Novel on Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath was probably one of the most interesting writers/poets of the 20th century…for many reasons. She was a graduate of Smith, married to a poet (Ted Hughs), and suffered from serious depression. She also managed to produce some of the best literature of her time, and won a Pulitzer posthumously for The Collected Poems. And now a YA author, Meg Wolitzer, will be releasing a novel inspired by Plath that sounds like it’s going to be a crossover.
It’s set to be published by Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin, on Sept. 30. Dutton says that Belzhar “is the story of Jam Gallahue, who-after tragically losing her boyfriend, Reeve-has been sent to The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teens. There, Jam is placed in an exclusive, mysterious class (Special Topics in English), where the students read only one writer; this semester, that writer is Sylvia Plath. A journal-writing assignment leads Jam and her classmates into a miraculous world they call Belzhar, where the past is restored and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again.”
You can read more here, where there’s a question and answer with Wolitzer. The reason I think this will be a crossover is that I’ll be reading it, and I think millions of other Plath aficionados will be, too.
Blogger to Bestseller Brandon Stanton
When a blogger makes the transition to books it often doesn’t work out…if it even happens at all. I’ve seen a few highly popular blogs over the past ten years that became books and most didn’t do well at all in book form. For whatever reason, it simply didn’t resonate with mainstream readers the same way it did with blog readers. This is why I keep a good deal of distance between my blogging persona and my fiction and rarely like to mix the two…which isn’t easy to do (also why I keep this blog pg rated all the time…so I can post on these topics). But, once in a while a blogger does make the transition to books well. In this case, Brandon Stanton who blogs at Humans of New York has millions of followers and a #1 bestseller on the NYT list.
And now Stanton is putting out a book for kids titled, Little Humans.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Stanton (pictured, via) talks about his process for photographing kids: “I never even make eye contact with the child until I’ve asked the parent’s permission. But once I’ve gotten the go ahead, I sit on the ground and try to be as playful as possible. I think it’s important to try to get on a kid’s level when taking their photo.”
It’s nice to see a blogger who does something positive reach this kind of goal. I don’t always comment like this, but sometimes it’s just nice to take a break from the cutthroat vituperative world of online writing where so many digital authors will stop at nothing to win a fake award, push a rotten book that never should have been written in the first place, and sell their souls to the devil to get questionable reviews on Amazon.
What Stanton is doing gives me faith there’s still hope out there.
Publishing Your Book
One of the most interesting things I’ve been seeing since I started reading publishing blogs online about twelve years ago is that so many unpublished writers have one book they think is going to send them soaring into stardom, with fortune and fame. It happens. E.L. James is a good example it can happen. But not often. Most of the time writers work years, write many books, and pay all their dues just to get a little recognition. If they are lucky that is.
So I think articles like this one I’m linking to now are helpful to realistic writers who aren’t interested in self-publishing. And not everyone is.
However, if your manuscript doesn’t receive interest from a literary agent, the next step is to begin querying the smaller independent and university presses. Don’t fret—this doesn’t mean that your book is destined for obscurity. Keep in mind that a university press publishes more than just school-affiliated writers and academic tomes. Both university and indie presses publish all types of authors from many genres and reach a wide audience.
You can read more here.
My advice is try querying everyone, try independent and university presses, and try everything until you’ve exhausted all possibilities. And then start all over again. A good deal of getting published depends on perseverance, too. You can never give up.