Ask The Editor

December 9, 2008

Launching a new novel… with a funeral?

Filed under: Advice for fiction writers,Commentary,The Publishing Biz — editorialconsultant @ 6:40 pm

After getting rejection letters from 16 publishers, Mary Patrick Kavanaugh decided to bury her dreams of major publishing house success — but that’s about all she’s burying.

Despite dumping her manuscript in the open casket, and inviting others to grieve with her, Kavanaugh is actually embarking on her publishing journey, not ending it all. Kavanaugh self-published her new novel, FAMILY PLOTS, through iUniverse.

With her attention-getting book launch, mentioned everywhere from The New Yorker to Andrew Sullivan, I predict that Kavanaugh will do well on her own.

It’s not inconceivable that, if she does, one or more of those major publishers will come calling.

Which holds a lesson for other authors whose works don’t snag a publisher the first time around. If you have a great manuscript, a good marketing hook, a knack for promotion, and are willing to put the time, money and effort into getting your work attention, rejection isn’t necessarily the end of the line. Just ask M.J. Rose.  Or Richard Paul Evans.


  1. I agree that she will do well. I attended the funeral with my writing class. The funeral was a hoot. Ms Patrick can really throw a funeral. She said somewhere in her press that she became an expert when her husband and several other members of her family died. She has the funeral posted on the web now. I watched it and enjoyed it because I was there. The video on the web should be edited. She should highlight some of the funnier moments and break them out into small clips. The whole page is a study in how far someone will go to make a point. So maybe she isn’t the next Dan Brown the book looks like a great read. Anyone who can throw a party like that is a creative genius. I purchased the book but did not want to wait in the very long lines for her autograph. There are three reviews on Two of them are relatives. Sort of fitting since according to the one by her niece the book is all about her family.

    Comment by Jennifer Smith — December 15, 2008 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  2. One thing I would have recommended she do differently: get her own ISBN and publish under her own imprint. Although initially cheap and convenient, iUniverse isn’t the best option for a variety of reasons (will write a blog post about this someday soon).

    Still, she’s taking her success into her own hands and, if she continues to promote in clever ways, she’ll get attention — and sales.

    – Anita Bartholomew

    Comment by editorialconsultant — December 15, 2008 @ 11:29 am | Reply

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