Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mission Accomplished




When I finished my first novel, I promised Grace, my heroine, that I would find her a good home. I've kept my promise. My dream of publishing has come true, but it didn’t happen the way I always imagined it would.

After long years of dues paid to learn my craft I queried and finally got an agent– I was hopeful, she was hopeful. She did her best to sell the book; however, it seemed that many traditional publishers and editors believed with all their hearts and bottom lines that African Americans only wanted to read urban literature or romance novels. They were also convinced that white people didn’t want to read anything by African Americans.

My novel fell into the genre of speculative fiction. It came complete with intelligent black folks, living intelligent lives. No magical negros or vapid black sidekicks. My agent got back letter after letter saying, “We like this novel but we don’t believe these charaters......( insert stereotypes here.)

“I’ll keep trying.” My agent said. However, I could tell she was discouraged.

I was suppose to wait on my agent to do the magic that agents do, but as the rejections piled up I knew I was probably going to have to pave the way to publishing success my own self. One November morning last year, my agent sent me another flurry of rejection emails and I got angry. I typed into Goggle: African American Literary Publishers and up popped the name Plenary Publishing.

I took a look at the website and it appeared the people behind Plenary were serious. Sometimes you have to take a leap off the cliff into the unknown and trust that God and the ancestors will throw you some wings on the way down. I followed their detailed submissions directions, pressed the send button and waited and waited and waited some more. I waited so long I almost forgot that I had submitted to them. Great blessing sometime come to those who wait. On May 13, the day after my birthday, I received a request for the full manuscript of my novel Act of Grace. I only had to wait a little while longer after that.

I am pleased to announce that my novel, my baby made of words, love and imagination, will be published by Plenary Publishing in February of 2011. I will be writing more about my upcoming publishing journey later as I get use to the idea that my best dream has come true and Grace now has a wonderful home.

9 comments:

Carleen Brice said...

I'm so happy for you and proud of you! We are going to sell the hell out of this book!!!

Bernice L. McFadden said...

Congrats to you!!! And thank you for your prayers. I am praying for you and your success!

Kyra said...

Karen - Congratulations to you! I KNOW what it's like to work so hard on a book and can't wait to "birth" it. I look forward to reading it when it's out - count me as one of the buyers!

Best, Kyra
www.BlackThreads.blogspot.com

Lafreya said...

Thank you everyone for your kind congradulations.

Kelly said...

What a testament to hard work and faith. Congratulations!

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abdel Shakur said...

Congratulations, Karen! Did you bring part of this manuscript to Hurston-Wright? Because I swear I remember reading that first page. Hard to forget.

Lafreya said...

Kelly thank you and Abdel Shakur I did bring part of what was esentially the firt draft to Hurston Wright. Wow you have a great memory.

Breeze Harper said...

Congrats my dear. I don't know you personally. I have received the same comments about my novel that I'm trying to publish because the characters in it don't seem "real". Funny how, throughout my life, I have also been told that I don't seem like a 'real' black person... LOL

Good luck and hope to read your book when it comes out.

Best,
Breeze
www.breezeharper.com