Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Top 10 Things To Consider When Choosing A Publisher With The Same Care As A Jane Austen Heroine Chose A Husband


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a good story must be in want of a publisher.

It’s the age old story. You have so many hopes and dreams. You have all these wonderful stories to tell. You know that it will take an attachment, a proposal and perhaps a big commitment to make you moderately rich and a teensy bit famous. So you, the perfect Lizzie Bennet, who will only writes for love, not necessarily £10,000 a year, will be happy just to attach yourself with a publisher who respects you.

Fortunately for you, your access to publishers on the internet is an inviting a prospect as a town full of regimental soldiers to a 16-yearold girl. But if you don’t have a benefactor such as the much lauded Lady Catherine de Burgh, or your family’s connections are little more than a barrister uncle in Cheapside, you’re going to have to figure it out on your own.

Never fear. This list will give you some guidance.

Top 10 Things to Consider When Choosing A Publisher With The Same Care As  Jane Austen Heroine Choose A Husband

Top 10 Things to Consider When Choosing A Publisher With The Same Care As Jane Austen Heroine Choose A Husband


  1. You’ll attract folks like you. If you want the best, then be the best.  Before you start looking for a publisher, make your story the best it can be. I know, you’ve been working on it for a long time and it really is good. It’s not silly like Lydia or Kitty’s, and it’s not quite as good as Jane’s (but she’s being courted by the Big Six.) Your first responsibility as a writer is to write well. Take your time. Learn from the greats. If you are going to take your writing seriously and you want to attract publishers who take writing seriously, then push yourself to the most excellent level. If you want to make a fast buck, then you’ll attract publishers who want to do the same. Don’t know where to get advice? Start with hanging out at my Facebook group, 10 Minute Novelists, which was named by Writers Digest as one of the top 101 sites for writers for advice. 


"That is enough, child. Let the other ladies have a chance to EXHIBIT!"
“That is enough, child. Let the other ladies have a chance to EXHIBIT!”

2. Get the right kind of feedback from those knowledgeable in the industry. They will push you to excellence and the right connections. Your story is level headed. It  has a liveliness to it,  it’s been tempered by your exposure to great literature and you’ve been told, more than once, that it has “fine eyes.” But the best advice will come from critique groups, beta readers, editors or experienced writers who know the business and can honestly show you where to improve. You need to listen to them and improve your story in the very best way you can. You also never know who knows who. It does pay to be connected. I recommend Scribophile as a great resource. 10 Minute Novelists has a group there. Check them out. Ask for Sara Marschand. She’s awesome!

3. You understand your own goals for publication. Some writers have Rosings Park ambitions. Some will be content with Longbourne. (Forget Purvis Lodge. The attics there are dreadful!) If you don’t know what you want, then it will make choosing a publisher all the more difficult. This is what I did: I tried to find books, both fiction and non-fiction, that were similar to mine in content. I looked at who published them and who represented them. I asked myself if I wanted my books to be lumped together with these kinds of books. If I did, then it was from this list of publishers and agents that I would do research. If I didn’t, then I kept looking until I found books that were a better match. Writer’s Market is a great resource for writer willing to do the research. Get the book! 

Oh, Mr. Collins! You are such a charmer!
Oh, Mr. Collins! You are such a charmer!

4. You have a full understanding that an entire industry has been created to take advantage of desperate authors. And along comes your first contact with a publisher. He is tall, dark, handsome (okay maybe not in reality, but go with me, this is fun!) He is a mercenary. He may not be interested in art. He may not be interested in your long term goals. He may just want to cash in from your hard work. Legitimate publishers, who have good reputations, are, in this current economic climate, not likely to initiate relationships with writers. They don’t have to. They’re turning manuscripts away constantly.  It’s the less than trustworthy who are Googling authors and trying to sign anyone. Anyone. What to do? Go to Preditors and Editors and look for the names of reputable and notorious publishers, agents and editors. This is like Consumer Reports for writers. You’ll be really glad this site warned you about that Wickham!

5. If the publisher that contacted you is a start-up with few past authors, you need to be careful.  This should be a red flag. If you are their first client, or one of the first, it’s not likely that they have the credentials or the power or the skills to make you famous or even sold. Get names of anyone associated with them and send a few emails. Ask this, “I understand you worked with Wickham House for your book on gambling. Was that a positive experience for you?

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.54.16 AM

6. You should get a third party to look over a contract or legal document. If this potential publisher wants you to sign something, it is in your best interest to ask a lot of questions. Find a lawyer that specializes in contracts, or ask an agent to look something over for you. You don’t have to sign with an agent to sign a contract, but if you should be fully informed in what you’re signing. This is not one of those moments when I agree to the terms and conditions should be your knee-jerk reaction. And if your potential publisher doesn’t have a contract to sign, that means they’re depending on verbal agreements. This should be a red flag for you. A reputable publisher will be happy to provide you a contract, make adjustments, be patient with you while you get someone to look over it, and calm your nerves.

7.Make sure that they have professional editors working for them. Get names. Ask for specifics. Just because they say they’ll handle the editing, doesn’t mean that they will. You would hate it if your ARC was full of spelling and punctuation errors. It would be as embarrassing as having your petticoat six inches deep in mud. Need to find an editor? This is a list of reputable editors who would be happy to help you prepare your manuscript for publication. Check them out. 

8. Make sure that they have professional graphic designers working for them. Ask what happens if you don’t like the cover. Ask other authors if they liked their covers. Ask for them to show you all of the covers that they have been responsible for in the past. If you don’t like what you see, you may want to rethink this relationship.

9. Know the difference between a self-publishing house, an indie house and a vanity press. More importantly know what kind of publishing house you are working with. Check out this article that explains what a vanity press is and why you sign up with on, you just may regret it. 

Jane: "Oh Lizzie! The deepest love! And  . . . I can totally see up your nose!"
Jane: “Oh Lizzie! The deepest love! And . . . I can totally see up your nose!”

10. Don’t be desperate. Beginning writers think that having the word “published author” is like a halo of legitimacy. In some ways it is, but waiting to get published with a reputable, trustworthy publisher is far better than rushing into a relationship that you’ll want to get out of in a few months. Take your time. Do your homework. Someday I’ll use your book to teach your ten children how to play their instruments very ill.

Because you want so badly to be published, you’re not much different from the sad situation that all young women of the Regency Era were in.

You want to be published! That’s been the goal all along! Your mother has four other writers in the house who need to marry well because if they don’t the estate will be entailed away to Harper Collins! (Oops, sorry. I got carried away!) But trust me, you don’t to sign up with the first soldier that comes along. 


Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 12.02.15 PM

You do have choices. While being published is a great accomplishment, it’s not the only opportunity for writers. So before you sign, take the time to really get to know your publisher and do your research.

And your ending will be a happy one.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.58.45 AM

#Top10 Tuesday: Top Eight Awesome Places My Debut Romantic Comedy Went (And Some I Even Tagged Along For!)



I’m celebrating by telling you about some of the fun I’ve had since becoming a self published writer.

Writing is a big gamble. We put our words together and hope that somebody likes them. If we’re good enough, and we’ve done the work, and we happen to be at the right place at the right time, then our words do magical things. Things, perhaps that are unexpected and open doors for other opportunities.

That’s what happened to me when I self-published my romantic comedy, Falling For Your Madness. Not only did I get a lot of opportunity as result of it, this little book went places I could only imagine.

Top Eight Awesome Places My Debut Comedy Went
Top Eight Awesome Places My Debut Comedy Went


Here’s the top eight:

How Can My Self-Published Book Make Me Famous?

1.  Jane Austen’s grave. I make several references to Pride and Prejudice in my book, like in the following scene: Early in their relationship, David has asked Laura to name five things she loves. This is a bit of the dialogue, from Laura’s point of view, she is speaking first.

“What about you?” I wanted the attention off of me now.

“Not yet. That was only four for you. One more thing you love.”

“I was going to say Jane Austen novels, but then I realized that all the girls say that.”

“As well they should. Miss Austen was a great romantic who fully understood the nature of men and women. There is a rumor in my family, and I’m convinced all the rumors are true, that the inspiration for Darcy came from one of my distant uncles.”

“I believe it. You could be the inspiration for Darcy. Why is it that all my girlfriends say that they identify the most with Lizzie, when the truth is they’re all either a Mary or a Lydia?”

“What an interesting observation!” David laughed. “You are a Lizzie Bennett, or a Jane, and I refuse to believe anything to the contrary. Now, my turn. Things I love, the non-Anglophilic version. You will think I’m a complete dandy when I say milled soap, silver flatware as opposed to steel or plastic, fountain pens, raspberry jam, which now I think I should try with a bit of lime, and walking in Boston.”

 I have very good friend who live within driving distance of Jane Austen’s house and grave in Southern England. When they went to visit, they took a paperback copy of Falling For Your Madness along with them. I love this. Even though, I wasn’t there in the flesh, my book was, and that was pretty awesome.


2. On that same trip, they took a photo of Falling For Your Madness next to the “real” Round Table from Arthurian lore. Can’t tell you why this is important to the book it would be a spoiler! 

For Arthur! Lord of the Britons!
For Arthur! Lord of the Britons!

 3. Dominican Republic. Another good friend frequently travels to the Dominican Republic for  baseball related activities. She took Falling For Your Madness to the beach.

Falling For Your Madness in the Dominican Republic!!
Falling For Your Madness in the Dominican Republic!!

4. ABNA. Every year, Amazon.com sponsors the Amazon Breakout Novel Award for undiscovered writers. On January 14, 2013, I entered Falling For Your Madness into that year’s competition. Coincidentally, January 14 is a date that plays a role in the story and it’s my son’s birthday. That must be my lucky day because FFYM did very well in that contest, going all the way to the quarterfinalist level! That means that I was one of the top 50 books out of 10,000 entries!

5. Book Contract. The same week that I discovered that I had done well in the ABNA, I was contacted by Hodder & Stoughton to write a book called Write A Novel in 10 Minutes A Day. I’m very sure that my success in the ABNA had a LOT to do with this connection. The book will be released in NINE DAYS!

Click on the image to get your advance copy!
Click on the image to get your advance copy!


6. Agent signing. As a result of the book contract, I had to get an agent. In the spring of 2013, I signed with McGregor Literary! This is wicked cool! And by going places, it meant that I did travel to Chicago and Nashville to attend conferences sponsored by MacGregor Literary!

Who represents Katharine Grubb?
Agent Chip MacGregor, literary, not secret.

7. Catholic Digest.  Because of the message I had in Falling For Your Madness, which was respect, chivalry and chastity in a relationship, more conservative groups fell in love with it. In December of 2014, Catholic Digest  found me and asked if they could feature FFYM in their December issue. YES! This meant a lot to me, and I’m not even Catholic! (I didn’t take a photo! OH NO!)

8. Buckingham Palace.  This is one of the most recent and strangest situations of all. My dear British friend, Ian McAllister, bought a paperback copy and sent Falling For Your Madness to HRH Charles, The Prince of Wales because, as Ian put it, “it’s TOTALLY his sense of humour!” Plus, it doesn’t hurt that HRH’s actual letters make a cameo in my book. Ian got a reply from the office of the Prince. This is it. Ian then sent the letter to me. I’m totally framing this and hanging it on my office wall. THANKS IAN! And thank YOU Claudia, secretary to Prince Charles!

I wonder if Camilla will read it too?
I wonder if Camilla will read it too?
So these are the eight cool places my book has been, some I actually got to tag along for.
It’s my birthday and when I blow out my candles today, I have a wish for you.
I wish that YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE TOO! That all your hard work pays off.  My wish is that your books take you placed you’ve never, ever dreamed.
Who wants a piece of cake?