Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So What if Publishing is a Harsh Mistress?

First of all I want to thank everyone who bought my book. There are almost 1300 of you, and I am eternally grateful. But alas, my publishing house doesn't like those numbers.

I've become friends with many of you, chronicling my journey through this literary life, and I wanted you to know: yesterday I found out that FSG is not picking up The Land of the Lost and Found, not because it's not good enough, but because they are not satisfied with the numbers of Edges, no matter how much they love it. "It doesn't make sense to publish a companion novel."

Their negative view of the numbers also puts Edges in danger of never making it to paperback which is a shame because then it would be more affordable and reach a wider audience. (I don't know about ebook or audio sales, but I certainly appreciate it if you bought it that way too!)

As an author, I am far from being alone - 90% of us don't sell out our first book and have a hard time publishing a second, third, fourth.

But I will not give up: I will have courage in the face of discouragement, I will practice steadfast detachment and keep on writing the stories that want ME to write them. I will listen to my intuition and approach my entire life with creative fervor. And I will pass this passion on to the future generation of writers.

Yes, publishing is a harsh mistress, but it is first and foremost a business, therefore, rejection is not about us, or about our books, but about people making wild guesses and backing authors with a built-in audience. (Like Snooki!) I know so many of you are beginning your own journey, querying agents and the like. Keep going! Persevere. The world needs your stories.

And I want YOU to know that you guys are amazing - I am so grateful for your support and your belief in me and my writing.

Here's the pitch: if you haven't bought Edges yet, please consider doing so. And read it. And if you are feeling extra supportive, please go to Goodreads and Amazon and Shelfari and give Edges a lovely rating and maybe even a review.

Authors need readers. I need you. Maybe together, we can get this book off the ground.

xoxoxox  Léna


  1. In the meantime, I KNOW you're forging ahead with another non-companion book, right? RIGHT? One foot in front of the other, one word at a time. We build on our successes AND less-than-successes, or we go crazy. We probably already mastered the latter, so we have no choice but to work on the former. :)And when all else fails, there's ice cream.

  2. Ugh. I feel sick at my stomach for you. But just because they won't publish a companion novel doesn't mean they won't publish ANY more of your novels. Right?

  3. Yes! The blessing is that I am in a sweet spot with my own writing. But/and now that I have a chance to feel my feelings, I am craving ice cream!

  4. Anne - you're right - and they're also not the only publishing option out there. I know that both my editor and agent are bitterly disappointed.

  5. Thank you for sharing with us, Lena. I know you will continue to publish. Publishing is in such turmoil these days that it seems no one knows what they're doing. Quality never goes out of style, though.

  6. I have a plan! It's not about a single book. It's about you building a readership as an author.

    Book publishers are venture capitalists. They invest their very limited money into sure bets. Hell, I would too.

    It's no different in the business world. Venture capitalists invest in companies that already make money. Watch the TV show "Shark Tank" for proof of this.

    So let's start an ongoing conversation offline and try some new approaches. I'll admit the fiction world is a different animal than the poetry and nonfiction worlds, but a reader is a reader is a reader, right?

    Bottom line. Your grandmother, Anne Lamott and Steven Pressfield may be pointing the way for you.

    Let's get to work!

  7. What Keith said!
    xoxox Toni

  8. I have to confess I bought the book, but have not gotten to reading it yet. A HUGE stack of books waiting! I will try to get to it soon and do as you ask...Goodreads, etc.

    I love your adttitude; don't give up. You are way of ahead of others in the race...the middle isn't bad while you are waiting to pull ahead!!!

  9. Lena - I'm such a huge fan of yours. I love the sweetness of "Edges." (read it twice!) News like this would have probably leveled me. Your response is inspirational. I'll do whatever I can to get the word out about Edges.

  10. sad.. i'd love to read the companion! but.. you do have a good attitude and outlook. keep fighting the good fight, lena! you can do it.

  11. Thank you everyone for your comments and for your support!

  12. Oh, dear! One of our colleagues nominated "Edges" for best of Westchester, and Deirdre and Maria and I have all read and reviewed. It's a worthwhile book, and refreshingly different. I do want to read the companion, and I trust I will, someday. In the meantime, I'll keep pushing for you.

  13. Thank you Mary J - it feels great to have the support of wonderful librarians!

  14. What a spirit...you are still encouraging other writers in their journey in the face of your own discouragement. It is true that "numbers" matter in regard to monetary profits. I see this in higher education every day with enrollment, and it drives me crazy. The number of lives changed by education--or a great book--can't be measured. The impact on one reader may bear fruit you never see, as you know, Lena; the difference you make in the lives of others through Edges happens because you are faithful to the call on your heart to write, to complete the work, no matter the "numbers."

  15. Thank you so much Amanda - it helps so much to know that I am not alone, and that I AM building an incredible community, an ever widening circle of friends. And I do believe that this companion will get published someday - just that now is not the right time and FSG isn't the right publisher, for reasons I may never know.

  16. Thank you so much for this post, and for sharing your spirit and stories with us! Will spread the Edges word, and look forward to more.

  17. Thank you, oh wonderful author of 8th Grade Super Zero! xo

  18. Hi Lena - I found you through Claudia over at http://claudiapage-bookie.blogspot.com/. She wrote a blog post about your experience with your publisher, and it is certainly something that all aspiring authors need to know. We think landing a publisher will solve all our problems and we'll be able to devote more time to writing, which is obviously untrue. You'll spend most of your time promoting your book! Still, you're a step ahead with one book under your belt. No doubt there will be more to follow, especially as your readership grows.

    I'm a new follower. :)

  19. Lisa - thanks so much for saying hello! I look forward getting to know you. It's just another reminder that writing is a journey, and I will not stray from the path! (Although, we all love a pat on the back from time to time,, don't we?)

  20. من الضروري أن تبقي منزلك خاليًا من الغبار خاصة إذا كنت تعاني أنت أو أي فرد من أفراد أسرتك من الحساسية. تحب عث الغبار أن تتغذى على الجلد الميت ، كما أن فضلاتها تسبب تهيج وحساسية لأقل الناس تسامحًا.
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