I am PNWA member Anne Mini, and I am going to be hanging out on this site to answer your questions about the writing life and the publication world for the foreseeable future.
When the PNWA approached me to start blogging here, I was a bit nonplused. Yes, I won the Zola Award in 2004 for Nonfiction Book/Memoir; yes, I signed with an agent I met at PNWA within a few months afterward; yes, my memoir sold to a publisher before the next PNWA conference. Yes, my learning curve for the past year has been rollercoaster-like. But wouldn’t they prefer to have an industry insider hold this spot?
Then I started to think about how different the post-signing process has been than what I expected, about all of the million little things I wish someone had warned me about in advance.
To tell you the truth, I was a bit shell-shocked at first, despite the fact that I came into the marketing and sale process much better prepared than most first-time authors. I run a small freelance editing business, so I have held a lot of authors’ hands through the rigors of being compressed into print. I have seen novels totally rewritten five times over in accordance with the whims of editorial hirings and firings; I have seen academics’ bids for mainstream NF recognition misdirected by marketing departments who apparently had no idea what their books were about; I have seen time after time good books scuttled by bad titles that editors swore would make the difference between indifferent sales and the bestseller list. I thought I was prepared for what might happen to me.
In the slightly more than a year since I won the contest, I have signed with an firecracker of an agent who apparently sold my memoir as she was being wheeled into the maternity ward; wrote, rewrote, and re-rewrote a NF book proposal, discovered that advances and contracts are not always the pleasant, straightforward arrangements that we authors would like them to be, had my title changed thrice, and been threatened with a lawsuit if I published my book at all.
I have, in short, learned a lot very fast.
I am glad to be able to share my experiences with my fellow PNWA members, to show you the mistakes I made (so you may avoid them) and generally learn the lay of the land. Feel free to ask me anything about the agent-finding process, query letters, conferences, residencies, editors, or the publication process as far as I’ve gotten into it.
I may not always know the answer, but when I do, I’ll tell you the truth – and when I don’t, I usually know whom to ask. Standard disclaimers about all of this being my opinion and in no way a guarantee of future success if you take my advice.
So fire away. I’m here to help, so don’t be shy about sending in questions, whether they have to do with my subject du jour or not. I’ll just keep yammering away until I hear from you.
In the meantime, keep up the good work!
– Anne Mini
6 Replies to “Who am I, and how did I get here?”
I went all the way back to the beginning of Anne Mini’s blog and would like to read every word; she is opening an almost entirely mysterious topic to me, and making it clear and accessible!
How nice of you to say, Helen! Welcome!
After spending endless hours in the middle of the night digging in for more I have decided to do the same and start at the beginning. I have my big mug of tea, I am ready to go! 🙂
Go for it, Nuria!
Anne, I would just like to say wow to the amount of content on your site. This is going to be amazing being able to read all of the things you have posted and hopefully, it will help push me to move forward with my writing.
How nice of you to say, Leigh. As you may see, my blogging program lets me know when readers comment on old posts, so please feel free to pipe up with any questions.