Book Publication, GUTS, Vine Leaves Press, Writing

GUTS: The Path to Publication

Now that the kids are settled in at school, I can turn my attention to the child I’ve neglected over the summer: my memoir. My publication date for GUTS is February 13, 2018, a date that will no doubt come up quickly. The next few months will feature the tasks that many authors dread: marketing our work. Most writers prefer the hermit life of putting words on the page in the privacy of their writing spaces to the more public tasks of self-promoting, readings, conference presentations.

I do like the solitude of writing, but I’m also excited to get out from behind my writing desk and talk to readers about my book and the writing life. Self-promotion is difficult for me, but I’m trying to get over it. Just today at the dog park, I sent an email to a friendly woman I’d just met so she could have my contact information. “I’ll come to your reading!” she said as we parted a few minutes later. An almost complete stranger is planning to come to my reading – hooray!

Now all I need to do is schedule it.

Setting up readings, it turns out, is slow going, though yesterday I had my first success. The week my book comes out, I’m going to be on vacation with my family (parents, siblings & their families, Matt and the kids, Matt’s brother) in Steamboat Springs, CO. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to read with my whole family present, so I contacted the librarian at the beautifully renovated Bud Werner Memorial Library and I’ll be giving a talk and a reading there on February 19, 2018. Wow! Though it may seem strange to kick off my book tour so far from home, Steamboat was my off-and-on home for 2 years post-college, and there are even a few paragraphs of GUTS that take place in Steamboat.

It’s great to be able to have such an attractively designed website — courtesy of Sharon Mentyka — to help me with that self-marketing. And now I’m thrilled to have a beautiful cover to share with everyone. We Vine Leaves Press authors are fortunate to have a publisher who is also a book designer, Jessica Bell. I love the way that Jessica listened to my ideas and created a cover that conveys the theme of bravery.

So here it is…the cover!!

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And yes, it’s very cool and totally surreal to see my name in print on a book cover. And have a page on Vine Leaves’ website dedicated to GUTS, and even have it show up with a 5-star review (thanks Jessica!) on Goodreads!

I’m planning to blog more regularly in the lead-up to February 13th, and keep the site updated as I schedule events. I hope my friends and family will follow my blog so you can all keep tabs on GUTS as it makes its way into the world.

Book Publication, Vine Leaves Press, Writing

Guest Blogger – Theresa Milstein

Today I’m pleased to present a guest blog post by fellow Vine Leaves Press author Theresa Milstein. Theresa is an editor at Vine Leaves as well as an author. She lives in the Boston area and teaches special ed in my hometown of Belmont, so I already like her even though I don’t know her! I’m excited to read Theresa’s prose & poetry collection, TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCE, which was released this week. Check out the information at the bottom of this post for where to buy the book, as well as info about a contest where you can win a FREE copy (or other cool prize)!

Take it away, Theresa!

My writing process has changed considerably over the years. When I first began, I worked part time and was much younger (had more energy). My children were younger too, so life was busy until they went to bed. I found it easiest to write at night. Since I didn’t know many of the rules, I could belt out a cliché-ridden manuscript in a couple of months. And I had little idea of what revision meant, so I’d look it over a bunch of times, tweak it, and be done. There would be months I wouldn’t write again until another idea came to me. This routine went on for a number of years.

Luckily, I soon found a writing community that connected me with critique groups, workshops, conferences, retreats, and books on writing. The more I learned (and aged), the more I slowed down during drafts, and they were all the better for it. Eventually I began working full time as a teacher. That changed everything. I was too busy to write during the day, too exhausted at night, and so I experienced my longest drought. I was miserable.

Something had to give. I’d received the advice to write short stories to learn to make each word count and have an easier time becoming published. I thought an added bonus would be I could manage writing smaller pieces when I was busy. But something else occurred to me—time wouldn’t be handed to me on a silver platter. I had to make time. From that point on, writing became non-negotiable. I started a Facebook group to hold myself accountable on a daily basis. So nearly every day, I wrote something: a short story, a piece of flash fiction, a poem. And I became happier.

Then I started graduate school, and scheduling time seemed impossible. After a few attempts and almost giving up, I decided to set my alarm an hour earlier than I needed to. When everyone else is sleeping, I sit with a cup of coffee, cat on lap, and a laptop. And I write.

Recently, I’ve been tested again. Since the election, I’ve been using my writing time to inform myself of what’s going on and to take action. This “informing myself” part has been pretty depressing. I’ve been going days without writing. I’ve read a couple of articles* from people who are going through something similar, but it hasn’t helped me to write consistently. I’m trying to give myself a break. And I’ve written some poems in reaction to our new reality, so all is not lost on the writing front. I tell myself that writing is still too important to me, and I’ll find my way back into a routine. In the meantime, I’ve also been focusing my energies in preparing for my book launch.

How do you make time to write?

*

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-hollywood-values-updates-john-scalzi-s-10-point-plan-for-getting-1483653314-htmlstory.html

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/a51111/making-art-in-trumps-america/

Theresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE, will be published by Vine Leaves Press in March 21, 2017. She lives near Boston Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. For her day job, she works as a special education teacher in a public school, which gives her ample opportunity to observe teens and tweens in their natural habitat.

TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE is available:

$3.99 AUD (eBook)
Kindle AUS
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
iBooks | Kobo | Nook

$12.99 AUD (paperback)
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters Indigo

Leave a comment and you’re eligible to win a prize during my blog tour!

1 $25 Amazon gift card

1 signed paperback copy

1 ebook

Answer the question:

“If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?”

Extra entries if you share on Facebook or Twitter and link it to me.

@TheresaMilstein on Twitter.

@Theresa Milstein on Facebook

#ReliveMoment or #TimeandCircumstance

Winners will be announced on April 5, 2017

 

Book Publication, GUTS, Vine Leaves Press, Writing

Publication News!

How long have I wanted to write the (inelegant) sentence my book is being published? Perhaps since I wrote the first words of what would eventually become my memoir, GUTS, 7 years ago. Perhaps since the age of nine, when I filled in “a writer” next to the question printed in a fill-in-the-blanks book I owned, what do you want to be when you grow up? However I do the math, the result is the same: I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a contract for publication of GUTS by Vine Leaves Press!

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[Melborne, the virtual home of Vine Leaves Press.]

Vine Leaves and I found each other in an unexpected way, or at least it was a surprise to me. After many moons of querying agents and editors, I decided on a whim to participate in a Twitter pitching party.

I know. I’d never heard of one either.

On a designated day (6/9/16, in my case), agents and editors scan Twitter for worthy projects. Authors distill their book synopsis down to 140 characters, add the appropriate hashtag (#PitMad), and hope that someone spots their awesome tweet and requests a submission. Although I have a Twitter account, I’m really more of a Facebook girl, and had to get my friend Marin – an excellent writer and pro-Twitterer – to help me compose my tweets. Here is the tweet that caught the Vine Leaves editors’ attention: “BRAIN ON FIRE meets TRUTH AND BEAUTY in a story of friendship, a mysterious illness, colostomies, death, and a triathlon.

From the originally requested excerpt came a request for the full manuscript. And one evening in late August I got the email offering me publication. My face looked something like a paler, older version of this as I read the email, sitting home alone, my kids already asleep:

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Yesterday I sent the signed contract, and now I’m on my way. I’ll start working with a Vine Leaves editor in the Spring of 2017, and things will clip along from there, I have no doubt. I’ve spoken to several Vine Leaves authors and read some of their books and I’m honored to be in their company. Look, here I am, listed at the bottom underneath the gorgeous covers of the already-published and soon-to-be-published books: http://www.vineleavespress.com/books.html

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I think the press will be a wonderful home for GUTS. I’m grateful to acquisitions editor Peter Snell, publisher Jessica Bell, and the whole Vine Leaves team for their enthusiasm for GUTS.

Last night I was at the aforementioned Marin’s launch for her excellent young adult book, BLEED, BLISTER, PUKE, and PURGE: The Dirty Secrets Behind Early American Medicine. While waiting in the signing line, I was introduced to a woman. “Sarah has a book coming out in 2018.”

“Me too,” I said. Which felt weird. But also awesome.