Always on the lookout for ‘new-to-me’ authors, I’m happy to welcome author Jennifer Richardson to Thoughts in Progress today as part of her WOW (Women On Writing) Virtual Book Tour for her memoir, AMERICASHIRE: A FIELD GUIDE TO MARRIAGE.
|Author Jennifer Richardson|
Thanks to Jennifer, I have one copy of AMERICASHIRE: A FIELD GUIDE TO MARRIAGE (She Writes Press, ISBN-13: 978-1938314308, 164 Pages) to give away. Please see the end of the post for the details.
Jennifer joins us today to talk about “My Experience with Hybrid Publishing.”
Like many writers I started down the route to the publication of my book, AMERICASHIRE: A FIELD GUIDE TO A MARRIAGE, in the traditional way. I bought a copy of The Writer’s Handbook and highlighted all the agents working in my genre. I scoured the acknowledgments sections of books I thought were akin to mine, looking for mention of the author’s agent’s name. I subscribed to Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog. And then I started querying.
This went on for a year and a half in fits and starts, dictated in part by the demands of my “real life” and in part by how encouraged or discouraged I was feeling about my prospects at any given time. With regard to the latter, the querying had started well, with two requests for partial manuscripts. Both were swiftly rejected once I submitted the partials, which taught me my first lesson: my query letter was better than my manuscript. Still, at least I knew I had a hook. I took some time to get feedback from readers, which I should have done in the first place, edited, and resumed.
From there things got more mixed. I was both ignored and rejected repeatedly. But I also continued to get that encouraging trickle of interest. There were still occasional requests for both proposals and full manuscripts. But there was also a consistent theme emerging in the feedback I got from those agents: while my memoir was well-written, the odds of selling “this kind of memoir” were almost non-existent unless it was written by a celebrity.
It may seem odd to spend so much time telling you about my experience querying agents in a piece that is supposed to be about hybrid publishing, but there is a reason. Despite never landing an agent, that year and a half was time well-spent and a critical building block in the hybrid publication process. The editorial and commercial feedback I got from agents made my manuscript stronger and helped me better prepare for the platform building I would have to do on my own when I eventually did hybrid publish. For this reason alone, I would encourage any author who is considering a hybrid press to go through the process of trying to get an agent first.
The turning point for me in deciding to pursue hybrid publishing was a tweet. It arrived one day as I was looking over my ever-dwindling list of potential agents to query. I don’t remember the exact wording, but my former writing teacher and friend, Sam Dunn, had quipped that most self-publishing amounts to nothing more than vanity projects, but a new contender, She Writes Press, just might change her mind. I had never heard of She Writes Press, a community-driven, hybrid press, but immediately went and looked it up. On impulse, I submitted my manuscript.
As the process with She Writes Press began, I was admittedly ambivalent. It helped my pride that She Writes Press vetted submissions and was run by someone with a strong background in traditional publishing, but I still preferred to have a traditionally published book. But as the rejection came in for the last copy of my manuscript that had been floating around in agent purgatory, I had a decision to make. In the end it came down to this: When I talked to She Writes Press publisher, Brooke Warner, about the possibility of publishing with her press, I felt happy. The next day I signed the contract.
Six months later — She Writes Press could have gone faster, but I took my time in some areas — I have a book out, and I still feel happy. I’ve had a say in many aspects of production that I wouldn’t have in traditional publishing, from interior illustrations to cover design, and feel like I’ve gotten a remarkable education along the way — not just from the publisher, but from the nine other women who were also pilot authors for She Writes Press. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about my book; with hard work I know it can be a solid platform-building exercise. But more importantly I don’t have any regrets about not doing it. Instead of a manuscript in the drawer, I have a book on the shelf.
Jennifer, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing a look at hybrid publishing. Being happy with your publisher is an important aspect of writing. So glad your manuscript is no longer in the drawer, but on a shelf.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer is the author of AMERICASHIRE: A FIELD GUILD TO A MARRIAGE, a 2013 Indie Reader Discovery Award winner. The book chronicles her decision to give up city life for the bucolic pleasures of the British countryside. AMERICASHIRE is out now from She Writes Press.
For more on Jennifer and her writing, find her online at
www.twitter.com/baronessbarren (Twitter hashtag: #Americashire)
AMERICASHIRE: A FIELD GUIDE TO MARRIAGE is available as a print and e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and She Writes Press.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Here are the giveaway guidelines. To enter this giveaway, send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line, “Win AMERICASHIRE.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. And, just so you know, I don’t share this information with anyone other than the publisher or promoter nor use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance to win a copy of AMERICASHIRE: A FIELD GUIDE TO MARRIAGE is 8 p.m. (EDT) Monday, June 17.
Thanks so much for visiting today. Have you ever considered rearranging your entire life for a job opportunity? What are your thoughts on hybrid publishing?