It’s a new year and I have a new publisher for Norah: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York. My previous publisher, Lucky Press, went out of business and for months after, I couldn’t query publishers. I had liked working with Lucky Press to prepare Norah for publication. And my book launch at Searles Castle was a once in a lifetime magical event. But there was no time for wallowing in self-pity and discouragement. I had to be about my art. Norah hadn’t reached a necessary flying altitude after the launch and never went on the trip that had been planned for her. However, she hadn’t crashed! It was only a delay for her journey and it had nothing to do with me. I had book talks and events planned and went ahead with them. And I had plenty of copies I had ordered from the publisher. I didn’t speak of not having a publisher, I tried not to compare myself to other writers, and I didn’t query for a long time. There was a certain liberation to trust my journey as a writer and I wasn’t going to beg to find a new publisher. Sure, I had moments of feeling sorry for myself, but only moments. I was busy listening to the next story Norah was telling me and I had two young adult books and other writing projects. Could I plaster the walls of my house (and not just my office walls) with rejection letters? Yes. But I could also plaster a room or two of my house with letters of praise from students who have read my young adult books and adults who have read Norah and other writings and given me affirmation. I will not make a big display of rejection or praise because both can detour me being about my art. Every life has disappointment and triumph, but who we really are as individuals shouldn’t be defined by either. It’s similar for this writing life. I have to be about my art. I have to listen to this call, this song only I can sing, and to do what the late artist, Annie Truitt, said, “Artists have no choice but to express their lives.”
When I was ready, I queried again. And when a couple of publishers said “it’s not right for us,” I countered the disappointment with a few more queries. And that’s how Fireship Press found Norah. Their niche is historical fiction and I’m thrilled. They have arranged a virtual book tour and I’ve been writing blog posts and doing interviews. I started getting anxious again about failing, but then I made a decision to just let Norah travel this journey and if there’s another delay, so be it. I’ve been true to her and to me. And that’s why I have printed in the front of the book, “I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.” (Rabbi Hillel).
Read an interview, comment, and enter into the giveaway – http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/2014/01/book-feature-giveaway-norah-by-cynthia.html
Why have I written this book? http://thelittlereaderlibrary.blogspot.com/
Your book release celebration at Searles Castle was indeed a magical event in every way — such a memorable day for all! Best of luck as you continue this important journey.
I wasn’t at Searles Castle, but am glad that I read Norah later, and that there is a a new publisher for Norah now. I agree that a person cannot be about the praise and the criticism that comes forth, but the internal motivation to do the art. Thanks for the reminder. It is so easy to forget sometimes.
So wonderful, Cynthia! Norah deserves a new home, and you’ve led her there!