Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I Write for Astraea Press: Patricia Kiyono

They say that if something is meant to be, it will happen. When I started writing a story about a wandering former samurai, I had dreams of one day having the book published and enjoyed by someone other than me. I had no clue what went into writing a book, but I'd always received good grades in school and felt qualified to do what it took.

I joined two writing groups and received lots of wonderful advice about shopping for editors, agents, and publishers. One group offered a wonderful, unique opportunity to have a written query read by an agent, and I took advantage of it.  The agent responded to my query by telling me that two things would prevent her from representing my book: the length of my novel (around fifty thousand words) was too short, and the fact that there were no explicit love scenes made it difficult for her to market. I was all right with adding more words, but struggled with adding spice to the manuscript. I just wasn't comfortable trying to write those scenes, and put it off as long as I could.

My writing group was very supportive. They told me not to worry. They said I would eventually find a home for my story. It was just a matter of finding the right home. If I believed in the book, it would be published, eventually. I really owe a lot to my writing group. They are a mixed lot of authors writing in various genres, at different stages of their writing careers. So I continued to write, refining my novel and starting storylines for other books. And the wait paid off. In early 2011, of our group members had her novel published at a brand new company called Astraea Press, and urged me to submit a story to them since they had put out a call for a charity program for Japan's disaster relief. I quickly wrote a short prequel to my samurai story and submitted it.

I was so pleased when The Legacy was accepted at Astraea Press. It gave me the impetus to finally complete my samurai story and submit that as well. And now that first book has a home. Astraea Press didn't tell me my book was too short. Thanks to their trademark clean fiction, I didn't have to add spice. And thanks to social media, I'm connecting with another wonderful group of writers. 

Another great reason I'm so thankful for Astraea Press: there's no middle man. I can deal directly with the owner of the company, or the editor working on my book, or the cover artist. Whenever I have a question, I usually get an answer within twenty-four hours. After hearing about various woes from authors signed with other companies I am so glad I held my ground and waited for a company that wanted what I had, rather than tailor my writing to what someone else wanted. 

Astraea Press truly is the best.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Patty. I love your books and am so glad you found AP.

    1. Me, too, Sherry! Especially since there are so many supportive people like you!

  2. Wonderful story. Glad you didn't give up.
    I agree with your tribute to A.P.
    And I really like the fact that A.P. looks for reasons to accept a good ms ... rather than looking for reasons to turn it down.
    At the end of 2010, I heard back from the head of another small publishing outfit who told me, literally, "I don't like first person (even though I've written it myself) and, truthfully, I'm looking for reasons to turn down manuscripts."
    I thanked her for her honesty, but I didn't think much of her business model.

    1. I wouldn't think much of that either, Jeff! So thankful for the positive attitude here at AP.