Tag Archives: publishing

Collecting Books by George Sand

22 Apr

Several of my books by George Sand (Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) were published in the 1970s, a decade when second wave feminists wished to read George Sand and found it frustrating that they could read about her but couldn’t find her books. (People found her life scandalous, and misogynists insist on pretending that women are nothing but sexual objects–even a woman as brilliant as George Sand). Maybe Joanna Russ, author of How to Suppress Women’s Writing, sought books by George Sand. The main publishers of her work in English in North America were Shameless Hussy Press and Cassandra Press.

To this day, if you wish to find books by George Sand, you can’t find them in bookstores that only sell new books. Unless you shop on Amazon.com, you can only find them in libraries and used bookstores, even though she was a prolific author and wrote books that are still relevant to today’s society.

Circa 2000, I started searching for books by George Sand. I went to the public library and used interlibrary loan. I fell in love with her epic, historic, and romantic novel Consuelo and wanted my own copy. Since then, I’ve been collecting books by George Sand; some are antiques, and I found the majority at Powell’s City of Books. On Amazon.com, I eventually found print-on-demand (POD) copies of Consuelo and its sequel, The Countess of Rudelstadt, but I kept my antique copy of Consuelo.

Dismissiveness toward women’s experiences and perspectives of course are tied to dismissiveness toward women’s writing. This dismissiveness is, of course, a result of systemic misogyny.

Quandary about Querying

22 Feb

I should have gone back over Hauntings of Claverton Castle and The Vanquished and the Surviving and drastically cut down the word count after only about ten literary agent rejections, rather than after about thirty such rejections. Looking at information about literary agents, I find that they’ve already rejected one or both of those manuscripts, or at least that someone from their agency has, which is close enough (because if one agent of a specific agency rejects a manuscript, it’s normal for them to pass it on to other agents in the same office).

I had fooled myself that surely since some books, such as Twilight, were published despite their long word count, surely it was okay for each of these novels to be over 110,000 words. But no, I finally decided (while reading a book by a literary agent that reminded me of word count limits) that I should play it safe and cut down these two books. Each has at least one less chapter and quite a few removed scenes. I suspect that the word count was why some agents rejected them.

Today, after only a few hours of researching agents, I’m considering putting aside those two novels and waiting until an agent accepts another novel before I make another stab at Claverton Castle and Vanquished. After all, if you already have an agent, naturally that agent will be interested in some of your other work. True, if you jump around different genres like I do, you might need more than one agent…but that’s not an immediate issue for me. What’s immediate in my situation is this: do I go ahead and continue searching for agents for these two novels, or one of them, or do I set them aside for now and instead wait to contact an agent after my critique group has gone over the entirety of the WIP that I’m sharing with them? Or do I revise a certain novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month that I think has a lot of publishing potential, and query agents about that novel (although I’d better share it with my critique group before I do that).

I think I’ll do this: continue revising a couple of WIPs, including the one I’m currently sharing with my critique group…and continue researching literary agents and pick out agents whom I haven’t queried yet about Claverton Castle or Vanquished, because surely there are still a few agents out there I haven’t queried but who are into supernatural and gothic historic fantasy. Or queer and supernatural gothic fiction. Surely I haven’t queried every such agent yet.

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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Dreams about Publishing and Education

29 Jul

I had a dream in which I was speaking with someone who was passing me a package that was probably a manuscript. That person said, “We want to publish _Barbaric Invasion _.”

After waking, I was aware that I’ve barely begun that novel. Also, that’s a working title that I’ll probably replace with something better.

*

I dreamed I was a college student and had some confusion during a class. An instructor announced a special project we would be doing that afternoon. If sounded interesting but daunting.

Later, I was running around getting errands done and realized that I was running late for the class that involved that project. I wasn’t even sure where we were meeting.

I think that was the same dream involving a somewhat dark and huge room containing gothic revival furniture. Benches with red velvet padding and dark wood that formed arches. There were much smaller, similar pieces of furniture that were alters, I knew, and one of them contained dollhouse miniatures, including a bed.

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.