Anne Laughlin
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    Mea Culpa

    by

    This is the longest I've gone without writing, which is truly pathetic. A lot has happened since my last post, mostly involving a major change in my writing career.

    As readers know, my previous books have all been published by Bold Strokes Books - a company that has done such a fantastic job of getting queer books out in the world. It's a top notch publishing house and I'm proud to be one of their authors. But I made a decision to try to get published in the 'mainstream,' which means out in the straight world. Bigger publishers, bigger audiences. It's terrifically hard to do, and I haven't got there yet, but I've made progress.

    First piece of the puzzle is, of course, to have a book. I've spent the last year and a half writing my first heterosexual mystery, which boils down to meaning my main character is not a lesbian. Other than that, there's nothing different in how I approached the book. Well, maybe a few things. I try with every book to get better, so with this one I went through many more drafts than I've previously written. I think the result is a more polished manuscript that hopefully goes a little deeper into character.

    The second thing one must have to publish in the mainstream is a literary agent. It's not like getting a new dentist or accountant. Literary agents must agree to represent you, and they get hundreds and hundreds of requests every year from authors asking to be taken on. Agents are necessary because almost none of the bigger publishers look at direct submissions. They'll only consider manuscripts presented to them by agents. So the huge hurdle is to not only find an agent who's excited about your work and wants to sell it, but have that agent be the most reputable, connected, and respected agent you can. Much to my relief and joy, my book was read by Deborah Schneider of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners and she signed me up.

    The third part is to get a publisher to offer you a contract for your book. I haven't gotten there yet. I've just finished some revisions and will be sending Deborah the new version in a week or so. Then it's her job to try to sell it. It's a long process and I'll be driven mad, I'm sure. Please cross your fingers for me. I'd love for A Date to Die to find a home.

    This doesn't mean I've stopped writing lesbian characters. I'm sure there's more of that in my future. And yes, it does tick me off that in order to be published to a wider audience, I have to go straight. I've been reading straight books my whole life, so it's galling that the idea of straight people reading queer books is rejected by publishers as not profitable. Maybe we'll get there someday. The main character of my A Date to Die, Detective Kay Adler, is straight, but her best friend's a lesbian. Nothing's set in stone about Kay.

    I'll be back here, hopefully soon, with news of landing a contract. Gotta think positively!

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