My guest this week is Jennifer Macaire, who has written several articles and books and is currently published by Accent Press. Welcome, Jennifer, can you share your publication journey with us?
I don’t know many authors whose path to publication ran smoothly. But one thing defines us – our sheer stubbornness and determination in the face of rejection.
I’d been writing short stories and articles for magazines and doing fairly well, so I decided to try a novel. My first book was a murder mystery. I sent it to an agent who told me to put it in a drawer and write another book. (Sound advice!) So I started a short story for a sci-fi magazine but it turned into a novel, and then into a seven book series about a time traveller going to interview Alexander the Great and getting kidnapped and stranded in 333 BC! Cue a year of research, then another year of polishing the first book – and then sending it off to a publisher, who wrote back that time travel novels were not selling, would I take the time travel element out and send it again?
I must have gotten fifty rejections for my series. Historical fiction was a hard sell – especially a campy, tongue-in-cheek time travel book with a bisexual hero (not a popular hero type) and a threesome (erotica? One publisher sent the manuscript back with “I can’t handle this!” written in red ink). It was set in Ancient Greece (not a popular time period – another publisher wanted to know if I could make it into a Regency romance…) On some days I felt like I was trying to sell spareribs at a vegetarian convention. It seemed no one wanted a cross genre book. I finally placed it with an Australian publisher, and the first book did very well there, becoming an Australian best seller, but the publisher folded before the others were published and I was back at square one.
This is where a normal person tosses the manuscript into the trash and takes up cliff diving or motorcycle racing – something easier – but we writers are not normal, and I kept the manuscript, wrote and published about twenty other books including YA books, and published some erotica written under a pen name. But my Alexander series was still my favourite, and so I sent it out once more to Accent Press, a small publisher in Wales whose book list included authors I absolutely adored – and they accepted it! Now I had to sell it – so off it trotted to the Historical Novel Society where it got some lovely reviews, and to book blogs, so other people could hear about it – and I sent notes to family and friends. (For anyone who thinks the path to publishing ends when the book is published – I have news for you…)
I wrote articles for historical magazines and kept my blog up to date. At the same time I tried (often without succeeding, I might add) to keep the house clean, the family fed, the dog walked, and do my job (I have two part time jobs besides writing) and write other books, because I can’t seem to stop – it’s like breathing. Perhaps it would be nice to be able to sit down and not be thinking about the easiest way to travel to Tunis from Paris in the twelfth century, or how a sabre-tooth tiger kills its prey, or what Alexander the Great was thinking when he headed over the Hindu Kush mountains into the unknown – where some said Atlas stood holding up the edge of the world, and where others said a great waterfall fell into the chasms of Hades…and only my imagination could tell me.
So I have to write it down.
What a fascinating and inspiring publication journey, Jennifer. I really enjoyed The Road to Alexander.
Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She grew up in New York State, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. After graduation in St. Thomas, she moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
You can contact Jennifer online here:
Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/
Twitter : @jennnifermacaire
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/jennifermacaire/
Here’s some of Jennifer’s books
The Time for Alexander series – Accent Press https://accentpressbooks.com/collections/jennifer-macaire
The Road to Alexander on Amazon kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Road-Alexander-Fantastic-time-travel-ancient-ebook/dp/B01N9OCMEO
Remember to check in next Saturday to find out how Gwen Kirkwood got published!