Archives for category: Elle Emerson the Author

In October, 2013 I started a series of conversations with my acquaintance, the author Elle Emerson. I don’t have the link handy, but if you scroll back on WordPress to October 19, 2013, you’ll find our first conversation, which I entitled “Tales of Woe.”

Twenty years ago, Ms. Emerson began publishing stories in professional magazines and then books with two of the Big Five Publishers. She got good reviews, award nominations, and even a New York Times Notable Book designation.

But she didn’t get enough of a readership in a short enough timeframe and the Big Publishers crushed her career.

She knows a lot and has experienced a lot and I wanted to interview her and set out our conversations here.

I’ve been after her for months to tell me more. I regret to tell you she just called me and has declined to proceed further.

When I asked her why, she said, “Plenty of authors are writing about the problems with traditional publishing. The New York Times recently ran an article by a successful author who explained why she’s self-publishing her new book. Another author has written extensively in her blog about her problems. I don’t want to go there. However legitimate, these types of confessions sound like complaining. And I don’t see how it does anyone any good. If you’re traditionally published, you already know the score. If you’re not, you’ll probably never have to deal with it.” She laughed. “You’ll have to deal with self-publishing.”

Well, okay. Could she summarize her experiences?

“Sure,” she said. “Arrogant, careless, incompetent, lazy, disloyal literary agents.” [Note: Ms. Emerson has hired and fired five big agents.] “And arrogant, careless, incompetent, lazy, disloyal book editors.”

Could she give me some examples?

“Okay,” she said. “An editor who is no longer in publishing at all went off on his vacation to Italy after neglecting to include my Author’s Bio in the first edition of what was my biggest book. The book had to launch without it. This same editor withheld the payment of an advance after I had turned in my book. The editor had approved the book and was required under contract to pay me. But he stalled anyway as sort of a passive=aggressive power move even though my husband had just had surgery and we really needed the money. I had to get down on my hands and knees and beg for money I was legally and promptly owed.”

Wow. I was starting to get the picture. I should add, Ms. Emerson is an attractive, positive, cooperative, brilliant, business-savvy woman, as well as being talented and dedicated.

I was intrigued by her last words in our October interview. She had said: “I’ve been abused for years by the publishing business. The publishing business is just like a toxic parent.” What did she mean by that?

“If you’re a child with a toxic parent, you are totally dominated by that parent,” she said. “The parent controls your time, your activities, and your means of support. S/he demands that you meet every requirement the parent sets out, demands you abide by the parent’s rules, demands your loyalty and your love. In return, the parent doesn’t have to do anything. The parent can be cruel, withholding, manipulative, and careless, and you the child can’t do anything about it.”

“So traditional publishing is like that?” I said. I must tell you, she was making me nervous.

“You got it,” she said.

“What about independent publishing?” I wanted her opinion on this.

“It’s a time-consuming and expensive hobby that may or may not enable you to make a tiny living,” she said with a laugh. “I think there’s a lot of luck involved along with the hard work.”

So there you have it, my friends. “I have to get on with my life,” Ms. Emerson told me and ended the call. So do we all. I thanked her and said goodbye.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 9: Amazon Vs Hatchett Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/16/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-9-amazon-vs-hatchett-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

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This last summer, I was working on a new project and hit a snag. I wasn’t sure where the plot should go next. My characters had started rebelling against the roles I’d assigned them; I wasn’t sure what their motivations had become.

The best thing to do was turn the computer off and get out of my office. I needed a respite from the electronic screen, from the relentless buzz of electricity. I needed some fresh air. I needed to stretch my legs, to drift.

A cuppa java, extra bold and straight up, at Café Talia sounded perfect.

I packed my Ghurka shoulder bag with a moleskin notebook and a couple of sharpened Blackfeet Indian pencils. I no longer take a laptop out to the cafés ever since I witnessed a street thug grab the strap of a laptop bag off the shoulder of a pedestrian and knock her to the pavement. Carry a phone or mobile device? Forget it. Street robberies were on the rise last summer, even in a cool neighborhood like mine.

A light drizzle dampened the streets, so I pulled on my L.L. Bean parka, pulled the hood over my head. I love walking in the rain. I set out on the four-block trek, strolling on the park side of the avenue where squirrels scampered across the unkempt lawns and birds flitted in the tall, old oaks.

Café  Talia is a small, woodsy, locally owned café, not a franchise, and always smells deliciously of freshly ground coffee. Hardly anyone was there. I took my favorite seat in a secluded corner by the big front window and filled my mouth with a sip of delicious coffee.

As I settled down, daydreaming, a woman walked in. Tall and slim in jeans and a leather jacket, a laptop bag slung over her shoulder tangling with her long, wavy hair, the woman looked angry and troubled, and I recognized a well-regarded professional writer friend of mine. We hadn’t spoken or emailed in a long time. She bought a coffee at the counter and looked around for a seat.

I called to her and waved her over. “I haven’t seen you in a blue moon! How the hell are you?”

“Not so good,” my friend said—I’ll call her Elle Emerson (not her real name).

“What’s up?” I said innocently. I loved Elle like a sister and felt bad we hadn’t kept in touch. I admired her books and stories. She’d gotten published before me, and we’d workshopped together briefly, but neither of us had kept up with it. She was fiercely independent as, I suppose, am I.

“You really want to hear this?”

Now I wasn’t at all sure, given her tone and expression, but I said, “Sure.”

She sat and sighed heavily, slinging her bag over the back of the chair. “How can I say this?” she began. “I’ve been abused. For years.”

I felt shock ripple through me. I mean, this was my attractive, confident friend who had accomplished a lot in life. We had much in common; we both had professional degrees, both had worked hard and seen some success in those professions, both had left our professions to pursue the quixotic dream of writing and publishing. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing. I just looked at her. She didn’t meet my eyes.

“My mother was a classic toxic parent as defined by the great Dr. Susan Forward in her amazing book, Toxic Parents,” she said, “but family abuse was just the start.”

“The start?” I mumbled. Now I really wasn’t sure I wanted to hear her story. But let’s face it, I was also curious the way we human beings are endlessly curious about other people’s troubles. “The start of what?”

“I’ve been abused for years by the publishing business,” Elle said. “The publishing business is just like a toxic parent.”

Next week: Elle’s Tales of Woe 2

I can’t tell you Elle Emerson’s website or Facebook page or any other identifying presence she’s got in the public. I made a solemn vow to keep her anonymous as a condition of her telling me her story. So there you have it, my friends.

As for me, I’ve got urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay on the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords; and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy this title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!