not include, um, single spacing.  I have actually been at writer's conferences where people raised their hands and asked if sending in hand-written manuscripts was okay.  This was quite a few years ago, but still.  Imagine.  If you don't know how to format ask the Google.  It knows everything.

3. Do your research.  This article assumes you'll be submitting books to traditional publishers and/or small presses.  If you're hitting up traditional publishers, this means you'll be going through an agent first.  And agents have certain things they are looking for, as do small presses.  It is up to you to figure this out.  Do not send a non-fiction query to an agent that only accepts fiction, and vice-versa.  C'mon, you're smart, you can figure this out.

4. Follow instructions to the letter.  I don't do well at this--I'm the sort of person who gets a new gadget and starts pressing buttons rather than reading instructions.  But in the case of the publishing world, you want to read up on exactly what they want you to send them and then do just that.  Don't send your full manuscript when they've asked for five pages.  Don't send an email query when they've requested only snail mail submissions (rare these days, but it still happens).  Send exactly what they ask for.

5.  Think good thoughts.  Really, mindset is three-quarters of the battle in this game.  Stay as positive as you can throughout the process.  When you get a rejection--and unless you are God, you will--take a few minutes to weep and wail and then get over it and send out to the next agent in line.  (By the way, forget that crap about no simultaneous submissions.  You could be 89 when you get published otherwise.)

6.  Keep track.  I mean of your submissions.  Though this can be difficult, since some agents refuse to deign to respond to queries if they are not interested.  (This is a pet peeve of mine, because it is just plain rude.  How hard is it to hit reply and say no thanks?)  But I remember getting confused, as some agency descriptions sound similar, as to which agents I had queried, even though I kept good records.

7.  Rinse and repeat.  For as long as it takes.  Once your manuscript is finished your job, at least part of the time, is to send out ships and see what comes back.  You should always have at least 5-10 queries out.  Take heart--there are a lot of agencies, and a lot of publishers.  You could play this game for a long time.

And then will come the day when you win!  The day when an agent emails you and says she would like to represent you or a publisher emails and says they want to bring out your book.  And then it is all worth it.  Trust me.

How many times have you sent out your book?

Photo by elvinstar.

Publishing Really Is Worth It

Flower_soft_play_250199_lTo paraphrase the immortal words of Sally Field:  I like it, I really like it.

What is it that I like so much?

Being an author.  Let me explain with a couple of stories.

Story #1. Years ago, I began working with a coach.  I told her that my deepest desire was to publish a novel.  My coach mentioned that she'd worked with another client who had published a book and decided she didn't like it.  Didn't like the hoopla that went with it and decided to not write any more books.  I took this under advisement, willing to be open to the fact that I might not like being published. 

Story #2.  Also years ago (I've been at this game a long time), I read an interview with a best-selling author, whose name now escapes me.  She said something to the effect that she really liked--and missed--the "scrappy little life" she enjoyed before she got published.  Once again, I was willing to be open to the fact that this might happen to me, too.  That I might prefer my life before I was published.


I adore being published.   I love reading reviews of my work, and I love hearing through tweets and emails that readers have enjoyed my book.  Unlike that client my coach told me about, I'm loving this stuff.  I loved my virtual release party and my in-person party.  I loved signing books.  I've got a reading coming up and I anticipate loving that. 

Let's be clear: I still have a "scrappy little life," one that I love.   But publishing a novel has just made it a better scrappy life.  Because, here's the deal: writing is an act of communication and when nobody reads the words we write, part of the loop is missing.  Which is why, I believe, we worry so much about publishing.  Why some writers put the cart before the horse and worry about publishing before they've finished writing.

Because we yearn to communicate.

And let me tell you, it is worth it.  So for those of you in the middle of writing a novel, despairing you may never get to the end: keep going, it's worth it.  For those of you sending out query after query, and piling up the rejections: keep sending them out, it's worth it.  For those of you who've had blips in your publishing process (I've heard of two recently): keep going, it's worth it.

For anyone struggling to get their creative work out in the world: take heart, it will all be worth it.

I promise.

Where are you in the creative process?  Starting out?  Finishing a project?  Marketing?  Leave a comment, I'd love to hear about it.

5 Tips To Getting Published


The advanced proof of my novel!
So, as most of you know, my novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior, debuts on February 12th.


The road to getting published was long.  Veeeeerrrrry long.  And I learned a few things along the way, like what it takes to get a book out into the world.  So today I look at 5 tips that allowed me to finally succeed at that. 

Here's the deal: you all know the basics of how to get published, right?  You research agents and publishing houses that might be a good fit for your book, write a stellar query letter, and then you send it out.  And send it out again.  And again.  That process hasn't changed, even with the advent of indie publishing (which is a whole different process), and it's not likely to any time soon. 

But what you might not know is what lies beneath the above process, the mindset that you need to develop in order to find success in the publishing marketplace. And that, my friends, is what this article is about.  This mindset is in some ways as important if not more important than anything else, because developing a strong underpinning to what you do as a writer will carry you through your career.

So, here's to a publishing mindset, which takes:

1.  Willingness.  You need to be willing to do the things you think you don't need to do--like establish an author's platform while you are writing the book.  You need to be willing to master social media, start a blog, begin connecting with your future audience.  Long gone are the days when all writers had to do was sit back, write and let their publishers do all the marketing.  You'll be expected to participate, and it's going to be a lot easier if you get a head start.  Agents and editors look at things like your blog, and your social media presence these days.

2.  Consistency.  There's nothing sadder than coming across a blog whose last post was six months ago.  Or a year ago.  Start your blog and be consistent with it.  Get on Twitter, and keep tweeting.  Polish your query, and keep sending it out, even after you've been rejected a gazillion times.  Work on your WIP regularly, as often as you possibly can. It's the writers who keep at it who eventually get the win.  I know, I'm one of them.

3.  Determination.  Are you going to quit the first time it gets hard to accomplish your daily quota of pages or word count?  Are you going to stop the second you get a rejection?  Are you going to give up when you can't figure out how to format your novel to indie publish it?  You better not, because both of those things will happen a lot.  To be a successful writer takes determination and perserverance in spades. If you don't force yourself to do whatever it takes to send the work out, your words will remain stashed in a drawer.

4. Creativity.  You can be the most lyrical writer in the world, but if you don't find ways to plant yourself in front of the computer, the words won't get written.  It all begins and ends with the writing and if you put the writing first, everything else will take care of itself.  Master techniques to get your butt planted in that chair.

5.  Craziness.  To commit yourself to a writing-centered life and vow to get published takes a bit of craziness.  It just does.  It's ever so much easier to be content at a 9-to-5 job, come home, eat dinner and turn on the TV.  Not you, because you come home, eat dinner, and turn on the computer to write, with no guarantee that anyone will ever see those words.  That's crazy, isn't it?  So be it.  I happen to believe it's also the most important thing you can do, crazy or not.

How about it?  What do you think is the most important mindset a writer needs to have?

**If you're interested in learning more about publishing, I'll cover what I've learned in the bonus session of my Get Your Novel Written Now class.  Registration is now open, with early-bird pricing in effect until the end of the month.  Register now.

Now It Can Be Told

VPWebsiteBannerClassic-600x230So, the contract for my novel is signed, sealed, and delivered.  And I now feel comfortable revealing the name of the publisher.

It is Vagabondage Press.   If you go to the link, you'll see they are looking for "literary quality quirky romance and love stories, fantasy, horror, and women's fiction."  What's not to love about that?  I adore that they have such a varied list and that they use the word "quirky" in their description.

I'm pretty excited about being allied with such a staunch member of the independent publishing world.  So far all my dealings with them have been great and I'm looking forward to beginning the editing process soon.  We're on track for a February 2013 pub date!

Now I want to direct you to 5935f7efe4ed0e8e9bee8f38dfba37db700155f3-thumba Vagabondage Press publication, that of the novel Facing the Furies, by Dan DiStasio.

I love this book.

I read it in manuscript form, more than once.  Dan and I met when I returned to my alma mater, Spalding University, to work as a graduate assistant.  Dan was in my workshop and when it was over he asked me if I would read his novel.  I'd enjoyed the story he'd submitted to workshop, so I said yes.

I had no idea the treat I was in for.  It's an amazing novel about storms within and without, beautifully written, with characters you'll fall in love with.  I can't wait to read the edited version and see the changes that publication brought.

Dan is the reason I'm with Vagabondage.  When he told me his novel had been accepted by them, I decided to check them out, liked what I saw, and you know the rest of the story.  I felt confident submitting to them since they'd accepted his high quality novel.  So check it out, you won't be disappointed. 

Another note: one of the participants in the Diamond retreat last week had read some of my posts on getting accepted for publication and looking for an agent and come away thinking that I had to have an agent to sign the contract. 

Not so. That's the beauty of the indie publishing world, they are much more open to writers.

I just thought it would be a good way to nab myself an agent and have a pair of eyes from the publishing world look over the contract.  So here's the upshot of all that: I did have an agent look over the contract and pronounce it good and viable.  And, (and this is my favorite part), she's very interested in my next novel.  So keep your fingers crossed for me.

And go check out Dan's book.

And in the meantime, I'd love to hear what's on your reading list.  I'll start: I just began A Game of Thrones.  You?

Create a successful, inspired writing life: Read.  As a writer, you should be inhaling every book, magazine, short story, article, essay, and blog post you can get your hands on.

***PS, if you're writing a book, don't forget to download my free Ebook, Jumpstart Your Book With a Vision Board.  It'll help you visualize the book no matter what stage you're at.

Getting an Agent

I've promised to be forthcoming about every aspect of the process of getting my book published, so here goes another post on it. 


Last week I off-handedly mentioned that I was looking for an agent.  Later, was speaking with my buddy Square-Peg Karen (keep an eye out for a cool collaboration we're working on) and she asked me for clarification about the publishing process. 

"Don't you usually get an agent before you get a publisher?" she asked.

Yes, indeed that is true.  At least when you are dealing with the big New York publishing houses.  Most of those folks won't even talk to you unless you have an agent.  Think of agents as the gate-keepers in an industry that is overwhelmed with authors trying to claw their way through the doors.

Twenty years or so ago, the big New York houses had their super-star authors, and then those on the mid-list, and then the ones they'd take a chance on, the books that might sell only a few copies but whose authors might eventually rise to the top.  Not so much anymore.  Due to the vagaries of the publishing world, the big houses really want a sure thing.

Like there are any sure things.

Enter the small publishing houses.  Once the big boys stopped taking so many risks, they opened the doors for small publishing houses to spring up and assume that role.  Then, with the advent of digital and Print on Demand publishing, it became even easier to start a small press.  And so the small presses of the world fill an important part of the overall publishing world.

And they don't require agents to submit.

The press (I'm getting close to being able to reveal the name) that is publishing my book doesn't offer an advance, but instead a much higher royalty.  The big boys offer an advance but small royalties.  I kinda like this arrangement because it means my earnings are proportionate to my efforts.  Sometimes with the big boys, your book gets lost and then you're stymied.  I've seen this happen to a couple of my good friends.

But back to my agent search.  Last week I corresponded with a lovely agent whose name I'm protecting because I'm not sure he wants to be inundated with submissions.  I had written him to inquire if I needed representation.  He asked me some questions and then got back to me, explaining that I'd already done the hard part, gotten the book accepted.  He further explained that it probably wasn't going to be worth my while or the agent's while to have him negotiate a contract.  And here's a nugget: most agencies have a minimum commission of $2500, which would be on an advance of $18,000.

So I'm abandoning my search for an agent for now.  The plan is to get good sales with this book and then leverage them to get an agent for my next novel.  Unless I decide I like the independent publishing route best, which is a distinct possibility.

I'm in contact with my editor, and once I get a signed contract, I'll be naming names.  Yay!

Do you have experiences, good or bad, with agents?  The publishing world?  Please comment.

Create a successful, inspired writing life: Think about what kind of publishing experience you want.  Do you want to have the control?  Or do you want to give it up to someone else?  We're lucky to live in a time when both options are possible.

Photo by brokenarts.  Plus, Typepad's photo editor is wonky which is why the image has so much room of its own.  And by the way, its an image of a gate.  You know, gate=gatekeeper=agent.  You probably got all that without me explaining it.

Lessons Learned Along the Way



So by now everyone in the North American hemisphere knows that I've gotten an offer to have my novel published.  (If they haven't, I'll do my best to make sure they do over the next couple of days.)  On Monday, I wrote an initial post about the news.  Yesterday, I wrote a bit more.  And today, I'm writing about lessons learned along the way.  Because, there have been many of them, starting with....

Determination.  First of all, let me explain.  I finished this book two years ago, maybe longer.  And I've been marketing it off and on since then, mostly to agents.  As a matter of fact, the publishing house that accepted me is the first publisher I sent it to. I've lost count of how many agents I've sent it to, probably at least fifty.  Yes, fifty.  I love this novel and I've been determined to have it see the light of day. So there you go, first on my list is determination. Never underestimate its power.

Clarity.  Last fall, I parted ways with a coaching program I had contracted with.  It wasn't working for me, and I had some chronic pain issues that made it difficult to keep up with the program.  This led to deep soul searching on my part.  Why hadn't the program worked for me when it was so very successful for others?  Which led me to the answer: because I was trying to be something I wasn't. So that made me think long and hard about what I was and what I wanted to be.  What did I love doing, above all else?  The answer was writing books and blogging.  From that moment on, I redoubled my efforts in both areas.  The results have been gratifying, with more traffic to this blog, and now, my novel about to be published.  Let me just tell you, clarity rocks.  Rocks, baby.

Discernment.  Along the same lines as above, I've had to gently learn the fine art of discernment.  This, not that.  That, not this.  Resist the latest bright shiny thing that is not exactly allied with my areas of interest and stay the course.  This means, to me, not buying the latest glitzy course in how to run some area of my business.  Instead, I'll put time into either my blog or my book.  (Or my coaching.  I do love coaching and teaching, too.)

Serendipity.  I think its important to allow for the unexpected to happen.  After I submitted to this publishing house last fall, I didn't hear from them.  Then I assumed that I wouldn't hear from them.  But then I did.  Never underestimate the unseen forces that are working on your behalf in the background.  And finally,

My spiritual practice.  This may well be the most important lesson of all, because it underlies everything.  Since I returned to church last year, I've learned a whole new way of thinking that makes everything better and easier.  It is based on faith--faith in our ability to create our lives, our health and our prosperity.  Some may sneer and call it all positive thinking, but that's their issue.  I say it's a lot more pleasant to think positive thoughts than negative ones, no matter what the outcome.

So there you have it--the lessons I've learned along the way.

Create a successful, inspired writing life: Identify the life lessons that have guided you.  Because once you've identified them, you can more readily call upon them.  Inner knowing is half the battle.

Would you be willing to share your life lessons in the comments?  We'd love to hear them.  And if you liked this post, please tweet it or post it on other social media.  Thank you.


Photo by austinevan

How I Finally Opened the Publishing Door

The press that will print my book. Kidding.

On Monday, I told you that a small publishing house has agreed to publish my novel.  Today, I'm going to tell the story of how it came about.  (It feels a little weird to be writing so much about it, seeing as how all I know so far is that they have agreed to publish the book.  But I'm determined to share the entire process with you guys, so on I go.)

 Years ago, after I got my MFA, I returned to my alma mater, Spalding, to be a graduate assistant (also fondly known as a grad ass).  Part of my duties were to assist in the workshop.  I had the honor and pleasure of helping my dear former mentor Julie Brickman, but that's another story.   In that workshop I met a wonderful man named Dan, who lives in Key West.  He asked me to read his novel, Three Furies, which I did, and fell in love with.  I loved, loved, loved this novel and told him so repeatedly. (I'm not ignoring him by not linking to him, he doesn't yet have a website.)

Dan and I fell out of touch for a few years, but last Fall he wrote and told me the exciting news that Three Furies would be published by a small press.  He was excited.  I immediately looked up the press.  Turned out I loved what they said about publishing literary quality fiction and focusing on the "anti-heroine," as I previously noted.  I was pretty sure that fit my protagonist, Emma Jean, she who sleeps with handsome younger men, gets drunk on airplanes, and pretty much says whatever she pleases.  And so, on a whim, I submitted to them.

Now, the website information says they'll get back to you in six weeks.  Dan said he heard back from them in two weeks.  So when I didn't hear I pretty much forgot about it, figuring it was yet another no-go.  Until Saturday, when the cryptic email came saying that they want to put my novel on the list for 2013.

What's the lesson here?  Well, the obvious one is that who you know counts.  Please note here that I didn't ask Dan for a recommendation (though I've not hesitated to ask others in the past) and he didn't even know I was submitting to the same press.  But, I never would have known about this press if it weren't for Dan.  Networking is vital for sharing information.  Also, let me just say that I've had personal recommendations to agents that have put me on the top of their piles.  It all helps.

Tomorrow I'm going to publish my "lessons learned" post.  But another one that occurs to me as I write today is that patience is definitely a virtue.  I ofen joke that you could get married, have babies and die before hearing back from some of these folks in the publishing world and there's a ring of truth to it.  So don't enter this business if you're looking for instant gratification!

Create a successful, inspired writing life: Find a way to make some new writing friends.  Join a local writing group.  Start commenting on a forum online.  We're lucky to live in a time when it is easy to get connected.

Please comment.  How have you made connections in the writing world?  Also, if you liked this post, please feel free to Tweet it or share it on other social media.


Photo by rammag.


If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

As most of you know, I've written several novels and have been obsessively heavily marketing the most recent one, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior.


Over and over again, I get the same response from agents:  We love it.  But...

  • But Emma Jean is too brash.
  • But Emma Jean is unlikeable (because she does what she wants and says what she wants).
  • But Emma Jean gets drunk on airplanes.

So on Saturday evening, when I got home from a day-long retreat and casually checked my email on my phone while talking to my husband, I found a message from a small publishing house to which I'd submitted.  I thought it was going to say the same thing as all the rest.  Because it started the same way:

Thanks for submitting your novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior to us.  We love it......

Wait.  There was no but.

I read further.

We love it and we'd like to include it on our 2013 publishing list.

Wait.  What?

It took me a minute to figure out what the email was saying.  But once I did, it dawned on me: they want to publish my novel! (I've re-read the email a million times since then, making sure I didn't misunderstand it or that the words didn't rearrange themselves on the screen.)

This is a small publishing house but one that emphasizes literary quality and, the part I love the most, the "anti-heroine."  That is our girl, Emma Jean.  I don't have any details yet, and I'll share them with you as I get them, too.  Let me just say for now that I'm very happy--Saturday night there was quite the spontaneous celebration around here!

I love this book and it makes me so happy that it is going to see the light of day at last.  This feels like a door opening to me--one I've been knocking on forever.  I'm going through it full force, and I invite you to come along.  I'll be sharing every aspect of the process with you over the next few months. On Wednesday, for starters,  I'll tell you more about how it came about.

Thank you for being loyal readers--blogging is as much my love as writing books, and it is wonderful to have an audience for my ramblings.  I appreciate each and every one of you SO much.

Create a successful, inspired writing life: No matter what your writing goals, keep at it!  Take another step toward your goal today.  If I can do it, you can do it!

Photo by ugaldew.