August 15, 2015
TODAY IS THE ONE-YEAR anniversary of the book launch for my novel, Thieving Forest. Although I can’t remember when I began, exactly, to think about this novel—when I started outlining the plot, or even before that, when several ideas suddenly converged into something that might, one day, resemble a plot—I think it was about seven years in the making.
But only four of those seven years were spent on research and writing: it took me three years to find an agent; work with her on revisions; send the manuscript out to editors; get precariously close to an offer (twice); research the self-publishing business; hire professionals to edit and format the manuscript and design its cover; and, finally, publish the novel.
What I like to say about this process is: I’m now both a writer and a small business owner.
It has been an interesting and fulfilling journey. Thieving Forest has sold over six times as many books as my first, traditionally published mystery sold. It’s made me question some business practices I took for granted, and find new ones I had never considered. I feel as though I’m an expert now in this slice of the publishing business—until I remember that it changes day by day! But it’s exciting to be part of an industry in flux.
Congratulations to Melissa, Townsend, and Jessica—winners of the Thieving Forest anniversary giveaway! Please contact me if you have not yet received an email about your prize. And thanks to everyone who participated.
Martha Conway’s new novel, Thieving Forest, won the North American Book Award in Historical Fiction and a Silver Medal in Historical Fiction in the Independent Publishers Awards, and her first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award. Her short stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Folio, and other journals. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio and UC Berkeley Extension.