Flourish not Perish: Woman Come out of the Edgewood-Woodwork and Tell About Publishing

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Brianna Fiene


Edgewood has seen a plethora of Women’s Month events on campus this March. Sayeeda Mamoon, French Professor, eloquently introduced many of the events. Monday, March 21 a panel of women writers gave an hour of their time to sit and talk with students. The authors had interesting advice and shared some the tribulations of publishing work.

Julie Dunbar, Music Professor has recently published a textbook called “Women, Music, Culture: An Introduction”. Her inspiration came from the lack of recognition of women musicians in formal music textbooks. She was left filling in the gaps for years until she decided to write her own textbook.

When asked to share some of the “bumps in the road” to publishing, Dunbar replied, “Where do I begin?” The large textbooks press McGraw-Hill Companies, considering her subject to be a “niche-market” rejected her.  Routledge, a smaller press, soon picked her up. “I should have had an attorney to read the contract.” Dunbar said. Once her idea was approved the press pushed her to finish her book in a short amount of time. She was able to do the indexing and the graphic design with some help and perseverance in time to meet her deadline. She advised future writers to save all correspondence between writer and editor to reference in times of confusion. Despite multiple setbacks she was able to produce an articulate and inclusive textbook on women in music.

Jennifer Braun, Administrative Assistant at Edgewood, worked as missionary in India. She taught women how to speak English there and over time became a friend and confidant to the women she helped. Her first novel was born out of this missionary experience. Her second book she published independently through Amazon and had more luck in making a profit. She published with a small independent press but regrets being so hasty in her decision. This book she wrote was a mystery novel to raise money for another missionary project in India. Braun had some very upfront and solid advice for publishing hopefuls. “Having a good agent is like having a good lawyer,” Braun said.

Braun cited patience as being a key to success. She said finding a good agent takes time and an author should find someone who will really work for them. Many agents receive over 6,000 submissions a month. “Their corridors are lined with your hard work,” Braun said. Braun has found her niche; she now writes personal memoirs for people. She finished by saying, “If you’re young and feel passionate enough to write a book, do it. Just write.”

Magda Coll, Spanish Professor, writes poems. She is unique in her heritage, being from Catalonia that is a kingdom of Spain, with its own language and culture. Her poems are written in both Catalan and Spanish. She finds inspiration in love, heartbreak and being away from her homeland. A person wanting to promote the Catalan culture first approached her and pressured her to publish her poems through an institute at Barcelona.  She was happy to contribute but many of her bi-lingual poems were cut, “For political reasons,” Coll said.

Angela Woodward, Director of the Writing Center, has published two works of fiction through Ravenna Press. “Once one thing fell into place, everything else fell into place pretty quickly,” Woodward said. She has been very happy with her chosen press because they publish her unique genre of writing. Woodward submits her fiction to “a family of literary magazines” that embraces her genre. A representative of Ravenna was interested in her work and Woodward agreed to write a novel around the excerpt that caught their attention. Her first novel, The Human Mind,  was published in 2007 and not highly promoted. However, with her most recent novel, End of Fire Cult, she took it upon herself her do the promoting. “Having your book published is just one step of the process, but getting people to read it is a whole other thing. I’m enjoying the process,” Woodward said.

In 2010 End of Fire Cult received an award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers. Woodward recalls being sent the book cover from her editor and loving the vibrant colors but wondering about the changed title. “The word the had been cut. Apparently I didn’t know the title of my own book,” Woodward said.

The comical accounts of writing and publishing were very inspirational and the panel gave their audience the sense that it was very possible for future authors to do the same. Their anecdotes were much appreciated and they received a warm applause at the end of the informative session.



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