Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Me: Thoughts on Self-Publishing in 2013
By A. Yamina Collins | January 2, 2013 3 Comments
What an exciting year in self-publishing I think 2013 will be! I am more excited than ever about the accelerated acceptance of self-published authors now that I am reading Charlotte Bronte’s “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell” in which she describes the difficult publishing journey of she and her sisters Emily and Anne Bronte.
Yes, it is a fascinating read.
At one point, Charlotte Bronte describes how intense she and her two sisters were at seeing their works published (“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, written under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell was published in 1847; Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, written under the pseudonym of Currer Bell was also published in 1847; and “Agnes Grey” written by Anne Bronte, published under the pseudonym of Acton Bell was also published, you guessed it, in 1847). She speaks of their desire to succeed, and of their need to assume male names because female writers were “looked on with prejudice” back then; she explains how the sisters spent a year and half of concentrated efforts at sending out their manuscripts “upon various publishers.’
At one point, both Emily and Anne’s books managed to be accepted while Charlotte, the true ring-leader of the effort, still suffered rejection, causing the “chill of despair to (begin) to invade her heart’.
What is so fascinating about reading her biographical notice is that it makes me realize how easy we writers have it today. Okay, maybe many of you will disagree with me, and perhaps in some ways it’s now harder to get accepted by a publishing house. Then again, there is no way a woman writer has to be given a male pseudonym just to get published (then again,um, J.K. Rowling, I hear, was asked to use her initials J.K instead of Joanna because her publisher feared that young boys might not buy her Harry Potter books if they knew they were written by a female author.)
Well….even if pseudonyms are still a factor for certain publishing criteria, at least publishing does not feel so implausible with the acceptance of self-publishing.
I, for one, am excited about my new book, “A Black Girl’s Vampire Story” being published by my own publishing company this year.
Alas! I don’t have to worry about some company rejecting me; in my mind, what’s truly exciting is that all I really need to worry about is, well, writing – making the book as good as possible. I hope that’s all that writers will really need to concern themselves with in the future; and not simply trying to please some publisher out there with material they may or not truly care about.
It’s amazing what the Bronte sisters achieved more than 160 years ago, and under much more oppressive circumstances. They are my literary heroes, along with the much lesser well known African-American mid-wife of the Harlem Renaissance, Jessie Redmon Fauset.
How I dream to write as well as them! And I am going to pursue that dream with all my heart. So here’s to 2013 and all the promises it holds ahead.
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