Tuesday, August 31, 2010

what the publishers who didn't publish my novel said

It occurred to me that saying my novel was well received by publishers who decided not to publish it was a bit lame without their actual comments. So, here they are, in no particular order:

"Fun to read: fresh, witty and original. The author comes up with inspired one-liners, and has a refreshingly quirky style. She has a great eye for detail which makes the story bubble up off the page; the people become living, breathing things, so real you really warm to them."  Transworld (UK)

"This novel has moments of real comic delight -- the vision of Nathaniel in goggles, covered in lobster meat, and chasing after his mail-order bride is genuinely funny, as are the more eccentric parts of Fourier's theories. I also liked the tender, tenuous relationship between the characters at the end."  Penguin

"I felt there was a real freshness to this novel, particularly the play on the beauty and the beast/princess and the toad idea, and Nathaniel is a lovely tragic-comic character. There is also a wittiness to this novel which places it in the Bridget Jones tradition, although it also reminded me of Girls Guide to Fishing and Hunting." Doubleday

"The narrative energy and brisk pacing make this novel a quick and enjoyable read." Harper Collins Canada

Okay, so I didn't write a dud. This was perhaps the most frustrating thing of all. If they had said they hated the book, it might have been more understandable. But it seemed as if it was all a question of marketing -- where did the book fit in? It was funny, and literary. Where to put it? Anyway, just thought I would share. Until next time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The decision to self publish

About five years ago, on a dare from a friend, I sent out two chapters of a novel I had been working on to one of Canada's most important literary agents. The novel was to be a funny, darkly satirical look at academia. To my surprise, she called me about three weeks later and told me she wanted to take me on. Visions of huge advances danced through my head, as I knew that many of the authors she represented were getting large contracts and making big money.  I finished the book and she tried, with all her might, to get someone to take it on. Harper Collins thought it was wonderful, but didn't have quite the right niche for it. More accolades followed, from publisher after publisher, yet the novel remained in the drawer, unread, unappreciated, except by my agent, and unpublished. In the meantime, I began another novel, still in progress. But the first one haunted me from within the drawer, where it sat, gathering dust. I finally decided that I couldn't really move on with the second novel until the first one was in print, and in the hands of readers. Another friend told me of his experiences with Lulu. I decided to get on board. So far even the decision to self publish has had an enormously invigorating effect. I revised the last chapter, and embarked on the adventure. In this blog I will spill the beans about how it works, the process, the heartaches, the headaches, and with any luck, the successes. See you next time.