Sometimes just taking a chance works. Sometimes luck is in your favor. Of course, I recognize that with “luck” there has to be other factors, like, writing a good book!, but, timing plays such a role in this novel to publishing business.
The evening I was sitting around wondering what I wanted to do with my manuscript, I fiddled with google, typed in “Southern Publishers” and that’s when Bellebooks “Southern Fried Publishers” popped up. I thought, “Hmmm . . .” I had queried a couple of agents, but I really didn’t know what I wanted or how my dreams would be realized, or where I’d go or do or be as regards to my work. In other words: I was pretty open to where the universe would lead me as an author whether that be by agent or by me finding an independent/small press. The only thing I didn’t want to do was self-publish—and not because I think self-published books are “bad,” but I, personally, just didn’t want to deal with all the ins and outs of publication—I wanted an advance, even if tiny or token, and I wanted at least industry standard royalties, and I wanted a traditional publisher.
I looked at Bellebooks’s submissions guidelines and thought, “I don’t think my book fits that.” But, since I was right on the edges of fitting; since there was a question of whether maybe perhaps I fit, and since they were looking for newer works on their imprint Bell Bridge Books, I thought, “What the heck; I’ll send a query.” I did; they responded and asked for the entire manuscript. I sent it; sat on pins and needles, and not long after that, I had a contract. Boom Bam! It happened fast. I was elated. I have a great respect for these women of Bellebooks – – strong southern women. My editor/publicist Deb Smith is a dream to work with, and the President, Deb Dixon, is as well. It’s truly been a positive and wonderful experience.
What I didn’t know was how I was kind of an experiment, or you may say “a big risk.” Up to that point, Bellebooks wasn’t publishing my kind of fiction—literary fiction, or “women’s literary” whatever title you want to place upon it (for men have loved TG, too!). But as over the last year and a half Tender Graces has shown strong, and continues to do well, and then the response to Secret Graces also has been strong, Bellebooks decided to open their doors to more literary fiction. (I wasn’t alone in this experiment—there were at least two other authors with literary fiction, or women’s lit, that Bellebooks/Bell Bridge Books took on, and their books are doing well, too!)
Here’s the twitter feed from @bellebooks: Bellebooks Bell Bridge will accept proposals for literary fiction starting Nov. 1. See books of Kat Magendie for example http://www.bellbridgebooks.com/
I felt ‘proud’ to see my books as examples of what Bellebooks is looking for! *big arse grin*
So, beginning November 1, they will open their doors to literary fiction. I can tell you that they’ve been wonderful to work with. I feel incredibly lucky, and very happy that whatever Universe Hands pushed me that evening, they did so at the right time.