Fiction · Novellas

Why I’m not self-publishing

Elizabeth Rago Typewriter Short Story Writer

I wrote a novella, which is too long to be technically considered a “short story” yet too short to be a classic “novel.” These stories are EXTREMELY hard to pitch because, according to my 20 + rejection letters, “Novellas are hard to market/sell.”

After 4 years of pitching, I’ve been crawling out of my skin to share my first novella, On Tenterhooks. Everything in my impatient flesh says:


“Open up a credit card and charge any amount because you’ve been rejected long enough and should be a published author!”

“You’ve been telling people about this book for YEARS, do you realize that? Come ON, already! Just do it yourself and save yourself the embarrassment.”

“Call it a short story instead, I mean, what the hell is a novella really.”

But my writer’s heart says,

“E, be patient and wait for a publisher…”

“There’s a literary agent out there just for you. Please, just wait…”

So I’m going to wait with enthusiastic expectancy for that agent and publisher. And I’m going to  KEEP WRITING.

On Tenterhooks is the first of 3 novellas in a series that features strong women faced with life-altering moments, and highlights the importance of female friendship and companionship.

On Tenterhooks synopsis: During the summer of 2010, two friends, Lucy, a job-hopping orphan, and Claire, a brilliant entrepreneur and single mother, simultaneously come to a halt when they discover the diary of a young woman hidden in the walls of Lucy’s Chicago apartment. After being fired for the 4th time in one year, Lucy takes solace in the story of the poor Polish girl known only as “CW,” and her friend Mae, a successful French seamstress for Chicago’s high society.

Although they are living in the 1930s, CW’s story also takes hold of Claire, as both their lives struggle with domestic abuse. CW, having dipped her toe into a world teeming with privilege, along with her friend Mae, find themselves wrapped up in a series of events that leads CW to realize that her life can only take flight with the death of her abusive father.

As Claire and Lucy read through the diary, they find all too similar parallels to their own lives and comfort knowing women (no matter what era in which they are living) all wrestle with similar struggles.

Follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram to get the latest on the launch and new stories. Prefer email? Message me at and I will add you to my list of subscribers! – E

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.”
― Lemony Snicket




2 thoughts on “Why I’m not self-publishing

  1. Elizabeth, perhaps an alternative would be to “package” it with several short stories or another novella and give it a title that reflects that they are tales of what every woman encounters, no matter when she lives — something like “Different Faces, Same Woman” or “Two Sides of the Same Coin.” Anyway, Good luck to you, however you go!

    Liked by 1 person

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