3 Awesome Indie Publishers

The reworked query* for Rooted in the Sky is currently sitting in the inboxes of three more lovely small publishers: Red Hen Press, Dzanc Books, and Atticus Books.

All three promise to reply within six months.


In all likelihood, Claire and I won’t know what these publishers think about her book until New Years’! That feels so incredibly far away. There is still a whole stretch of summer and beaches and apple festivals and haunted houses and turkey dinners between now and then. With this heat wave going on, I can’t even wrap my mind around the idea that there will be a time when snow blankets everything and I will be wearing boots but will still be miserably cold.

It’s a good thing we writers are patient and virtuous.


It will, I keep reminding myself, be well worth the wait should one of these publishers eventually indicate interest in Rooted in the Sky. Most broadly, I picked these three publishers because of their huge commitment to quality literary novels and their taste for unusual characters with unusual quests (definitely fits the bill, as you’ll see in the summary below).

Also, on a side note: In this process I totally judge publishers by their book covers–I believe it is reflective of their commitment to properly producing and promoting an author’s work (say that three times fast!)–and Atticus Books, in my opinion, has some of the best cover designs.

How beautiful are these?

*Seriously, who couldn’t find this improved summary–and the book it promises–tasty?

Having never wanted to become a mother, recently widowed Hannah gives birth to a daughter who, growing up, wants nothing more than her mother’s undivided affection. Committed to purifying herself and pursuing sainthood rather than motherhood, Hannah escapes on foot to the Utah desert and leaves her daughter, Frances, to be raised by a Mormon grandfather and a Catholic nun. Together, this eclectic family lives in a pod-like architectural masterpiece, a home which hangs from the side of a mountain. Each room is an ode to nature: a desert room made of sandstone, a jungle forest kitchen, and a living room with a crystal-clear ocean floor. No matter how far they physically or spiritually distance themselves, however, neither mother nor daughter can escape the voices of the inanimate world as animals, rocks, trees, and buried bones speak to them, whispering secrets about the end of days.

(Image #1, Image #2, #3, #4)

The Indie Path to Publishing

The last time I mentioned Rooted in the Sky and my efforts to get it independently published,* I had submitted it to Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Ashland Creek Press. We’re still waiting to hear back from Ashland, but Claire recently opened  her mailbox to find a form rejection letter from Algonquin.

I’m not worried though. Rejection is inevitable. In the meantime, Rooted in the Sky has been submitted to:

Unbridled Books: estimated 10-week wait

Soft Skull Press: estimated 29-week wait

Graywolf Press: estimated 12 to 24-week wait

Elixir Press (2012 Fiction Award): Unknown wait time

Being a writer requires so.much.patience. The only thing to do is to keep busy by simultaneously submitting it to a slew of other publishers.

*Remember, when I say “independent publishing,” I’m not talking about self-publishing a book, but rather having a book published by an independent publisher. There’s a huge crowd of very respectable, smaller “independent” publishers who do all the publishing and distribution work, free of charge, and provide (small) advances and respectable royalties rates. It’s a mini version of getting published with one of the Big 6, without a literary agent acting as the go-between.