What is the Traditional Publishing Journey like? #IWSG

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome Mark Noce, an author of historical fiction, who has appeared before on this blog. Today he talks about his second novel as a traditionally published author.

Take it away, Mark!


Thanks for having me here today! My second novel, Dark Winds Rising, has just come out with St. Martin’s Press (& Macmillan), and I’m thrilled to share it with all of you today! The second installment in my Queen Branwen Series, my book is about a young Queen named Branwen who struggles to save her family and her kingdom from the Saxons and the Picts in early medieval Wales.

It’s actually been quite a long journey to get here, publishing my second book with St. Martin’s. I was recently chatting with another author friend of mine who is submitting her work to agents and so I thought I’d share some of my goings on as I publish book number two, and just how much is involved even when you’ve got some publication “credentials” to fall back on.

The name of the game is patience. Patience and persistence.

For both Between Two Fires and Dark Winds Rising, I actually wrote the first draft for each novel about two-and-a-half years before they became published.
Yes, you read that right. And that was after I had my agent and signed with a major publisher.

So what took so long, you might ask? Well, honestly, it’s a lot of waiting. Publishers move at their own pace and have a lot of other books they’re publishing at the same time, so many months can go by before they’re ready to advance to the next step with your book.

Also, publishing dates get pushed back because of outside forces you cannot control. I even had to change the original title of my sequel, although that ended up being a good thing in the end.

 Still, I frequently force myself to take a good dose of patience as I persevere in my continuing writing career. Ideally, I’d love it if a book I wrote today could get on the bookshelves tomorrow, but the larger apparatus of the publishing industry ultimately has the final say. So it’s a compromise.

Even if it’s not all roses, there are certainly unexpected triumphs that arise along the path to publication.

I’ve often spoken at a library, bookstore, school, or book club about my novel, only to find out that one of the attendees is actually affiliated with some organization that would like to hear more about my novel. This has led me to talking annually at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and the Authors on the Move fundraiser in Sacramento each year. It’s kind of funny how often I end up making speeches, when I thought the job of a writer was simply to put words on paper. So I’m still learning as I go.

I could go on and on, but I hope that this tidbit has been helpful by giving you a glimpse into how the larger publishing houses work. Below is a brief blurb about Dark Winds Rising and some praise from fellow authors.

Dark Winds Rising

Queen Branwen finds her world once again turned upside down as Pictish raiders harry the shores of her kingdom. Rallying her people once more, she must face her most dangerous foe yet, the Queen of the Picts. Ruthless and cunning, the Pictish Queen turns the Welsh against each other in a bloody civil war, and Branwen must attempt to stop her before her country threatens to tear itself apart. All the while Branwen is heavy with child, and finds her young son’s footsteps dogged by a mysterious assassin. Branwen must somehow defeat the Picts and save her people before the Pictish Queen and a mysterious assassin threaten to destroy their lives from the inside out.

Praise for Dark Winds Rising and the Queen Branwen Series…

“Dark Winds Rising is a strong follow-up to Between Two Fires. Mark Noce strikes just the right balance between history and imagination in this compelling story.” ―Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of the Blackthorn & Grim series

“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” ―Paula Brackston, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

———

Book marketingMark writes historical fiction with a passion. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. By day, he works as a technical writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. To learn more his other upcoming publications, check out his Books section.

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Are you a reader, a writer, or both?  Do you read more short stories or novels? Are a self-published or traditionally published author? What are the pros and cons of indie and traditional publishing, according to you?

Do you like historical fiction? Have you read Mark’s work before? As a reader or writer, do you have questions for Mark Noce? 


IWSG Writing groupThis post was written for the IWSG. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway! Co-hosts this month are: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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When Did You Last Read a Poem? #poetry

Elizabeth bishop poemWhen life gets me down, I take refuge in poetry.

I read a poem every day, first thing in the morning for a long time now, and like one of those fragrance diffusers, this practice perfumes my days. Today’s poem was One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. I love her work, but this one in particular is an old favorite because of how it marries a universal experience of loss to defiance and positive affirmation.

There might be deadlines, dental appointments, news of deaths and devastation, but this practice of reading poetry keeps a calm center to each day, and guides me back home within myself when I go to bed.

Reading a poem a day is magical sustenance for me, an absolute essential for the writing life, filled as it is with its ups and downs, ecstasies and disappointments.
——

Do you read or write poetry? What poem has resonated with you? In the comments, could you list a poem or two that you think I should read?


This week, in order to connect to a whole new bunch of people on twitter, I started this thread.  A few of my friends have already gained new followers. Join in and follow everyone in order to make new connections!


I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post Fvourite Placethe last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity.

This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here’s a sampler. Click here to know more. Sign up here and add your bit of cheer to the world on the next installment on December 29th!

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page (Click the See First button to receive all the posts) in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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Have you Thought about Art Made Accessible to those with Disabilities? #WATWB

We are the World BlogfestWe are the World Blogfest is here with its ninth edition.

To spread peace and humanity on social media, a few of us have worked together to create the We are the World Blogfest. In a world where news and social media are awash with negativity, we aim to turn the focus on to small but significant stories that renew our faith in humanity.

The cohosts for the August 2017 WATWB are: Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Andrea Michaels  and yours truly. Please do go and say hello to all the other co-hosts.

———-

In the spirit of “In Darkness, Be Light,” I’d like to share the story of art made accessible to those with disabilities.

I confess that when it comes to those with disabilities, I’ve always considered issues like accessibility, equal opportunity, and so on.

It goes on to show exactly how biased my perspectives are that I didn’t realize some museums in India cater to those with visual impairments and allow them not only to enjoy a work of art, but also to enhance their experience of it as much as possible.

Siddhant Shah, a Heritage Architect and Access Consultant, has been working with museums to help create a world where anyone can have access to museums, art galleries and heritage, irrespective of the kind of disability.

“In a museum, an architect’s job is not just about providing ramps, wheels and toilets as many seem to believe. One should also make sure that even the knowledge stored in these walls need to be communicated. That is why I introduced the idea of ‘intellectual accessibility’.” 

I’m heartened that in a country like India where having disabilities often leads to stigma, there exist people like Siddhant who work for equal access to art through initiatives like Access for All.

“Through his 2-year-old organisation ‘Access for All’ he has already worked with National Museum in Delhi (where he was instrumental in setting up Anubhav Tactile Gallery), City Palace and Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa among many others to produce tactile reproductions, braille books and organise Abhas tactile walks. Additionally, he also designed the first museum braille book in Pakistan, for State Bank Museum in Karachi!

These accessibility initiatives can be life-changing for many, who are kept outside the enriching world of art and culture, thanks to their disability.”

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If you found this piece of news heartening, and would like to take part in this blogfest, sign up in the WE ARE THE WORLD Blogfest Linky List below and please help spread the word on social media via the hashtag #WATWB.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love and humanity.
  3. Join us in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More We Are the World Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. Add your post HERE so we can all find it quickly.

#WATWB also wants to link to charities supported by the co-hosts, and you could choose to donate to some of them or add links to local charities you support. Here’s the organization I’ve come to love and support: PROJECT WHY— and here’s one of my previous posts on the work they do. Feel free to send them a little of your help– every little bit counts.

 The We are The World Blogfest Community Page on Facebook will continue to show links to the various blog posts. So you don’t have to hurry through. You can always enjoy one a day. Like the page and share your posts on the thread for the purpose.

———

Do you have museums near you that allow those with disabilities a meaningful access to art? What heartwarming story have you heard recently? Do you have stories you’d like to share?

We Are the World BlogfestPlease join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community (Click on See First).

If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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Would You Rate Your Friends and Family on a Social Grading System?

Scifi is often predictive: a lot of the gadgets shown in Star Trek, for example, now exist. This is a good thing.

But recently I read an article that scared me: Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens. The Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents.

scifi nightmareHere’s an excerpt of the article on this scifi -sounding scenario:

Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It’s not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit.

But now imagine a system where all these behaviors are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school – or even just your chances of getting a date.

That is my idea of a dystopian nightmare, like a Black Mirror episode come to life. And apparently, this is to happen, in less than three years, to more than a billion people.


What do you think of this scenario? Do you think China would be able to successfully implement such a scifi -dystopia- like system? How would it affect their society? Is any other country likely to follow suit?

——–

I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post Fvourite Placethe last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity.

This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here’s a sampler. Click here to know more. Sign up here and add your bit of cheer to the world on the next installment this Friday, the November 24th!

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page (Click the See First button to receive all the posts) in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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How long did it take from Writing Your First Novel to Publishing it? #WriteTip

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the ongoing guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome to this site author Fiona Mitchell, who speaks of her remarkable journey from disappointing rejections to a publishing deal, and the seven steps to the publication of her debut novel, The Maid’s Room.

Congratulations on your debut, Fiona! Take it away!

—————

Publishing deal‘I would have given up!’ That’s what a lot of people say when I tell them how long it took me to get published. The Maid’s Room is out this week – seven years after I started writing fiction.

Throughout that time, I received lots of rejection letters and always, my spirit would slump into the end of my toes. But giving up was never an option because I felt so passionate about my idea. Set in Singapore, The Maid’s Room explores the lives of over-worked, underpaid Filipina maids who decide to fight back and change their lives.

I kept writing, re-writing and editing and finally in October 2016, I signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. Here are the seven steps I struggled up to turn my pipe dream into reality. And it’s worth noting that my hardest knocks were my most important turning points.

1) I blew my biggest chance: Back in 2013, I entered a novel competition that was judged by four literary agents. To my astonishment I was first longlisted then shortlisted. I didn’t win, but one of the literary agents, Rowan Lawton, wanted to meet me because she liked my novel. Rowan and I met in a cafe in London where I scribbled down her suggestions for edits. I worked on the book for a few months, but it still wasn’t right and Rowan turned it down. ‘I’ll never get another chance like this,’ I thought.

2) I wrote a second book: I set that first book aside, and wrote another one: a literary love story set on a remote Scottish island with quite a lot of sex scenes. I showed it to my husband who fell asleep somewhere around the second chapter. A writer friend of mine read it, grimaced and said, ‘Well, the thing is I really liked that first novel.’ I ignored everyone and submitted my second novel to agents including Rowan. The rejections flowed in.

3) I went back to my first book: I excavated the first book, made some changes and began sending it out again. One agent requested the full, using words like ‘brilliant’ and ‘wonderful’ to describe the opening chapters. Two other agents wanted to read the whole thing too. ‘This is my moment,’ I thought. Except it wasn’t. One by one all three agents rejected me. And that’s not mentioning the scores of other agents I sent it to. There was no body left to approach.

Publishing deal4) I wrote a third book: I peeled my splattered ego off the floor and started to plan a new book, using my central idea of modern-day servitude in Singapore with a brand new storyline, punctuated with humour. I wrote The Maid’s Room in a matter of months then sent the full manuscript to seven literary agents, including Rowan. One by one the rejections arrived, saying the narrative wasn’t quite taut enough, the pacing wasn’t right. I was at an all-time low.

5) I hired an editor: One agent said she’d love to read The Maid’s Room again if I had it edited. I was cynical, but eventually I thought, ‘what have I got to lose?’ I contacted story editor Sara Sarre who turned out to be my saviour. She loved The Maid’s Room and knew where I was going wrong.

6) I landed a literary agent: I sent The Maid’s Room to Rowan and ten days later, she offered to represent me. And that changed everything. Rowan and I worked together on more changes, then in October 2016, I signed contracts with four separate publishing companies in Denmark, Norway, Spain and Italy.

7) I signed with Hodder & Stoughton: It was nail-biting when Rowan started to submit to UK publishers, but thankfully the book went to auction and I ended up signing a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton.

Fiona Shares Her Tips to Help Your Novel to the Finishing Post:

1) Choose an idea you’re passionate about. That idea will sustain you through rejection and furnish you with the magic ‘p’ word: perseverance.

2) Turn up. Don’t wait until you feel like writing. Treat it like a job and write every day.

3) Don’t Look Back. Complete your first draft before doing any editing. That way you’ll know your story works and that it’s worth spending time editing.

4) Put it away. When you’ve rewritten and edited your novel once, put it away for a couple of weeks and come back to it anew. You’ll see it through a stranger’s eyes then and will be more able to spot what doesn’t work.

5) When you’re submitting to literary agents, say you welcome feedback. Use that feedback to improve your book.

6) If you’re unsure how to improve your book, find a brilliant editor who connects with your writing.

7) Enter writing competitions. A longlisting in a competition will buoy you up through the submissions process and keep you writing.

8) Rejections hurt. Turn the negative emotion into energy and keep writing. The longer it takes to get representation, the better your writing will become.

Publishing a debut———–

Fiona Mitchell is an award-winning writer who has  worked as a journalist for twenty years. She spent almost three years living in Singapore and now lives in London with her husband and daughter. The Maid’s Room, published by Hodder & Stoughton on 16th November 2017, is her first novel. She is currently working on a second.

Do you have questions for Fiona? Have you gone the indie or trad route?  Do you prefer the independence of self-publishing? Or maybe publication by the Big Five or a small press is the only way for you? Share your thoughts and if you have questions on writing or publication for  ask them in the comments!

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button.

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