Where should I publish?

A neighbor of mine recently asked for information about publishing, and I thought the information might be well shared. Are you thinking about trying to publishing with the Big Five? Self publishing? Finding a smaller house? Check out the tips below, and good luck, writers!

So there are a couple of things to know when it comes to publishing. Writer’s Digest is a great resource for all things writerly, and this article can be a good general start for how to take next steps, depending on what road you want to take.

Once the book is edited, you’ll want to craft a query letter no matter what. Advice on how to do that is linked in the article above, but its basically a pitch to agents/publishers to try and sell them on your book. Once you have that ready, most publishers or agents will ask for a sample of the work (a few chapters), sometimes they’ll as for a synopsis (usually 1-3 pages) as well as your query. Agents get hundreds of queries a day, so they will be much harder to access. You can find them through agentquery.com, but you’ll also want to check their website to be sure their requirements are accurate.

If you want to query smaller publishing houses  you can google publishers that don’t require agents and you’ll find a slew of listings there. Just be careful–look for reviews on publishing houses. Some of them can be shady, so its good to look out for hints of something not quite right. A legit publisher will never ask for money, and they should have good reviews from their writers.

The pro of working with smaller houses though, is that you have more say in the creative process, and you get a larger share of the profit. Small houses usually give the writer 10% of profits, major publishing houses give 1%. If you self publish, you get all the profits, but you’d have to pay for the edit and for the cover art to be done for you. With small publishing houses and self publishing, you have to market yourself. Big houses will do that for you, but will expect you to have an online presence and market alongside them.

No matter what, do what’s best for you! Try out different tactics, and see where you end up. I look forward to seeing your book on the bestseller list someday!

The LGBTQ Character No One Knows About

As we continue to parade our way through Pride month, it occurs to me that there is a character in Past Lives that many of you may not know about. You might not know about her because I’m terrible at marketing my own books, so you haven’t read it yet. You might not know about her because you took one look at the cover and thought, “Really? Looks like a trashy romance novel.”

You might want to look past that, if you were thinking it. I’ve been told that enough times. Past Lives is the story of a girl who reincarnates over several centuries. Her story is one of growth, love, and loss. There’s a character who is always by her side, though, and I think she is the most important character I have written so far.

Giselle represents the disenfranchised-the object of hate society chooses and holds down with the might of elitist control. In her first life, circa 1790, she is poor, frowned upon because she was born as what was viewed to be a lower class. When you are poor, you can be abused within an inch of your life, and no one will care. You are to blame.

In round two, she is a black slave on a southern plantation. Her status as a person doesn’t even exist, because white men tell her that she is less than a human as a result of the pigmentation of her skin. When you are black, you can be abused within an inch of your life, and no one will care. You are to blame.

Round three, Giselle is Jewish in Austria, 1938. Jews can be tortured, murdered, destroyed, wiped out, because according to those at the top they are somehow a pestilence on the earth. When you are Jewish, you can be abused within an inch of your life, and no one will care. You are to blame.

Finally, the last section of the book takes place in modern day America, where Giselle is a lesbian at a small town high school. She is seen as unnatural, bullied for a choice she did not make. When you are LGBTQ, you can be abused within an inch of your life, and no one will care. You are to blame.

Now you’re thinking, but people do care! We’re rising up! We’re fighting for change! And this is good. It’s important to have open dialogue about what’s going on in this country. The truth is, while Giselle was a member of the oppressed in the past, those groups continue to face the same discrimination and treatment today.

The messages of Past Lives are diverse. How to behave in life towards others, how society finds ways to stay the same even as we slowly, painstakingly progress. My purpose in writing it was to bring the concept of kindness to the world in the form of karmic experiences. Someday I hope that the message will resonate, and humanity will reach its full potential for good. Sometimes fiction can make a difference.

Until then, well. Here we are.