Minnesota Nice

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About a week ago, I attended a presentation on publishing at a local independent bookseller, Reading Frenzy in Zimmerman, Minnesota.  As part of their week-long book festival, they invited Seal Dwyer, editor at North Star Press, a regional publisher of Minnesota fiction, Minnesota history, and other Minnesota non-fiction, to speak about the business of getting a book published.

There are many routes to publication, and I guess I could say that I've always been a traditional publishing gal.  I've been on this agent-query rollercoaster for a couple of years now.  I've come close a couple of times with CLOUD 9 but close doesn't cut it in this biz, right? 

Over the last few months, while I've been trying to complete that first draft of WAITING FOR THE SUN, I've played around with CLOUD 9 a bit, too.  Revised.  Queried.   I was in the throes of another major revision when I set it aside to focus once again on WFTS - an agent who read a previous version of C9 said she connected with my writing and wanted to see WFTS when it was finished.

Too bad I haven't quite finished it.

So.  I feel a bit stuck.  C9 is torn apart, but nothing that a couple of buckle-down all-day writing sessions couldn't fix.  WFTS isn't complete, and it's damn hard to write, but the story is begging to be told.

CLOUD 9 might not be the book that's going to get me the agent.  It's not the breakout novel.  WFTS might be.

Do I put CLOUD 9 in "the drawer" or do I go regional?

C9 is set in a fictional town in the Brainerd Lakes area of Minnesota.   Minnesota, you might recall, is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  More like 11,842.  Minnesotans LOVE their lakes.  They love their cabins.  They love "up north."

explore brainerd lakes

Minnesota readers of YA lit just might love CLOUD 9.

Say I went the regional press route.  Minnesota author, Minnesota setting.  I imagine that C9 would sell well in resort gift shops and bookstores "up north."  I'd get to visit tiny libraries all over small-town Minnesota, and I'd for sure get my fill of resort towns (which I love).

It sounds rather inviting and idyllic.

Then what?   What happens next?  If C9 is published regionally, do I continue my quest for an agent and publication for WFTS?  Does having a regionally published novel help or hinder? 

I'm not sure if going with a regional publisher is the right thing for me to do.  I hope to be ready by the end of the summer with both C9 and WFTS - to query agents with WFTS and possibly send C9 to a regional press.

What do you think?  Would you consider a regional press?  Have you published with one? 

I'd love to hear your story.  Please include a link if you've written about your experience.

Comments

  1. Yes, yes, yes. For Cloud 9, regional is ideal. And only a first step. Write on!

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    1. Thank you for all your encouragement over C9's lifespan. :)

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  2. I think if you are really passionate about your book and can't find an agent for it, there is nothing wrong with putting it out through a small press. If it doesn't do as well as you'd hope by the time you're querying it again, you don't have to mention it in your query letter. Again if you're passionate about your novel....I see nothing wrong with putting it out on your own or through a small press.

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    1. Thank you - you have a good point. I do love C9 and am passionate about the book.

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  3. I'm not well-versed on the matter, but I think I'd give regional press a shot at CLOUD 9. If they publish it, you can always use that as credentials on a query letter for WFTS. I've been considering self-publishing my contemporary romance while I'm trying to traditionally publish the WiP I've been working on for about a year now. It's a tough call, but I think I'd consider the regional press. :)

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    1. Thanks, Jaime! So many options! I'll keep you posted. :)

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  4. I'm (almost) in the same boat. My last MS is getting a luke warm reception on the query front and I'm beginning to wonder if it's just not the right book to "break through". I love the story though, so at the end of the day I want to eventually put it out there. That being said, I don't think I ever will give up on the traditional dream.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! It's nice to hear when others are in (almost) the same boat. :) I don't think I'll ever give up on that traditional dream, either.

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  5. I've had this quandary. My last ms got a lukewarm reception from agents but it accidentally got requested by an e-pubber's editor and they decided they wanted it. I think my new ms has a good chance of getting an agent, so I had to decide whether to hang onto the last ms in case I hook an agent and have the chance to revise/sell it someday -- or if I just go with the e-pubber. I decided I'm holding out for the agent. :-)

    But everyone must travel their own road. Good luck in whatever you do. :-)

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    1. Accidentally got requested? :) That sounds like an interesting story. I think at the end of the summer I'll have a better idea of which road to travel. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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  6. Sometimes you have to go with your gut. If it feels right to go with a regional publisher, I say give it shot. I think the trick is doing the research to see if its truly the right fit for you. :-)

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    1. Thanks for this - I've always been a big believer in my gut feeling! And I agree - research is key.

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  7. CB is right - you have to go with your gut instinct.

    And I think regional, like self-pub COULD be a great way to get your foot in the door with an agent/big 6 for WFTS.

    Finish them off, set the aside for a few days and just think it all through. Maybe you'll have a clearer idea once they're both written.

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    1. Good suggestion, Daisy. Finishing them off will definitely be my first step! I'd planned on throwing my hat into the ring for your recent pitch contest, but with C9 torn apart, I felt like I should wait. Awesome contest!

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