The fantasy world we Earthling writers call Publishing is a bleak, competitive and discouraging place. We diligently write, blog, twitter and pray for a bestseller, even as Publishing’s traditional boundaries shift around us and tree-books morph into wild electronic creatures.

If you choose to venture into this dark realm, talent alone will not be enough. Publishing’s fearful streets are stacked with remaindered books about to be shredded, and littered with rejected queries and manuscripts. So you must also pack superhuman courage, discipline and determination for your quest. 

Unless you fancy living on breadcrumbs, bring an alternate source of income. Be sure to wear your thickest skin, preferably made of dragon scales. And if you are offered a special power, choose luck.

Once past the gatekeepers, those no response agents, no unsolicited editors and no time slush-pile readers, you must still be wary. Contracts signed in your precious writer’s blood might prove to be false documents. Your Publisher might simply vanish, casting a spell of invisibility over your rights and royalties. Or your Publisher might be conquered by a bigger Publisher, whose leader has no interest in your work.

Make no mistake: even after you’ve been admitted to the High Court of Publishing, you and your beloved book babies are always in danger.

But don’t despair. Sometimes good things happen in Publishing. Here’s a heartening tale to revive your spirits.

 I’ve just finished reading Captured and The Darkening, Books 1 & 2 of Maggie L. Wood’s The Divided Realms series, which I was delighted to win in a Twitter contest.

I met Maggie online when we both had first books published around the same time with a small literary/feminist publisher, Sumach Press. I read Maggie’s The Princess Pawn, set in the mythical world of Mistolear, and then The Princess Mage, and really enjoyed both. I was looking forward to the third book.

But then Sumach Press was sold. When it became an imprint of an academic house, Maggie’s popular princess series was slain, leaving her first two titles orphaned and her third unborn.

Not to be thwarted, the intrepid Maggie set out to battle the powerful forces of Publishing. And the happy ending is that she stayed on quest until she eventually found a new home for her series.

Lobster Press has just re-released the first two books. The third is forthcoming in Spring 2012 and three more are planned. The originals were good, but these revised editions with cool new titles and gorgeous new covers are even better, and they’re getting great reviews. So if you’re looking for intriguing YA fantasy with a feisty female protagonist, plus an engaging blend of magic, romance and humour, go read these books! 

And remember that Publishing is a complex world. Yes, it can be heartbreaking. So beware. But never give up. When you’re least expecting it, wishes are granted and magic happens.