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Adventures in Querying Agents

1 Sep
Jeff Hermann’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents (Oxford comma added by me) features this question for literary agents:
“How would you describe ‘the writer from hell’?”
One agent, Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary, answered:
“Hunched, moaning, pungent, with an incessant hunger for brains (p. 323).”
 
I can certainly reassure myself with the knowledge that I don’t fit that description.
It took me three hours just to query two agents. Sometimes that’s normal; some of the agents I’ve researched aren’t currently taking queries. Some just don’t sound like a good fit for this particular novel, after I’ve looked more thoroughly over their website.
Reading the descriptions of what some agents wish for, I sometimes find myself thinking, “I should hurry up and finish writing/revising (such and such novel)!” It can be inspiring but also a little frustrating, since I’m looking for agents for two novels I’ve completed, shared with my critique group, and revised and proofread many times.

Rowanwick Witches series

5 Aug

Since I self-published Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments in October 2017, I intend to self-publish the next two volumes this October. They are:

Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 2: Gingerbread

Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 3: Violet and Steampunk Boy

I decided to go ahead and publish both the same year, because I wrote Violet and Steampunk Boy first. It would have been the second book, except I thought there should be at least one more adventure before Aunt Amaryllis allows Violet to fly off on an adventure without her.

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Middle Grade Fantasy Issues

21 Apr

I stumbled upon this journal entry from March of 2014:

My latest rejection letter concerning the Rowanwick Witches hit a discouraging note. The editor claimed that they’ve published and have been receiving submissions of too many novels in which a relative teaches a young person witchcraft. This got me suspecting that if this one publisher is getting that many manuscripts with the same premise, then presumably this is common in the publishing industry in general right now. (The irony is that I wrote the original version back when I was a teenager in the 1980s, and the novel would have stood out.)

I confided in a friend, who suggested I alter the Rowanwick Witches so that someone other than a relative is the teacher. Perhaps, for instance, a tree could be the teacher—something different and unusual. I don’t want to do anything like that with the Rowanwick Witches, which has been near and dear since I was a teenager, but I got to thinking I could come up with a different Middle Grade series (or one at least one novel) of that ilk and attempt to get it published traditionally (as opposed to self-publishing).

Since writing the above, I haven’t written that other Middle Grade novel or series (though I have a cunning, if somewhat vague, plan for one). Getting published is very hard, and the publishing industry doesn’t care how attached you happen to be to certain fictional characters and how much time and effort you’ve devoted to them. The focus of agents and publishers is what will sell, what readers wish to read and on what they’re willing to spend money. It makes perfect sense intellectually.

However, because I felt compelled to get Rowanwick Witches published, I went ahead and self-published the first book on CreateSpace, the publishing platform for Amazon.com. The first book, available on Amazon, is Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments. I’m currently working on the next two books in the series.

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Skeleton from the Closet on Kindle

14 Oct

My magical realism novel Skeleton from the Closet is now available on Kindle!

The trade paperback edition will be coming soon.

 

Bohemian and feminist Kezia moves into the charming Craftsman house her uncle left her…in Kansas, where she moves and finds herself surrounded by conservatives, including toxic relatives. Aunt Edith seemed so kind and loving when she was a kid, but now she’s scathingly contemptuous toward Kezia, who begins redecorating and meets a walking and talking Skeleton, more than willing to tell her dark family secrets.

Skeleton from the Closet Ebook Available!

12 Oct

BookCoverPreview (1)

The ebook version of my magical realism novel, Skeleton from the Closet, is available beginning this Saturday! It’s only available on Kindle, for $3.99.

The print paperback should be available sometime next week…depending on when I receive the second proof and whether I make changes. I’m doing this a second time just to make absolutely sure the book looks good before it’s official. The first time I self-published a book, my dad went into hospice care and passed away when I was supposed to be proofreading, so I barely looked at the proof. This time, I want to get it right.

Self-Publishing Progress

10 Oct

In the small hours of the morning, I finished proofreading the interior for my magical realism novel, Skeleton from the Closet. Today I uploaded the latest version of the interior, made a few minor corrections, and uploaded it again. Next I took another look at the cover and made a slight alteration in the back cover copy; the final version of the cover is below.

Now that CreateSpace is reviewing the cover and interior of my novel Skeleton from the Closet, and I have to wait 24 hours, it’s time to get back to work on the other novel I’m self-publishing this month, Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments. Fortunately, it’s a middle grade novel and is a lot shorter.

In about twenty-four hours, I’ll be able to finalize Skeleton on CreateSpace, and it’ll be available to purchase on Amazon.com by Saturday. Also in twenty-four hours, I’ll set up the Kindle version of the book.

Adventures in Self-Publishing

20 Sep

BookCoverPreview

I’m currently waiting for the printed proof of Skeleton from the Closet, a magical realism novel that I wrote years ago and recently decided to self-publish. Meanwhile, I got to work on uploading my middle grade novel, Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments onto the CreateSpace page, and I’m working on its cover.

For the back cover copy of Rowanwick Witches:

Susan E. Wigget is obsessed with the supernatural and with old houses, especially if they’re haunted. She lives with five cats, four of whom are black. She wrote the ebook novella Witch’s Familiar and the magical realism novel Skeleton from the Closet.

*

Skeleton_from_the_Cl_Cover_for_Kindle

Now the proof for Skeleton from the Closet has been shipped, and I finished up and ordered the proof for Spells and Enchantments.

I’m antsy to receive the proofs and review them. CreateSpace has the option of doing it online rather than in printed form, but I like visual aids: having a version of the book in my hand and writing in it and using sticky notes. The cover is a particular concern, even though I can also see that online; I want to see just how the images turn out. The printed version is exactly what the book looks like unless you make changes (which I’m sure to do).