Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Post: Liz Fenwick - Publishing Outside the U.S.

Our guest poster this morning is an old blog buddy of mine, Liz Fenwick.  I first met Liz when I was a member of a group called The Novel Racers back in... oh... 2005/2006 or so.  It was a mostly UK group with a few other strewn around the world - including me here in the U.S.  Over the course of being a participant, I learned that Liz is a really neat person with a lot to share.  And her writing is pretty awesome, too.

Anyway, give it up for Liz Fenwick...

My second book, A Cornish Affair, was published in the UK on Thursday. Although I’d dreamt about this happening, it is still unreal to me. If someone had told me when I was a high school freshman living just outside of Boston that I would be writing about Cornwall, England and that I my first book, The Cornish House, would be published in the UK and Commonwealth countries in English by Orion, in German by Goldmann (Random House), in Dutch by Boekerij , in Portuguese by Leya Quinta Essencia and in Norwegian by Cappelen Damm, I never would have believed it. Although I had travelled to Ireland at that age the thought of being read in different countries and different languages was totally beyond my dreams.

A Cornish Affair was first written as August Rock in 2005. It had been through 27 rewrites before I sold The Cornish House. In the editorial process for publication it went through another 4 rewrites (not counting copy editing and proof reading!) During those four rewrites I cut 70,000 words (final word count 94k)…It is a far better book for it but it shows that writing isn’t for the faint hearted….

I am not yet published in the US and in fact I have been told that my books may be too English! I have to find this funny. I moved to London when I was 26 and since that time I have lived in Calgary, Moscow, Houston, Jakarta and Dubai. So I have now seen a lot more of the world than I ever imaged… I have also seen how different the world looks from outside the States and how different the publishing world is….

The US market is the big dream. More books are sold there, but I think it’s the hardest market to break into. I am grateful that we were living in London when I decided to write fiction again. Thanks to Romantic Novelist Association and their New Writers’ Scheme, I was able to network with agents and best selling authors at events holding only 150 people or less. Publishing in London is a very small world and it’s done differently. The whole submission process is different. I won’t say it’s easier…just different.

Aside from writing the best possible book you can (and that is never the first draft!), the most important thing is to have passion and you have to put that passion into what you writing. That same passion has to keep you striving…striving to get better all the time. Each book is harder. Once you are published the works really begins in earnest. Not only are you trying to write great books, but you are promoting your most recent book and thinking up the next one. I am grateful it took me seven years to get an agent and a publisher. Those apprenticeship years allowed me to find my voice, to network, to learn social media…in short to prepare for what happening now. Yet I still feel unprepared and still have so much to learn.

Liz's second book A Cornish Affair recently hit the shelves.  Here's a blurb: 

Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year.

Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family's extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it's clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone.

As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.

And here's a little bit about Liz, from her website:

Writer, expat expert, wife, mother of three, dreamer turned doer....

I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves I now live in Dubai with my husband and two mad cats. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later and, although I live in Dubai, my heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.

My debut novel THE CORNISH HOUSE is published by Orion and is out now. It is also available in in German (Sterne Uber Cornwall), Dutch (Sterren Boven Cornwall) Portuguese (A Casa Dos Sonhos). A Norwegian editions is being prepared.

My second book A CORNISH AFFAIR will be published by Orion in May 2013.

I know her books aren't available stateside yet.  Maybe if the followers here and elsewhere start clamoring to get a bit of the Brit over here, we'll encourage her publisher to throw us a bone.  

Okay, the floor's open.  Any questions for Liz?  She's about 6 hours ahead of this blog, but she'll be stopping by when she can to answers questions and comment.


  1. Very interesting! I was born in Calgary and grew up thirty minutes east of the city, and yet I've never considered a Canadian agent or publishing house. I know there are many, but it just never crossed my mind.

  2. HI might be the answer to start. Sometimes a smaller market can be the answer. Good luck! lx

  3. B. E. Thanks for hosting me on the blog!

  4. What a unique publishing story! And I would love to have lived in so many different places. Super cool.

  5. HI Alexia. It has been cool to have lived so many places and no on one is my over all favourite except Cornwall.



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