Daring to Eat a Peach + Podcasts, Acquisitions, & Industry Updates

The life cycle of books and trees; workshops; cultural appropriation; what makes a good fight scene; acquisitions insight; contentious industry buyouts and policies; literary obits; a lemony tea.

Due to lots of shadiness on Substack’s part in regard to its editorial policy and how and who it pays to write for its platform, I’m exploring other options for the future of Books, Marketing, & More. I’m also interested in how you use this newsletter to help me determine the path forward—always welcome your thoughts via this quick survey!

Greetings readers & writers,

For those of you who have been following along, you know that two years ago we planted a peach tree in our yard. I can see it from my office window. This had been a long time dream of mine, to have a fruit tree of my very own.

That first year it struggled; stress of the transplantation, probably not quite enough water. But it still managed, against the odds, to produce two big, beautiful delicious peaches.

Last spring, I watched in anticipation as the tree flowered and lots of tiny fruits emerged. But then the leaves came in discolored and distorted; a fungus that can only be treated in the tree’s dormant stage. The recommendation was to take extra care; thin the fruit, water and fertilize plentifully. I did so, thinking I might save some of the harvest. But the tree knew better. I came out a day or two later to find it had shed all its hopeful little fruits. It would eventually push out the damaged leaves for healthy ones, focusing all its energy on new growth. But it didn’t produce a single peach.

Around the same time we planted the peach tree to begin with, I acquired an agent for my fantasy novel, another dream of mine. The book’s about ghosts and grief and complicated moral choices and self-discovery. Also steampunk machines and explosions and haunted birds… you know, the usual.

That first year, freshly agented, we tried subbing to young adult editors. After six months on sub and no takers (though kind feedback), we decided to pivot to the adult market after some revisions.

Then the pandemic hit. Needless to say, my creative life wasn’t very fruitful last year either.

But earlier this year, I finished my revisions and sent them to my agent. I also went to the garden store and bought fungicide to spray down the sleeping peach tree, to kill any lingering fungus buried in its bark. To give it a fighting chance.

This month my agent has sent my revised manuscript out to adult SFF editors. And my peach tree, just this past week, unfurled its first baby-pink blossoms.

I’m trusting that, as the earth warms with spring, that there is promise in those blooms for both of us, writer and tree. The the leaves will come in green and strong. That the next big thing could be around the corner, just out of sight. Maybe this will be the year I’ll get to taste another small victory and bite into a big, fat, juicy peach.

I hope the same for you.

(If you’re coming out of a dormant period too, or entering one, treat yourself with care. Lots of water and sunshine. There’s growth going on, even if the fruits are a ways off.)

What are you hoping blooms for you this spring? What seeds have you planted? (creative, floral, or vegetal, I’m interested in them all!)

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“If you don't see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”― Beverly Cleary

Industry News


David’s Tea had a deal on “sleepy” blends recently, so I took a chance on some new herbals. I usually avoid lemon teas because the “lemon” is typically just citric acid. However, this Organic Lemon Lullaby is a winner. The lemon flavor comes from lemon oil and peel, which, combined with green rooibos, apple, lemongrass, vervain, and valerian, smells like lemon shortbread and has warm and calming citrus notes.

Take care of yourselves. Get vaccinated when you can! {Wall Street Journal state-by-state guide} Take daily anti-racist action.

Let me know about upcoming events, marketing campaigns, and projects so I can help signal boost!

Happy writing!

Writer & Marketing Coach
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Allison Pottern Hoch has happily made books her life’s work. She spent four years marketing and publicizing academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a children’s bookseller and event coordinator. She is now living her dream: putting her B.A. in Creative Writing to good use as a novelist and as a writing/marketing coach for authors. She enjoys science fiction, cupcakes, and a hot cup of tea. For workshops & consults: pottern.com

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