The first time I heard about Miranda July was from my ex husband's sister. She looked at me wide-eyed with disbelief that I hadn't heard of Miranda July. 'You know, the filmmaker/actress/artist?' Nup, I'd never heard of her. My ex sister-in-law has great taste in books, and she really was quite sure that I must definitely read Miranda July, so I did that thing where I typed July's name and book title in the notes section of my phone and then promptly forgot about it.
The second time I heard about Miranda July was while reading super funny artist Kenny Pittock's blog. He'd made a ceramic sculpture of July's book The First Bad Man, went to Melbourne Town Hall to hear her talk and lined up, carrying the book sculpture in a shoebox, and asked her to sign it. Here's a photo Miranda July posted on Instagram of her signing Kenny Pittock's book sculpture:
Finally, I stumbled across July's website and discovered her theatre show 'The Society' where the audience are asked if they'd like to live in the theatre forever with her and form a new society: http://www.mirandajuly.com/#new-society
The concept of a lifetime in a new society being played out in an interactive theatre show was the clincher, it was time to read Miranda July. I'm 50 pages in to The First Bad Man and I'm loving the oddball humour, the surreal characterisation and unexpected twists and turns.
I'm now telling you all, 'you must read this book'.
Subscribe to my enewsletter by 18 December to go in the draw to win an iBooks copy of Miranda July's The First Bad Man.
Deep inside, you are certain your manuscript has wings, you just have to let it go. So, what’s the next step? Send your manuscript to literary agents? Cold call all the big publishing houses you’ve discovered on Google? Send your work to your favourite publishing house and look for ways to kill time during the long wait? Consider self-publishing? Or, gasp, vanity publishing? People, there is another way.
Gather in close. Listen carefully, while I share my take on how to get published as a first-time, green about the gills, author.
Reality check: you know you’re not going to get rich off your books right? There’s only a few J.K. Rowlings or E.L. James or Dan Browns. Anyway, it isn’t earthly riches you seek. It’s the ‘P’ word. That’s right, for you, it’s all about publication. Publication is tangible proof that someone other than your mother believes in you. Publication is proof you have talent. So much so, that a publisher is going to take you on; invest in you. They’ll shove cold, hard cash behind you. They’ll invest in you; in your manuscript; in the words you’ve sweated over, cried over, poured your life’s blood into.
Forget big publishing houses. They’re your future but not your today. Forget literary agents, for the moment. Now is your season of the small, independent publishing house. You will meet passionate, highly-driven individuals. They will rejoice in your potential. You will form strong working partnerships. Small independent publishing houses will become your home: they will be the birthplace of your publication dreams.
I met my publisher online. See, it does happen. My manuscript didn’t languish in the slush pile of an agent or publisher. I didn’t have to wait for weeks or months to find out how my manuscript had fared at an acquisitions meeting. The CEO of Aulexic read my manuscript firsthand and contacted me straight away. We didn’t meet in the plush offices of a tall office tower; we met for coffee, surrounded by books, in the comfy armchairs of an independent bookstore. The process was quick, smooth and stress-free.
Aulexic founder and CEO, Rebecca Laffar-Smith, and I became working partners. At some stage during the process of birthing a book, we became family. We sifted through tens upon tens, of book cover designs together. We crossed out words and wrote new ones, together. We explored and discussed venue options for the book launch. Rebecca supported me in my writer struggles and I hope, I supported her too. We attended functions together. It seems that publication had made us a team.
At this point in my writing career, self-publishing holds little attraction for me. Rebecca summed up my situation beautifully in a recent article:
‘Nadia has a fantastic indie author mindset, but she didn’t want to be involved in publishing and distribution. This is where independent publishers bring together the strengths of traditional publishing with author passion to the benefit of all. It’s the best of both worlds: agile and flexible to the trends like an indie author, but with the specialised skill set and distribution connections of a traditional publisher.’
Throughout the production process, I had the opportunity to offer input. For instance, I helped narrow down the choice of book covers. Our final cover was market tested and we’re both pleased with the end result. I couldn’t imagine a better cover or a better title.
My journey working with a small publishing house is ongoing. We are working together to have my book included in the school curriculum in my home state. My drive to publication has been exhilarating and empowering. Publication has lifted a huge burden from me. My writing has been acknowledged and I am free to work on the craft of writing. I have been published. I will be published again, but for now, it is time to get on with the business of growing my writing.
The top 10 benefits of publishing with a small press1. Independent publishing houses have a shorter production process than traditional publishing. Small presses can launch a book within six months.
2. Author contracts offered by small publishing houses generally have more generous terms and authors can be offered higher royalties.
3. Small presses work hard to form close working relationships with their authors. Independent publishers often take time to nurture authors. Signing authors requires a significant investment from the publisher so they go out of their way to help authors establish themselves within the industry and to develop their author platforms.
4. Authors have more scope for input into the production process with small publishing houses.
5. Small presses typically have fewer books on their catalogue which means they promote their books for longer. Independent presses are motivated to foster their titles.
6. Small presses are better able to take risks than traditional publishers. They are uniquely placed to push genre boundaries, change trends and bring books to market that would never normally see the light of day by traditional routes.
7. Historically, traditional publishers pull back on marketing after the first six weeks of a book’s release. Small presses continue to market their catalogue for months and years.
8. Signing with a small publishing house provides mentoring opportunities. Small presses may commission you to write another book and may help you to develop your writing abilities.
9. If you sign with a local independent publisher, you will have plenty of face-to-face contact with your publisher.
10. Independent presses have direct connections with their buyers and readers and enjoy close relationships with their distributors.
So what are you waiting for? Go on. Submit your manuscript to an independent publisher. It could be the first step in establishing a flourishing business relationship with a small press.
Rebecca Laffar-Smith is the founder and publisher of Aulexic, a small publishing house that specialises in books and resources for children with language and literacy difficulties. Their books inspire a love of story and words, help families and teachers foster a love of reading in all children, and empower people who face challenges learning to read and write.
Nadia L King was born in Dublin, Ireland, in the 1970s. She reads voraciously and enthusiastically. She is an overexcited person who adores words and writes short stories amongst other things. Her first book 'Jenna’s Truth' is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia.
More about small presses:
Small press pop quiz - indie publishers on what manuscripts they are looking for
How to choose a good small press
I must admit I was a little nervous about reading this recently discovered collection of Anais Nin stories because sometimes stories are unpublished for a reason. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that these stories are as captivating as those in Little Birds and Delta of Venus.
Nin explores even stranger territories, taking characters to the final frontier of desire. I can never tire of her eloquent and sensuous use of language, her understanding of deviant behaviour and lustful longing and how she can make voyeurism decent and perverted experiences pleasurable.
Congratulations to Paul Herron for unearthing these stories and for making sure that they see the light of day.
Want to read this too? Sign up to my enewsletter by 20 November to go in the draw to win an an ebook copy of Anaïs Nin’s long-lost collection Auletris, published by Sky Blue Press (via iBooks): http://eepurl.com/bzm6az
Great news! Amazon has released Anaïs Nin’s Auletris from its 'dungeon'.
To celebrate I'm giving away one ebook copy from iBooks.
Just sign up to my enewsletter by 20 November to go in the draw to win a copy: http://eepurl.com/bzm6az
You can read more about how Amazon recently limited the search function on Auletris in this blog post: http://outofprintwriting.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/discoverability-new-anais-nin.html
Last year I came across a Penguin classics book in a secondhand bookstore. I recognised the name Anaïs Nin from a Brainpickings post with a Debbie Millman drawing:
But that's all that I knew about Anaïs Nin.
I paid my $5, took Little Birds home and discovered that what was inside those pages opened up my mind like the door of a bird cage.
In the introduction Nin describes herself as the 'Madame of an unusual house of literary prostitution.' The tale goes that Henry Miller was asked by a collector to write short erotica stories for one dollar a page. After a while, Miller no longer wanted to write these type of stories, so Nin took it over. Lucky for us.
Once I'd been awakened to Nin's work, I went on to read another collection of her erotica stories Delta of Venus. That's when I discovered Paul Herron's Anais Nin Podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/anais-nin/id969808038?mt=2
I enjoyed walking the dog with Paul Herron's podcasts about Nin in my ear. I heard about how she dressed up for a party called Come as your madness like this:
I listened in awe about her relationship with Henry Miller and how later in life she had two husbands at the same time. The real-life Nin became as fascinating as her stories.
So this week, when I downloaded Paul Herron's latest podcast and he talked about how he's just published a new collection of Nin's stories that have never been seen before, I was feeling breathless already.
Herron discovered a folder from Nin's literary agent Gunther Stuhlmann’s archive that read “Provincetown Erotica??”. After reading Auletris, Herron recognised its literary value and worked hard to publish it under his Sky Blue Press imprint.
But upon the launch of the book, he's found that Amazon has limited the search function on Auletris. Herron says on his website: 'Amazon says that it has made the decision that Auletris shall not be searchable because of its “adult content.” Even the cover is obscene, they say.'
Which makes me wonder how come dino porn like this can be searchable on Amazon:
Is someone at Amazon deciding that sex with T-rex is okay to be promoted, but deeply moving, realistic, excitingly complicated prose about human relations is not?
Nin's stories are high art and deserve to be 'discoverable'.
Buy your own copy of Auletris by following the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Auletris-Erotica-Anais-Nin/dp/0988917092/
And leave a review on Amazon to let them know how much the world needs to be able to discover these stories ...
23 September 2016
Yesterday I went along to the annual HarperCollins author day. We had an update from CEO James Kellow on the state of the Australian publishing industry and the latest developments in the parallel importation of books debate in Australia. It's worrying times for local publishing and important that we all get behind the #BooksCreate campaign to support Australian writers, people working in the industry and the future of Australian stories. Follow the campaign: http://bookscreateaustralia.com.au/ and sign the petition to save Australian literature and stop parallel importation of books: https://www.change.org/p/scott-morrison-save-australian-literature-stop-parallel-importation-of-books
We were also lucky enough to hear from Natasha Boyd of Book Bonding and Mark Rubbo, founder of Readings, about the importance of the author-bookseller relationship.
Image: with CEO of HarperCollins Australia James Kellow, author Spiri Tsintziras and Natasha Boyd from Book Bonding Independent Bookstore
Enter the #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win a digital copy of my contemporary romance novel published by HarperCollins Australia - The Replacement Wife.
Luisa has met the love of her life ... now she just needs to figure out what to do with her husband.
Luisa has fallen madly in love with sculptor Jarvis, so she comes up with a plan to find a new wife for her husband Luke so she can exit stage left. She wants to screen potential stepmothers for her 8-year-old son Max and has strict criteria: the woman must be a single mother; have no more than two children; she can't be authoritarian; she must be creative, nurturing and not much prettier than Luisa.
After a few carefully orchestrated meetings with different women that fail to raise a spark, Luke finally connects with a potential replacement wife. However, Luisa isn't prepared for the fact that Luke's interest in the other woman makes him a better man and a more attractive husband. After suffering for years in a half-dead marriage, Luisa starts to remember what it was about Luke that she originally fell in love with. But is it too late?
3 copies to giveaway! Enter here (US residents only) by 14 June 2016: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/a91c30e63b3ed440
This month I'm doing the #AmpersandApril16 #bookphotochallenge thanks to https://commasandampersandsblog.wordpress.com. I'm having lots of fun styling some shots with my 8 year old daughter ... here's one she came up with for day 17. A-B-C. Follow along: https://www.instagram.com/outaprintwriter/
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