10.08.2004

I woke up this morning so happy, with a deep, sweet sense of gratitude at not having been able to sell my first novel (that I took six years to write). I am so very excited about the possibilities this seeming hurdle has created. This has not always been the case--there was a spell there when I would wake up and feel let's just say deeply uneasy about having invested so much time and money in something that I couldn't get out into the world to save my life.

But today: so grateful. And this is a trend. Because I'm starting to see how perfect it is not to be able to fit into the publishing industry. I'm going to publish that novel, Girly, on my own, using print-on-demand technology, and in doing so start a Cupcake imprint which, once we figure out what we're doing, we can use to publish other women's books that don't fit into the publishing industry's little slots.

I would never have started Cupcake with Lauren and Jen if I had sold Girly right away--I would be too busy panicking about whether or not the second one would be commercial enough, would be my last, whether the publishing house's publicist would ignore me and the book would disappear from Barnes and Noble the second it appeared there. Someday I may well publish with a large house, but I am just so deeply grateful that my own proverbial house is not built on sand like that.

The way it has all played out for me--starting Cupcake, self-publishing, and spending a lot of my time as an activist for women writers--I am on much more solid ground. The obstacles and discouragement have led us to create a new creature that as we grow is going to be a lot leaner, speedier, more effective, smarter, and more substantive than the dinosaurs that largely inhabit the publishing world now. We are the mammals, baby! The reptilian era is winding down.

The other great thing about having to come up with something new when you're just not merging well with the mainstream: I always wondered what would balance out my daily-hermit-writing-time. For me, there needs to be some kind of work that is more social, that is more in-the-world, in the afternoon, to balance out my mornings in outerspace with my fiction. Cupcake to the rescue! We got to create a little community of smart, punk rock, literary, feminist New Yorkers. So in this way, I am not up against Paris Hilton books--we are in a totally separate category over here. Any success at all, even a few thousand copies, is a huge success. We are a niche, a niche I love, the only niche in America that gives me enough leeway to be the kind of person, the kind of woman I want to be.

xo
--Elizabeth
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