I began working with small independent and academic presses when I began seeking book publication myself in 1999. As is the case for so many of us, I also spent a number of years struggling to find an agent, even traveling to New York to give pitches face-to-face at a big, fancy New York conference, so I am quite familiar with the pitching and proposal process as well.
I didn’t have the kind of luck I wanted in New York with the corporate houses, so I turned to the small presses, a decision I have never regretted. I was lucky enough to have a tiny academic press at a small state college bring out my first poetry chapbook and a collection of poetry, plus my first collection of short stories. They were published by students in an undergraduate publishing class and edited by the well-regarded poet Mark Sanders and his wife Kimberley Verhines, who now runs Stephen F. Austin State University Press. They were sweet little editions–the chapbook was even hand-sewn, and I learned much about working with tiny presses. I appreciated the exposure. Those books opened up the path just a sliver. They were books, and somebody else published them. Finally, in 2006, after seven years of shopping those and one other manuscript, I had become a published author.
What I learned along the path is that I don’t want fame and fortune, where originally I thought that this was exactly what I wanted. What I wanted, it turns out, was a nice little writing career where I get to write and travel around meeting people at book signings, conferences, and workshops. Getting published is nice, but in the end, that’s not what writing is about. The writing life for me is about meeting people who care about the human need for expression.
In 2015 and 2016, having left the world of the university, I worked as Author Support Coordinator for Booktrope, an innovative publisher in Seattle, WA, where I successfully referred such works as Rachel Clark’s Blackfish Prophecy and Elizabeth Sloan’s When Songbirds Return to Paris. I was able to help dozens of authors, many of them experiencing book publication for the first time, and in the process had the opportunity to learn about and explore the inside of the publishing world. This year I represented two authors and found places for their books as well as to guide several others in their journey to publication. Once those publications are formally announced, I’ll include links here.
Directing an author to the right publisher is an instinctual ability, and as with all things instinctual, nothing is ever guaranteed, but I do enjoy assisting authors in this way. I’m very, very selective and prefer only books of literary or historical value, either fiction or non-fiction. Most of the authors I represent are my coaching clients, so I’m deeply aware of the quality of the work, which means I believe in the work, otherwise I wouldn’t agree to represent it.
I am responding to a need I’ve seen time and again: writers with absolutely deserving books who need help maneuvering the world of publishing and can find no one to turn to. I feel like I’m experienced enough with the back door to at least have the guts to knock, in other words, and if I believe in your book, I’m willing to help.
If this interests you, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chances are I will have to say no, because I rarely accept a manuscript cold. But–that one in a million chance does exist.