Jane Austen’s Career


Pat here:

The heroine of the Regency historical mystery series I’m currently scribbling is a novelist. She’s not poor, but she has expenses her income can’t meet. So I was interested in how much she might earn as a beginning writer. Of course, Jane Austen instantly came to mind.

It’s a fascinating bunny hole to dive down. Did you know writers had to pay for publication then? It didn’t necessarily have to be upfront, but one way or another, they paid for the printing. If one was well known and had an influential patron who could recommend your books so a group of people would pay in advance, one might serialize and pay as you go. Neither my heroine nor Austen were in that position.

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AAW—Where Have All the Dark Historical Romances Gone?

AAWGraphicPat here with another question from our Wench mailbox

 Francie Stark wins a free copy of one of my books by asking:

“Dear Word Wenches, can you tell me the difference between 90's historical romance novels and 21st century historical romance novels. I've been snooping around and reading comments from books clubs and this is a hot topic. I've been out of the business for 20 years–not that I ever had much more than my toe in it. Honestly, I lost heart for writing and even reading historical romance so I'm reallJudith-McNaughty in the dark. I did pick-up a book by one of the reigning queens of the genre and I tried to read it, but it was so pink and fluffy. No meat. I couldn't stay with it. I've been sitting in the middle of the second draft of a novel for ten years and it will not leave me alone. It's like a dragon egg I pick-up and stare at, knowing that I must build a pyre and take it into the fire before it will hatch–or not. Maybe it doesn't need to be hatched. Based on what I've read it's very 90's. But I write the way I write and my stories aren't pink of fluffy. What to do, what to so… Any comments would be appreciated.”


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