Exciting News

I am excited, and terrified, to announce that I am going to publish my novel The Goddess Lounge.  Here's the deal:

I finished The Goddess Lounge over a year ago.  I did the things one traditionally does.  I pitched my manuscript to agents, and I was delighted that I got an agent who I really liked and who really liked my book.  Over the course of a year, she managed to get my manuscript read by top editors at basically every major publishing house.  They had some nice things to say, but they all, ultimately passed on it.  Then my agent told me that she was leaving the business.  But really, by that point, I could see the writing on the wall.

Why, you might ask, did all these editors pass on my book?  Time and again, two comments came back to my agent.  One, editors did not think readers would buy a book in my genre (romantic comedy) that included various incarnations of the F word.  Two, they didn't like an important relationship that was not resolved in a traditional way.  In other words, I think my book was too HBO for what they thought was a broadcast TV genre and audience.  I think that's bullshit. I think it is insulting to women readers who have varied tastes and who want good storytelling that is fun and not stupid and that is affirming of women and their right to own their own lives.  If, occasionally, the women in commercial fiction realize they are fucked and feel the need to say so, I don't think most readers mind.  I also think the kind of reasons used to dismiss my book speak to a profound conservatism that exists in publishing today.  I think that conservatism is born of fear, and I think that fear hurts readers, the publishing industry itself, and explains why almost every novel I pick up these days sounds exactly like the last.

I'm worried you will think this sounds like sour grapes.  It's not.  These companies have the right to publish what and who they want.  It is not my civil right to be published by Random House.  But...my book is really good.  I know that sounds vain!  But it is really good!  I am super proud of it, and I wrote it because I had something that I really wanted to say about how hard it is to be a mom today.

So I'm publishing it myself.  It should be available mid to late June.

I am super scared.  SUPER SCARED!  I have never done anything like this before, and I know myself.  I know that I can write, but I am not so good with the execution of details.  And this involves lots of details, especially marketing details, and especially putting-myself-out-there details.  I am bad at that.   REALLY BAD.  I feel self conscious because I always worry that I am bothering people/embarrassing my sad, sad self.

So I think I need your help.  What do you think I need to do?  What gets you to read a book?  What gets you to buy a book?  What advice do you have for helping me find an audience?  Have you seen things that work?  Have you seen things you hate?  I really want your input because, I think, then I won't feel quite so stranded in the desert.  I feel like, if you guys can be on my team, then I'll be accountable to you and then maybe I'll have the gumption to do the things I need to do to find the readers who will love this book as much as I do.  So, advice, please give it now.  If you would rather not post a comment, email me at mail@margaretfinnegan.com.

I'm terrified now that you will all think I am using you, so I'm going to go take shower and get ready for work.  If only I could wear my awesome Millennium Falcon shirt to class.  I would feel so much more secure.  


Tony Van Helsing said...

Your reticence in self publicity is apparent by you worrying about asking your followers for advice. Don't let that worry you. If you have the self discipline and determination to actually write a book and get it published then you have every right to blow your own trumpet. It's like a job interview, you know you can do it so you let your potential audience bloody well know it.
You'll be fine, this is where you want to be.

Jaime...my love said...

I like the writing on your blog and I think it's really brave of you to try publishing on your own. Our society today is very visual. There is a woman in my neighborhood who self published a book about her childhood experiences on Tybee island and she used a lot of flyers to get the word out. So the point is I think using visual media such as flyers and such is a really good way to grab attention and get the word out about your book. Good luck to you!

Alison said...

It hadn't even occurred to me that you COULD publish your own book, so you can tell how much help I am :( I'm sure talking about it on your Blog can only help though. Good Luck with it all!
Alison xx

Rois said...

First off,you are my hero! Good job believing in yourself.A thing I am horrid at.
Second,I want a copy of your book.Put me on your list or whatever ,let me know how to pay for it too.

Last of all,I am clueless regarding the how to promote your book but,if you go on tour and end up in Portland I have a guest bed open for you.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Well, I'm the wrong person to answer your questions about publishing - Carrie would have to give you her input there. However, I can tell you that I would buy your book simply because you are my friend and I already love your writing style, having followed your blog for about three years now and meeting you in person and knowing how fabulous you are.

That being said, you know I'm big on positive affirmations, right? So, I'd love for you to take everything you wrote in this blog post that was a worry and write yourself some affirmations based on the opposite of what you are worried about (if that makes sense). Here, I'll help you: "I am a great writer and my book deserves to be published, even if I have to do it myself! I am smart and capable of writing AND publishing a book!"

PS: I'd like my copy autographed, please! :o)

Jean Spitzer said...

Let me think about the advice. I'm sure it includes lots of self-promotion.

Meanwhile, please sign me up to buy a copy.

Daisy said...

Congratulations Margaret! There must be a goddess for people self publishing for the first time. Can you find her?

I'm disgustingly organized but wouldn't know how to go about this adventure. Is there a group online of other authors where you can pick up ideas and support?

One thing I remember from Edie, who is at: http://willmydoghateme.com/books

some lowlife slug stole her book online and sold it for his own gain. I believe she had a lawyer fix that. But maybe there is a way to prevent it.

Of course, the book should have it's own blog and FB page. Perhaps you have someone nearby who would take on the organization of selling?

Will you have print and electronic copies? Selling ecopies on the net would broaden your customer possibilities, save you some money, but leave you open as above.

All I know is that you are a terrific person and a great writer, and I wish you a huge following!

Carrie Rosalind said...

Woo hoo!! Congrats Margaret, that is awesome! I will be the first in line to get my book signed and I will be curious to hear about your adventures in self-publishing.

Margaret said...

First of all, thank you all for your support. That helps a lot.

Jamie: Visual. I think you are right. I'm really going to think about how to do that.

Rois: I think the only touring will be virtual, but thanks for the offer! Right back at you: If you are ever in LA, you can sleep on my couch. (Alas, no guest room. Even the dining room is occupied.)

Deb: Affirmation. I will need them because I can really beat myself up. I'm going to start by printing out these great comments and putting them on my wall.

Daisy: Watch out for scammers. I'm have to look into that. I hadn't thought of the Facebook page. That's a great idea. I do have a domain name for the website, but I guess I'll have to actually get started on that. It will be an ebook and a print. I want to give people choices.

Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Stacey said...

Margaret - Do you teach at a university? If so, be sure to use that as an outlet to do a reading. Ask if your English professor friends can offer extra credit to their students to come to your reading. You may or may not sell a lot of books, but you will have a lot of people in the audience :).
And local bookstores love to promote favorite sons and daughters too with reading opportunities, so I wouldn't focus just on virtual promotion. I've never met you in person, but I have seen your You Tube videos: you're likeable, loveable, fun! People will respond to that in person, too.

Keep going! I'm very excited for you!!

Petrea Burchard said...

I've read "The Goddess Lounge" and I will still buy a copy when you publish it, Margaret. It's delightful, funny and wild. It's not a book like every other book. It's "fun and not stupid" and it makes you laugh out loud.

I think there are a lot of good suggestions here. You know what I think we should all do? Next time we buy a book, we should think to ourselves, "What made me buy this book?" And tell Margaret what that is--the cover, the blurb, word of mouth, whatever--so she can implement that. Even if we know nothing about books or marketing them we know why we buy one, and we can pass that on to each other.

Olga said...

Are you fuckin' kidding me?? I am in line to buy that book just because you wrote it and it is obvious that you ARE a writer and deserve a wide audience. And how, pray tell, do the uptight publishers explain the phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey? Women like mind candy or smut, nothing in between?? Goddess Lounge--every one on my list will get a copy for Christmas. I can do the sour grapes for you anytime.

Margaret said...

Stacey: That is a good idea. That one is going to be hard for me because it involves me asking favors, which I know I must do, but which is so hard for me. I will try and persevere and I will let you know how it goes. Thanks.

Petrea: That is a great idea, and I will do that myself. The Goddess Lounge IS fun, isn't it.

altadenahiker said...


I'd say 90% of the time, I buy a book based on some superbly written review.

Petrea Burchard said...

You can superbly write a review, Karin. So can I. We might be thought of as biased, but I won't tell.

I think about all the times this blog has made me laugh and/or made me think. "The Goddess Lounge" is an extension of that, a whole novel of that, with powerful themes.

Shanna said...

I love your writing, Margaret - both the style and the content. I'm excited to be able to buy a whole book!!!

Katie InHerAfterworld said...

I've read American Gods so... I will HAVE to read yours, won't I? I don't have good or useful suggestions, but I can't wait to find your book on amazon and order it! :-D I loved every post you wrote (even if I didn't leave a comment for each one of them), so I am sure I'll love your book! :-) WELL DONE!

Katie InHerAfterworld said...

Will I find it, won't I?

Margaret said...

Katie: It should be available in June!

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

I'm excited! You're a wonderful writer and storyteller.

Shell Sherree said...

I'm so excited for you, Margaret, and I can't wait to buy and read your creation as soon as it's available. Getting reviews out there will be tremendously helpful. Most of my reading is based on recommendations from reviews. There are already many great ideas here - I know you're shy, but it will get easier.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Congrats Congrats Congrats

I have no advise to help you out except to send it off to someone I think might. (Don't spam incoming mail) wait...maybe a little advise.Can you put up one or two as short stories on Smash Words? build up some excitement towards the whole happy enchilada?

Bec said...

I'm so proud to know you! Great job . . . the first chapter that you had up was awesome. I'll write about it on my blog and I'll buy a copy - will there be an e-version that I can read on the Kindle?

And, I think you totally should wear your Millenium Falcon shirt to class. Maybe during final week?

Jean Spitzer said...

Often, I choose which book to read based on opening it up and starting to read it. What makes me pick it up to sample it (assuming I'm not familiar with the writer)? Probably some combination of colors and design of jacket/title/blurb. With me, good design really helps to get me to open the book.

Ms M said...

Congrats to you, Margaret!

Looks like several people have given you good ideas. Reading an excerpt of a book is what helps me decide. If it reads smoothly, has a "hook" to catch my interest, has a protagonist that is engaging. These are some of things I think about when deciding upon a book.

All the best as you go through the publishing/publicity process!

TheChieftess said...

WooHoo!!! You go girl!!! I can't wait for my copy!!!


I look at titles and authors when browsing...if it's a known author great, if not it starts with the title (the Godess Lounge already has my interest there!) Then I read the little blurb on the back of the book...and am annoyed when the blurb is inside and I have to look for it. A lot depends on the blurb for me to pick it...

Marketing would be the hard part for me...I imagine sending copies to book critics might work!!!

And most important...a paypal link on your blog!!!

Susan Campisi said...

I'm so excited for you, Margaret! You have something valuable to say and you say it with wisdom and humor and with such generosity. The Goddess Lounge is meant to be out in the world! I think you're so right those publishers are acting out of fear.

I think you should capitalize on social media. Everyone of us here who buys and reads your book should post about it on FB and tell all our friends to buy and read it - because of course we're all going to love it. It'll be an easy sell. Can't wait to read it. I'm so inspired by you!

Melissa Yuan-Innes said...

Adding to the love. We need more smart, funny, non-cookie cutter books. I'm waiting for my copy too. YAY, YOU!