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In honor of three incredible books being released today we’re celebrating with a giveaway! Take a photo of yourself with the book OR order confirmation of UNDEAD GIRL GANG, THE GIRL AND THE GROVE, or GHOULISH and send it to us via social media for a chance to win a copy of one of these amazing titles. And don’t worry, we’ll send you one of the books you don’t already have. Be sure to tag us in your post for entry! @teamredsofa on Twitter and Instagram, Red Sofa Literary on Facebook, or post to our website at redsofaliterary.com. The winners will be announced Friday May 18th.

 

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By Dawn Frederick

It seems our agency continues to grow, and some amazingly smart and on-spot people have come into our fold over the years. Hence I’m thrilled to announce that Kelly Van Sant will be joining Red Sofa Literary as of May 1st.

We crossed paths many years ago, as she had recently moved to MN. Little did I know last summer that we’d meet again after carpooling to Chicago for the Writer’s Workshop. We shared a love of books, a deep list of books and music, and apparently love comedic podcasts that are NSFW. Laura will confirm we pretty much laughed (until it hurt) after listening to it after that trip.

One of the many things I like about Kelly is that she has a good eye for good books, she’s smart and witty, and she brings a wide breadth of knowledge about publishing. She is the kind of person I’d want in my corner if I was a writer. It’s an honor to have her on #teamredsofa.

Check out her categories here, and of course, you’ll get to see her in June at the next Writer’s Workshop. We already will be roadtripping again, and yes I will have some special podcasts for the drive…)


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In honor of three incredible books being released today we’re celebrating with a giveaway! Take a photo of yourself with the book OR order confirmation of UNDEAD GIRL GANG, THE GIRL AND THE GROVE, or GHOULISH and send it to us via social media for a chance to win a copy of one of these amazing titles. And don’t worry, we’ll send you one of the books you don’t already have. Be sure to tag us in your post for entry! @teamredsofa on Twitter and Instagram, Red Sofa Literary on Facebook, or post to our website at redsofaliterary.com. The winners will be announced Friday May 18th.

 

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By Dawn Frederick

Several years ago, I had the honor of meeting Stacy Tornio. This was early in her publication experience as a writer.  I found her absolutely delightful.  She soon found a great agent to work with, a friend of mine no less, Uwe Stender. He is such a great agent for Stacy, and if you see all the books Stacy has out the world, you’ll see why.

As 2017 came to a close, the opportunity to reconnect happened again. This time, Stacy was looking to expand her reach in the publishing community, in that she was wanting to take on the additional role of literary agent.  I knew immediately she’d be a great addition to our agency.

Stacy is smart, understands the publishing world, and she brings lots of heart to the table. This is exactly the type of person that I know will advocate strongly for authors, while seeing their books to publication. Plus, she’s a fellow geek like the rest of us at Red Sofa Literary, and she has a cat (we are a cat-centric agency).

So I’m thrilled to finally have the chance to share this news with the world.  Please take a moment check out her categories, her books, and of course give her a high five.

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By Dawn Frederick

Several years ago, I had the honor of meeting Stacy Tornio. This was early in her publication experience as a writer.  I found her absolutely delightful.  She soon found a great agent to work with, a friend of mine no less, Uwe Stender. He is such a great agent for Stacy, and if you see all the books Stacy has out the world, you’ll see why.

As 2017 came to a close, the opportunity to reconnect happened again. This time, Stacy was looking to expand her reach in the publishing community, in that she was wanting to take on the additional role of literary agent.  I knew immediately she’d be a great addition to our agency.

Stacy is smart, understands the publishing world, and she brings lots of heart to the table. This is exactly the type of person that I know will advocate strongly for authors, while seeing their books to publication. Plus, she’s a fellow geek like the rest of us at Red Sofa Literary, and she has a cat (we are a cat-centric agency).

So I’m thrilled to finally have the chance to share this news with the world.  Please take a moment check out her categories, her books, and of course give her a high five.

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One of our authors recently found herself in quite the predicament, where a stranger who learned of her through her books and writing, decided to cross some boundaries in the worst ways. At our agency, we care very much about our authors, and would never want them, or any other writer in the book world, experiencing what our author, Jenna Woginrich has experienced  This post is also posted on her website.

By Jenna Woginrich

This morning I woke up to a snow-covered fairy tale of a farm. I hugged my dogs close before we got out of bed. I set coffee on the stove, got dressed, and started morning chores. I lit the fires in both the wood stove and my ribcage to get the work done that needs doing. Besides the animals’ breakfasts – there are freelance clients to work on, errands in town, articles to pitch, book proposals to sell – the life I made here is half creative and half body. A perfect blend that gets me outside, moves my bones, gets sunshine on my face, and gives me a way to express myself and feel useful and needed by others – even if it is just a tail-wagging goat kid that screams a lot. I am content here, and love this life. And that is what I need to realize when this place is attacked online.

Since my blog began it has had critics. That is nothing new and part of being a public figure. But recently a site has gone too far – moving into the realm of cyberstalking and harassment under New York State Law. This is taken seriously up here, since in the past this state has had slanderous websites and blogs end up in death, life sentences, restraining orders, and suicides.

In recent months an obsessed person has followed my every move online. I can not use any social media without her watching or commenting under several usernames and accounts. In some cases even creating accounts for the sole purpose of disrupting me. She doesn’t only discuss the farm and my writing – she discusses my dating life, my appearance, my sexuality, my friends, family, and finances. She knows the brand of jeans I wear and shampoo I use. She stalks me in places that have nothing to do with my farm, like those in my religious or falconry community. Responding to my posts with links to her website or accusations. This person has not kept her activity online either, and has reported me to my local Police and the DEC, sending officers to my front door. (They admit they called the police on me).

People like this assume that making anonymous accounts to accuse public people are protected by their anonymity. That is not the case. Yesterday this page and the person were reported to both the NY State Police and the FBI. I will continue to make these reports as long as these pages exist online. Enough reports warrant a federal investigation into cyberstalking, and at the very least – a restraining order. By the way, these are not anonymous restraining orders. It will be public information that you spend your time online dangerously obsessing over a woman with intent to hurt her. This type of recourse has legal precedent, and I have contacted a lawyer who specializes in such cases in NY State. I am taking this slander anymore.

I ask that you readers join me in reporting this site, and ones like it, to Blogger and Twitter as harassment. If these people want to complain or chatter about me they can do so spaces created for that kind of activity – like GOMI. But creating your own website, comments, emails, accusations, multi-platform stalking, and lifestyle obsession is not what any normal person does against a stranger. This has gone from snark into abuse and harassment and will not be tolerated any longer.
 

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One of our authors recently found herself in quite the predicament, where a stranger who learned of her through her books and writing, decided to cross some boundaries in the worst ways. At our agency, we care very much about our authors, and would never want them, or any other writer in the book world, experiencing what our author, Jenna Woginrich has experienced  This post is also posted on her website.

By Jenna Woginrich

This morning I woke up to a snow-covered fairy tale of a farm. I hugged my dogs close before we got out of bed. I set coffee on the stove, got dressed, and started morning chores. I lit the fires in both the wood stove and my ribcage to get the work done that needs doing. Besides the animals’ breakfasts – there are freelance clients to work on, errands in town, articles to pitch, book proposals to sell – the life I made here is half creative and half body. A perfect blend that gets me outside, moves my bones, gets sunshine on my face, and gives me a way to express myself and feel useful and needed by others – even if it is just a tail-wagging goat kid that screams a lot. I am content here, and love this life. And that is what I need to realize when this place is attacked online.

Since my blog began it has had critics. That is nothing new and part of being a public figure. But recently a site has gone too far – moving into the realm of cyberstalking and harassment under New York State Law. This is taken seriously up here, since in the past this state has had slanderous websites and blogs end up in death, life sentences, restraining orders, and suicides.

In recent months an obsessed person has followed my every move online. I can not use any social media without her watching or commenting under several usernames and accounts. In some cases even creating accounts for the sole purpose of disrupting me. She doesn’t only discuss the farm and my writing – she discusses my dating life, my appearance, my sexuality, my friends, family, and finances. She knows the brand of jeans I wear and shampoo I use. She stalks me in places that have nothing to do with my farm, like those in my religious or falconry community. Responding to my posts with links to her website or accusations. This person has not kept her activity online either, and has reported me to my local Police and the DEC, sending officers to my front door. (They admit they called the police on me).

People like this assume that making anonymous accounts to accuse public people are protected by their anonymity. That is not the case. Yesterday this page and the person were reported to both the NY State Police and the FBI. I will continue to make these reports as long as these pages exist online. Enough reports warrant a federal investigation into cyberstalking, and at the very least – a restraining order. By the way, these are not anonymous restraining orders. It will be public information that you spend your time online dangerously obsessing over a woman with intent to hurt her. This type of recourse has legal precedent, and I have contacted a lawyer who specializes in such cases in NY State. I am taking this slander anymore.

I ask that you readers join me in reporting this site, and ones like it, to Blogger and Twitter as harassment. If these people want to complain or chatter about me they can do so spaces created for that kind of activity – like GOMI. But creating your own website, comments, emails, accusations, multi-platform stalking, and lifestyle obsession is not what any normal person does against a stranger. This has gone from snark into abuse and harassment and will not be tolerated any longer.
 

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By Patrick Nathan

Thursday, March 19, 2015 is among the greatest days of my life. It was my first time in Palm Springs. My boyfriend and I, blossoming Francophiles, had met a Parisian couple the night before — two guys who loved California as much as we were sure we’d love France, should we ever be able to go. During a happy hour, they’d offered to drive us to Joshua Tree National Park in the morning, where we would spend our time hiking, picnicking, and, to their surprise, practicing our rudimentary French. In the golden hours, we took several photos, selfies, and panoramas at one of the park’s highest points, and finally made our way back to the car as the sun began to set. The moment we left the park and pulled onto I-10, my phone, reintroduced to cell service, fluoresced with notifications. It was my agent, who for hours had tried to get in touch to let me know that Graywolf Press had made an offer on my novel.

Until then, the Parisians hadn’t even known I was a writer. On the way back to our resort, we bought ribeye steaks, a salad, a baguette, roquefort, champagne, zinfandel, and Sauternes. I could not stop smiling. That the novel I’d started in the fall of 2008 was now, in the spring of 2015, finally taking that decisive step from manuscript to book: what was perfectly logical seemed defiantly miraculous. C’est impossible à croire, I said, well after midnight and close to tears. The more I drank, the more my French improved.

In those days, I’d published one full length short story, a handful of literary essays, and some book reviews. I felt alone and frustrated. I felt as though no one wanted to take a chance on my fiction or my more ambitious essays, and I wondered, nearly every day, if the work I was doing would become the writing I wanted it to be, or if instead I was pursuing a life that would lead me absolutely nowhere.

Today, very little has changed.

I should be clear: in no way am I disappointed. It’s still unreal to me that one of my two dream publishers would offer to buy my first novel (the other sent a beautiful and encouraging rejection). I still stare in disbelief at my advanced copy with the Graywolf colophon on its spine and my name on the cover. It’s absolutely startling — even a bit terrifying — to be believed in so strongly, but at no point have I ever wished to be anywhere else.

The passing of time is something I don’t think human beings will ever understand. This seems to me why artists so often preoccupy themselves with the human experience of time, which we call memory. With memory, we can leap years backward in an instant and think, “It wasn’t really so far away at all.” Yet one can’t leap forward in the same way; there is no way to gaze years into the future and believe that moment to be in any way close. The past is right here with us, lived in the present, but the future is never within reach. One of the many unhappinesses borne out of this is an irreconcilability of images. One is never the person one wishes to be. One is never the writer one hopes to become.

Yes, I’m incredibly proud to be a Graywolf author, but one thing I did not anticipate was how this would affect my relationship with rejection. Suddenly, editors passing on my short work — particularly with “Dear Writer” e-mails — felt psychological disruptive. Despite the novel, I didn’t feel like a novelist at all. What was a “big break” if I still couldn’t break through a slush pile? Yet I could no longer share my feelings with my peers. In a strange, unintentional invalidation of my frustration, they insisted that I didn’t have to worry, that I had a novel coming out with Graywolf, that nothing else mattered. With each new rejection, I felt like I’d lost the right to feel rejected.

At the same time, it felt as though rejection had suddenly revealed itself as insurmountable. This part, it turns out, is true. But despite all the warnings against this precise phenomenon that authors have been publishing for decades, I’d misunderstood it.

In Ted Solotaroff’s 1985 essay, “Writing in the Cold,” he reminds us of “the decisive factor” in career longevity, no matter how talented a writer may be: “For the gifted writer, durability seems to be directly connected to how one deals with uncertainty, rejection, and disappointment, from within as well as from without, and how effectively one incorporates them into the creative process itself, particularly in the prolonged first stage of a career.” Like reading itself — a coming together of a text and a reader at a specific point in her life — rejection, too, is a dyadic relationship entirely dependent upon time and circumstance. Confusing the rejection of one’s work with the rejection of oneself, Solotaroff says, can lead to “the dead-end of narcissistic despair known as writer’s block in which vanity and guilt have so persecuted craft and imagination and so deprived them of their allies — heart, curiosity, will — that they have gone into exile and into the sanctuary of silence.” In actuality, the ongoing impersonal rejection of one’s work after personal success should reveal that it really is about the work and not the writer at all: Congrats on the novel but this story isn’t for us, thx.

I’m proud of my novel. Proud of who’s publishing it, of course, but also proud of the story I created and the way I put it together. I’m proud too of my second novel, which no one has yet seen. I’m proud of the stories and essays I keep sending out, which only editors and their interns — as well as one or two of my trusted first readers — have seen. But none of it is perfect; none of it is beyond rejection. There’s always somewhere new to go, someplace higher to reach, and this, above all else, is what gives me my greatest joy as a writer, particularly as a novelist. Why is this the hardest thing to remember? Why is it so easy to believe in the immediate future of publication when, trapped as we are in the present, the only thing we can really inhabit and control and relish is the writing itself? Rejection — the writer’s greatest ally — is the suspension of that illusion. It kills the fantasy of having arrived in the future when the future, by definition, never arrives. It reminds us that our best and most rewarding work forever remains unpublished, unwritten, and unmarred by our own limitations.

_________________________________________

Patrick Nathan’s first novel, Some Hell, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in early 2018. His short fiction has appeared in Boulevard Magazine, Words in Light, dislocate, Revolver, and elsewhere. His essays, interviews, and book reviews have been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Rumpus, 3:AM Magazine, Music & Literature, Full Stop, and Bookslut. He lives in Minneapolis.


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By Lyndsay Ely

January 22, 2013.

That was the day I sent my first query to an agent. I had to go look that up because, whenever someone asks me how long I’ve been working on a novel or trying to get published, my mind goes blank. (Probably out of some kind of self-preservation, to keep me from remembering the many, MANY rejections and failures that took place after.)

The query letter was, unsurprisingly, terrible, sent along with a terrible synopsis, and a pretty cliché first chapter to boot. This was the first novel I’d ever finished, and it went on to receive exactly one request out of fifty or sixty more queries before I finally shelved it.

Yep, one.

In retrospect, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about querying a novel. I didn’t know enough about high concept storytelling or current market trends or how to write a strong, succinct pitch. About the only thing I did know was to keep writing, and while I was sending around my ill-fated first novel, I went on to start what would eventually become GUNSLINGER GIRL, my debut.

At the beginning of 2015, manuscript complete, I was ready to try my hand at querying again. This time, I felt more confident. I had done a lot more research about writing query letters, reading every successful one I could find posted online. But I’d also come to learn more about the alternative ways of getting my manuscript in front of an agent, specifically online contests and Twitter pitch parties. (Which, I can’t stress enough, are awesome. Sometimes when I ask writing friends “Hey, are you entering/participating in [contest]/[twitter pitch party]?” and they say no, and I’m at a loss. Querying sometimes feels like a game of numbers, and it’s my opinion that every chance at getting your manuscript noticed is worth a try. A minimal investment of time could have a very big professional pay-off.)

Anyways, my manuscript was lucky enough to be chosen for a couple of online mentoring contests that year, including Pitch Wars. During both contests, I worked with mentors to revise and polish my manuscript. And between these, I was also participating in Twitter pitch contests like #pitmad and #sffpit. Both avenues yielded modest but consistent interest, as did my general querying.

And yet…no offer.

But anyone in publishing can tell you that almost nothing happens quickly, and sometimes you just have to be patient.

It wasn’t until the very end of 2015 that I received an email from Laura Zats, who, nearly six months earlier, had favorited one of my tweets during #sffpit.

She wanted to talk.

I tried not to get my hopes up—not all agents who want to talk make an offer—but, lo and behold, Laura did. And even better, she really seemed to get the book. (Note: this is something you want in an agent.)

So, only a few weeks from shelving GUNSLINGER GIRL, I had an offer, and then an agent. And just so no one thinks the work done before this was for naught, when I signed with Laura I had a newly polished manuscript to hand her, thanks to Pitch Wars. Yay!

Hard work done, right?

You’d think so, but nope.

My mom once said to me that she thought all you did was write a book and once it sold to a publisher, that was it. And to be honest, there was probably a point where I thought that too. One of the biggest revelations about writing a novel has been how many times it can be revised before it’s done. I’ve genuinely forgotten how many rewrites, editing passes, and last minute tweaks I did on GUNSLINGER GIRL, both before and after sale. (Did I recently try to change one word, only to find out that the final pages were already with the printer and it was too late? Yes, yes I did.)

In the end, nearly two years passed between beginning to query GUNSLINGER GIRL and announcing its sale. By the time this is posted, it will be only a few weeks from publication, and almost exactly five years from when I first began querying. To some writers, five years doesn’t sound like very long. To others, it probably sounds like an eternity. But, as is often said, no two paths to publication are the same.

For me, five years is how it played out. And chances are that, at this exact moment, I’m a frenzied mess of nerves desperately trying to stay distracted from imminent publication by churning out word salad in order to hit my NaNoWriMo goals. Because, even if my first book is about to come out, the next one still needs to get written.

_________________________________

Lyndsay Ely (pronounced “eel-y”, as in those eels are looking very eel-y today) is a writer who currently calls Boston home. She is a geek, a foodie, a feminist, and has never met an antique shop she didn’t like. Her favorite color is crimson, and her favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.

Gunslinger Girl (James Patterson Books) is her debut novel.


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