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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.