Thursday, May 2, 2019

Publishers Marketplace got back to me... and I am SO glad I asked.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

No literary fiction, PM?

The Search Deals section on Publishers Marketplace. Wherefore art thou "Literary"?

I recently purchased a Publishers Marketplace subscription at the urging of my friend Alana. It's quite an education, and I recommend it for all authors. Even if you only pay for one month, which is what I'm doing (for $25), you can discover much about the business side of publishing. I'm learning about literary agents and their deals, and which editors are buying what, all that stuff. Some authors don't want to know about this side of things, but I think it's important to be as informed as possible without losing my mind.

A few surprising things, especially in PM's Search Deals section. That "Women's" is still a category enrages me and will never stop enraging me, and I have no idea what "New Adult" means. Also, I find it fascinating that "debut" is considered a category unto itself.

Most strangely to me is that there is no category for "Literary." Why, PM, why? I'd bet that 1000 agents in Canada, the US and the UK combined represent literary fiction and explicitly call for it in their agency bios -- I certainly queried nearly 80 or so of them when I was agent-searching for my first novel. But still... "literary" doesn't have a category? I'm assuming it is relegated to the "general/other" category, which feels alienating to me. Who am I on PM? An Other? A General? There is a proper essay here somewhere but I'm too tired to write it.

I take this personally, as my first book was literary fiction and my second is a literary thriller. MFA programs must take this personally, too, since they graduate thousands of "literary" fiction writers every year. But the lack of this category on PM serves as further evidence to what I've always known: that literary fiction as a category is problematic. Many assume it to be hard to define, plotless, obnoxious, navel-gazing, grandiose, a sales killer... and it's been called worse. But it is a category that is widely used -- AND OH BY THE WAY IT IS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE GREATEST BOOKS OF ALL TIME -- so why not in Publishers Marketplace?

UPDATE: After I published this post, I remembered that I, in fact, have agency and that PM, in fact, has a "Contact Us" tab on their website. I shall query them directly and report back to the blog.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Publishers Marketplace got back to me and their response made me laugh out loud.
"At the end of the day 'literary' is too squishy when it comes to fiction for a formal database. Note that there's no "literary section" in the store. Essentially, you will find literary fiction primarily in debut (from which most genre debuts are not included) and general/other."

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Vacation hair/reading

I got zero writing done while on vacation in Mexico last week, and it felt great. Between the novel and my full-time writing job, I'm burnt out. I did get reading done, though. Finally finished The Haunting of Hill House, which was not scary and every character sounded exactly the same, so I'm confused about what the big deal is. I also made good progress on Christopher Andrew's The Secret World, which is a fascinating compendium on the history of intelligence (thanks for the lend, Rupert!). I started Amy Spurway's Crow, which I'm enjoying immensely. (I'll be interviewing Amy at Ben McNally's on April 25, btw. Come!) But mostly my vacation consisted of overeating gluten-free waffles and guacamole, overspending on daytrips off the resort, and revelling in quality time with my husband.

For the last few years, I've been using all of my vacation time to work on the new novel. It's been mostly wonderful, don't get me wrong; having a story that I'm obsessed with telling is a joy. But it takes a toll on the rest of my life -- as in actually living one. I already have chronic pain which limits me, and though book writing is a life unto itself, it does limit me as well. So while the chronic pain came with me on this vacation, I managed it ok, and the book writing didn't come with me at all. I love writing, but goddamn if we didn't need to spend some time apart.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A survey

Now that my second novel is written should I:

a) start writing my third novel, or
b) work on the Christmas screenplay I've been threatening to write for years, or
c) plunge headfirst into a deep pool of reality TV and come up for air sometime in 2021?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Book event alert!

On Thursday, April 25 at 6:00 p.m., I'll be interviewing Amy Spurway  about her debut novel, Crow. The event is part of Ben McNally's free and fantastic "In Her Voice" series. You can find more details about the event here.

I've interviewed a lot of people in my weird career, but this is the first time I get to do a one-on-one with a fellow author. Amy seems very cool so I'm hella excited to chat her up about her characters, her writing process, her feelings about releasing her debut novel, how she came up with the idea for the book, all that good stuff!

Books will be for sale, and there will be snacks. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

It's been a long week. I just want to write "they do it in the sand" and be done with it.