Publisher Found–Now Comes the Hardest Part of All

I am happy to report that my biography of Woolson has found a publisher. Here is the announcement that appeared in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Professor at University of New Orleans Anne Boyd Rioux’s PORTRAIT OF A LADY NOVELIST, the first biography of Constance Fenimore Woolson, a critically acclaimed 19th century American writer who served as the model for her friend Henry James’s “Portrait of a Lady” (and whose books far outsold his at the time), to Amy Cherry at Norton, by Barbara Braun at Barbara Braun Associates (world English).


It all seems very surreal at this stage. But I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with the very experienced and talented Amy Cherry and to publish with such a reputable publishing house. My dream of gaining a wider audience for Woolson just may come true.

Now the work of rewriting begins in earnest. The hard part is cutting the manuscript down to a manageable size. Revision means killing your darlings, William Faulkner said. There’s no question it’s going to hurt. Each piece I cut out is a piece of Woolson’s life. I have grown to admire and love this woman, and it will be painful to make the hard decisions about what parts of her life are “unimportant.” But it’s even more important to get her story into the hands of readers.

So as I watch interesting pieces of her life fall to the cutting room floor, I will save them up—for posting here or publishing in another format. Maybe someday people will want to know more about her. I, for one, can never get enough!


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    1. It wasn’t easy. I sent out query letters to agents, revised and revised again based on initial feedback, then sent it out again and again until one wanted to represent me. The rest was her magic. She found an editor who liked it and who convinced her colleagues to support her. I have no idea really what went on behind the scenes. I just worked really hard on my “hook” and my proposal and writing sample. I have never rewritten so much in my life. And now it’s time for more, on the manuscript itself. All writing is rewriting, someone said who wasn’t kidding!

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