Discover more from From the Desk of Erin Bowman
Spring updates, a giveaway, and an open AMA thread
A quick "news & updates" post as winter comes to a close
For the new faces here (hello!) and for the older readers alike, a bit of house keeping before we dig in:
This is a “News & Updates” email. I don’t have a schedule for these types of posts. Instead, they are sent if/when I have news/updates to share. My typical “Writing & Publishing” schedule remains the same, with emails dropping every other Tuesday. You can update your email preferences at any time in order to opt in (or out) of any content.
It’s hard to believe it’s officially spring when the world outside my office still looks very much like winter. (So. much. snow.) I’ve seen friends posting photos of budding flowers on social media. It’s hard to not be jealous.
At the same time, lots of snow means I don’t feel too terrible about being holed up in my office. I’ve been very busy over here.
But first, a rundown of what you can find in this email:
From the Desk of Erin Bowman is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
It stinks, but I’ve been here before, and it’s not the end of the world. It’s just time to turn the iron over and get it hot again.
Of course, no writer wants an R&R to end in rejection. Obviously we’d all like an offer. But the plus side of an R&R is that it’s never wasted time. My book is now better and stronger because of the work I put in, and I’m hopeful those efforts will pay off. (Still, it’s been a long haul on sub with this particular project. Well over a year now. It’s easy to slip into a pessimistic mindset if I’m not careful.)
Luckily, the second iron that I mentioned in my retrospective is in much better shape. It was warming at the close of the year and it is now red-hot. I’ve been busy in my office, feverishly typing away at my keyboard, and I hope to be able to say more about this project soon. At the same time, I know far too well how unpredictable this industry is and I refuse to count any chickens before they actually hatch.
I also had a few teaching opportunities this winter, which have allowed me to connect with writers and help them strengthen their heroes’ character arcs. I absolutely love teaching. I find it so rewarding—helping other writers is the best—and much like critiquing for a crit partner, I believe that thinking critically about craft simply makes us better writers ourselves, no matter how long we've been in this business. (Heck, this is part of the reason why I love sharing writing advice via this newsletter.)
I've also been doing some freelance design work on the side too. Busy, busy. It’s been helpful that, for the most part, my family has been healthy. (We do not talk of the Fall of Constant Illness2 least we summon bad bugs.3)
For any of my New Hampshire (and northern Mass) readers, you can catch me in person at the Derry Author Fest in Derry, NH on Saturday April 8th.
The theme of this year’s festival is “out of the box” and I’ll be giving a talk on genre-blending, followed by a Q&A and book signing.
Here’s the details:
Genre: To Blend or Not to Blend?
Join Edgar Award-nominated author Erin Bowman for a crash course in genre. Learn why publishers insist on defining stories by genre, what each genre strives to teach readers about humanity and life, and how writers can benefit from playing with genre expectations. Using examples from popular fiction and some of her own novels, Erin will showcase the perks and joys of genre blending while also highlighting the unique challenges that come with writing stories that don’t fit neatly into one box.
Registration is encouraged because seating is limited. Learn more about the festival and to see the full schedule/lineup of authors here.
Open AMA thread
I typically do monthly AMAs exclusively for paid subscribers, but once in awhile, I like to open this feature up to everyone. So for April, here it is. Ask me anything! Questions about writing and publishing are always welcome, but you can ask about non-bookish things, too.
Head to the comments to ask your question. I’ll answer as many as I can in the coming days. If a question requires a meaty answer, I’ll turn it into a full length post down the road. :)
My debut novel, Taken, turns ten on April 16th. Yep, I debuted almost a full decade ago. I can barely believe it. To celebrate, I’ll be hosting a paperback set giveaway over on insta, so keep your eyes peeled for that. But here on substack, I’ve decided to give away a 1-year paid subscription to From the Desk of Erin Bowman to FIVE (5) subscribers.
While most of my posts are available to all readers, paid subscribers of From the Desk of Erin Bowman do enjoy a few extra perks, such as access to my serialized fiction, monthly AMA posts (like this one), and the rare paywalled “Writing & Publishing” pieces (example).
If you win, I’ll comp you a year at the paid level. (If you are already a paid subscriber and win, I’ll comp you an additional year after the date that your current membership expires.)
This giveaway will run through 4/16/23.
And…. that’s it! We’ll be back on our regularly scheduled program with a new “Writing & Publishing” post dropping on Tuesday.
R&R stands for “revise and resubmit.” In this instance, the editor likes the book but cannot make an offer on it in its current form. The editor provides editorial feedback and invites the author to resubmit the novel once revisions are complete. At that point, the editor may be able to offer/buy the book, or they may still pass on it. A rejection after an R&R may be because the author did not revise to the editor’s liking, but it is also commonly for a broader strategy/business reason. (Eg.: too alike titles already on the pub’s list, too quiet, unsure where it fits in the market, editor didn’t love it as much on a second read, etc.)
One kid would fall sick, pass it to the other kid, then it would work through me and my husband. And finally, when everyone was healthy for about 1-2 days, someone would catch a new bug and the cycle continued. It was brutal, and as far as I can tell, every family with young children experienced constant illness this past fall.
The irony here is that I jinxed our household when I drafted this post. That very evening, Norovirus struck. I’m the only one who hasn’t gotten sick (yet). I’ve probably jinxed myself typing this. Stay tuned.