Good morning. Today’s bright and sunny, cold enough that we still need to heat the house, but overall it’s a great day. On this day’s A to Z Blog Challenge, I want to talk about optimism, my “O” word of the day. The word was derived from the Latin optimum, meaning “best.” Being optimistic generally means expecting the best possible outcome in any given situation. Lately, the last thing I’ve been is optimistic, in fact, I’ve done a 180 by looking at the worst possible case scenarios since the start of 2014.I’ve started to doubt myself, and self-doubt is the kiss of death to any form of creativity.
2013 was one of the best years of my life — a milestone to be sure. I sold and had released five books of my own and one I co-wrote with a wonderful author from Newfoundland. I was on an all time high, so proud of myself, and my accomplishments. I was a published author–me–Wow!
I’d spent hours and hours at the computer writing, editing, learning more about my craft, trying to correct the writing flaws pointed out by critical editors. I learned how to use social media to promote myself. By the end of the year, Misty and I had sold a novella to another publisher, and I’d sold another manuscript of my own to what I thought was a good publisher. I’d finished NaNo month with a request for the edited manuscript and was working on Book 3 of my Holiday magic collection. Things were going well. My submission to Harlequin had been turned down, but even Stephen King got rejections. So what if I hadn’t made it to the “Big 6”, I was a published author. I was anticipating another great year. Silly me. I’ve always heard it said that when you think something’s too good to be true, it usually is.
Problems started right after New Year’s when I got sick. I’m asthmatic and somehow picked up a bad bug that clung to me for almost two months. During that time, I had little energy, but did what I could. With Misty, I made the edits on Grand Slam,our novella being released under the name Misty Matthews. It was scheduled to be released at the end of January. I finished the edits on Holiday Magic Book 3 and sold it and another manuscript to one of my publishers. Grand Slam came out and seemed to be doing well, and I sold Just For The Weekend to Crimson. Everything looked great, right? Wrong.
Appearances can be deceiving. If there is one thing I have always been and will seek to be in the near future is naive. I look for the best in people. You want my help, ask. It’s amazing how many times I’ve been stabbed in the back because I did that–have I learned my lesson–maybe–probably not.
Other things conspired to burst my bubble. First, as many authors working with small pubs and virtually no publicity can attest, none of the books seemed to be selling well. Then, to make matters worse, what little money owed me, wasn’t being paid– and still hasn’t been. There were countless excuses given–and I believed them all–hook, line and sinker.
Down and depressed, I got a rejection for a manuscript I really liked “because a book with a similar theme hadn’t done well and though my book was great, they were going to pass on it.” How was that for a kick in the teeth?
The icing on the cake came when Entranced just shut its doors, leaving myself, other authors, editors, cover artists, publicists, high and dry. After spending weeks on edits, suddenly the book wasn’t going to be published. I was devastated, but like all awful things that happen, some good came from that blow. I met an incredible group of people who’ve taught me what perseverance and dedication to the craft really are. They’d all lost far more than i had, but they were picking themselves up by their bootstraps and getting back on the horse. Once they’d received their rights, they chose to resubmit their books or self-publish them. They’ve helped me turn another 180.
I resubmitted the book to another publisher and hope to hear from them soon. Crimson, who has always paid me on time, sent the royalty check out when it was expected and the money’s sitting in my little U.S Funds account. They released Just For The Weekend on Monday, and thanks to their efforts and the help of my newfound friends, the book is selling better than any of my others have done so far. The editor even got me a spot on Heroes and Heartbreakers.com next month. I’m thrilled about this and optimistic the book will do well.
I got sales report from another publisher and Grand Slam is doing moderately well. Misty and I won’t be getting rich anytime soon, but we’ve sold over 200 copies in two months. It’s a start. I sold a new manuscript to that publisher too, so I’m looking forward to the July release of Echoes of the Past.
I’m currently working on a new manuscript with a publisher in mind and I’m feeling optimistic it will find a home. I have a revise and resubmit for a historical romance I wrote last year, and I think it’ll get picked up too.
And the other thing? Most likely I’ll never see the money I’m owed, but I’m not going to let it get me down. When the time is right, I’ll get my rights back and maybe I’ll self-pub those books. The few people who read them enjoyed them so I have a small following out there and millions of others to find. I’ve learned a lesson. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. You have to fall down a lot of times before you can learn to walk. I’m just going to pick myself up, dust off my ass, and get back in the game. Optimism is my word this spring and I’m going to stick to it.
Don’t forget to check out the other A to Z Blog Challenge entries for today.