In April of this year, Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little Brown, published a mystery novel by an unknown author, Robert Galbraith, titled Cuckoo’s Calling. It got some nice reviews, including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, as well as praise from well-known authors in the genre. You know how many copies it sold in three months? Five Hundred, as in 500 all over the world.
If Robert Galbraith had really been Robert Galbraith, the one with the complete biography at the back of the book detailing his service in the army, his work in civilian security etc. etc., he would never have earned back his advance. It’s fair to say, he might never have been heard of again. But, Robert Galbraith was as complete a fiction as the book itself. The author, finally outed in an anonymous tweet, was none other than J.K. Rowling. Yes, that J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. I’d also venture to guess that if Robert Galbraith hadn’t really been J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, but rather let’s say, Joe Blow or even Jane Rosenthal, and said writer created such a . . .
. . . Robert Galbraith. That’s the story for this week’s blog post. Read on, and you’ll see why.
I sort of disappeared for a few months. Why? Because I was getting Palace of the Blue Butterfly, my own debut romantic suspense novel, up on Amazon. That, friends, was a lot of work. Like many things, having children for one, I had no idea what I was in for. Also, life sort of intervened there, too, with a few hard knocks and blows. More about that later, and how . . .
Here’s the second installment in a series about four women who’ve taken fate in their own hands. I mean, if you don’t do it, no one else will. I’m pretty sure of that. In this case, the women wanted a published book. You, on the other hand may want something else, and I think these stories serve as a guide. At least for me, they do.
I’ve learned a lot of practical stuff from these women’s struggles, but, more importantly, I’ve learned not to be afraid of breaking rules and to develop a very thick skin when it comes to other people’s negativity. They’re not going to help you anyway, and if and when you do succeed, they’ll be the first to jump on the bandwagon. Latest tale to prove that? An agent telling a self-published writer she’d previously rejected something like “Whatever I said before forget about it. That was then, this is . . .
I’d thought about going to the big Self-Publishing Book Expo that was held in NYC October 27. Good thing I didn’t. Sandy, anyone? I went to New Mexico instead to see my daughter. There were some medical issues, shall we say, and her husband was on his pilot’s hitch. She needed her Mom. And her Dad. So off we went.
We watched movies, ate green chile at Tomasita’s and drove along the old road to Taos. And of course under the circumstances, we stopped at the Santuario de Chimayo for some healing dirt, which has helped everyone’s spirits, at least. I actually did manage to follow the Self-Publishing Expo on Twitter, if you can believe that. At least, I followed people’s 150 characters worth of comments.
Anyway, one of my self-publishing inspirations was . . .
Elle Newmark was one of my first inspirations for self-publishing. I remember looking at her website, wondering if I could do something like that. How? I had no idea where to start.
Once I put it out to the universe, as my daughter says, and starting telling people what I wanted, things sort of fell into place. Still, the germ of the idea started with this self-published author and her rather incredible story. Here it is:
Elle Newmark was 10 when she knew she wanted to be a writer, but it was only after marriage, two children, divorce and finally working in advertising so she could pay the rent and buy groceries . . .
Three years ago when I was fishing around for what to do with my novels now that I was living so far from anything that could in any way resemble a publishing metropolis, I came across a few brave souls, pioneers, pushing forward on the vast prairies of self-publishing.
One of those very brave souls was the lovely young woman you see on the left. I read her very first blogs about her self-published women’s fiction novel Receive me Falling and ideas started percolating in my head. A voice started whispering, You can do this, Jane.
In those days before e-books, the perils of self-publishing were really daunting. Along with worrying about whether you . . .
. . . common?
You’d have to wonder, right? Well, I’m up to my eyeballs in eggplants these days—eggplants and proofreading my novel Palace of the Blue Butterfly to put up on Amazon. It’s going slowly—the novel proofing—because it’s harvest season, and well, there are all these . . .
EGGPLANTS to deal with.
I’ve soaked, salted, grilled, fried, roasted, and ratatouilled them ’til I’m blue in the face. Every time I go into the garden these days Dave hears me howling,” Nooo! Not another one!” I’ve cooked them Italian style, French style, Turkish style, Indian style and I thought I’d exhausted all . . .
In the midst of a hot, busy August with friends visiting and major harvesting needing to be done, we got the news that Cemex had come back, that the Board of Supervisors Meeting would be held August 28, that we had to gear up for battle once more to try to save Jesse Morrow Mountain.
We spent sleepless nights honing our arguments, reducing our speeches to the Supervisors to the minutes allowed. Two. You got that right, two. It was a twelve hour meeting. Cemex brought in the high-paid, slick lawyers. They trucked in the Teamsters and flew in the VP from Cemex . . .
Back in the shuttered darkness of my room after all the watering is done and with the little window air-conditioner purring loudly, I reach for this wonderful book I’ve been reading called Mexico: A Love Story—Women Write about the Mexican Experience, because who wouldn’t want to be at a beach like this in 100 degree weather even if only in her mind?
Well, this book—edited by Camille Cusumano— pulled me back into my youth so fast, back to a time when I was wandering around all of those places like these writers, falling in love, renting funky beach hotels, just as brave (or dumb) and full of wonder, feeling as if all this bounty had been put there just pour moi, or para mi, as the case would be.
In one of the memoirs by Laura Resau— Bees Born of Tears— a woman visits a Oaxacan curandera for a spiritual . . .
The great thing about being a woman of a certain age, which you probably are if you’re reading my blog instead of tweets, is that you have a lot more time to take spontaneous trips. Exactly what Dave and I did last week.
Just as the heat was cranking up here in the Sierra foothills, we headed to Mendocino for a few days of cool fog, fine dining and great music at the Mendocino Music Festival. Great Music. If you were there for big band night, you will know what I mean when I say Julian Waterfall-Pollack and his arrangement of The Water is Wide. The crowd was in tears and then up on its feet for a standing ovation. You have got to hear this young pianist . . .