Flying high

Jan 25, 2024 | Sapphic | 0 comments

In the torrid summer of ’23 I posted this on my Facebook feed: The deed is done… “Becoming Janice” is now up and away to the first on my submissions list, Ylva Publishing. Feeling spasms of post-partum depression. Birthing Janice has taken more than two years of creative revision preceded by countless years of gestation. So what now? I’ll play the waiting game a while, then crack on with the next. Keyboard here I come!

Soon after, I added: Hold me down before I float away. Just heard back from Ylva Publishing.  As written, the book doesn’t fit their list but let me quote from the reply of Ylva’s founder and CEO, Astrid Ohletz, more or less in full:

“It’s very clear you can write well, and we hope you continue. The development of Janice’s awareness and attraction to the older Hannah and their flirtations are extremely well told. Hannah’s betrayal is an impressive gut punch. It was so very good. The slow crumbling of Janice’s walls to trust Kate next was also perfect.”

Astrid continues, “If your story had contained only these two central elements (plus amusing Colin), the story would be in line with what our readers expect. Kate and Hannah are the story Ylva would focus on. Of course, we’re not expecting you to delete a third of your book for us—we fully expect you’ll find a better fit of publisher which has a different audience and expectations.  We very much hope you’ll succeed.”

Astrid concludes, “If you ever decide to write a lesbian romance, we hope you’ll submit it to us for consideration. You have some fine talent.”

FULL DISCLOSURE  Before signing off, Astrid generously gave me some tips on tightening the plot, which I won’t reveal here because that will spoil your surprise when you read the book. Please note, however, it’s only fair to say that her feedback was a great exception. If Ylva reject a manuscript, obviously they can’t always let an author know what needs to change. So if they have to turn down your book, please don’t expect this detailed level of reply.

Still, what tremendous encouragement for an aspiring author. Thank you Astrid! And yes, maybe one day my third novel—perhaps a sapphic romance—will be lucky enough to grace the shelves of Ylva Publishing. The award-winning independent publishers from Germany call themselves “the international home of quality books about lesbians and queer women.” And I couldn’t agree more. If you like reading about strong female characters shattering sapphic boundaries, start right here.


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