Happy Saturday. I hope it is for all of us since it follows a dismal Friday. Good Friday! There was nothing good about it this year–at least not as far as I’m concerned. In terms of my faith, my salvation was purchased in blood, for which I’m grateful, but in terms of my writing career, it suffered a death blow. Madison Connors announced she’s closing Front Porch Romance for health reasons. This comes on the heels of the Entranced Debacle, and that means I now have SEVEN books that need a home. Suddenly, I feel lost and terrified–all my children have moved back home and I don’t know what to do with them! I thank God for Crimson Romance and Sweet/Secret Cravings Publishing which are still vibrant. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know it was in the cards; I’d guessed a couple of months ago when things started to go south that FPR might be in trouble–hell we were warned. We chose to ignore the signs, and that was our stupidity. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck. Or may that word should start with an “F”. Unfortunately, I tend to look at the world through rose-colored lenses. I look for the best in people and situations, but inevitably, I’m disappointed. To paraphrase what P.T. Barnum is said to have claimed, I’m one of the suckers born every minute. Maybe I’ve learned a lesson this time–probably not. I wonder if I’ll ever recapture the optimism I felt just two days ago.
On that dismal note, I’ve decided to talk about queries for today’s A to Z Blog Challenge, For those of you who aren’t authors, a query is a sale’s pitch for a manuscript. It’s sent to an acquisitions editor, either directly or through general submissions, and you wait for a yea or nay. It’s an emotional process followed by weeks of nail biting and waiting. Sometimes the answer is yes; more often it’s no, without any reason given as to why it doesn’t fit the imprint beyond “this isn’t right for us now”. Years ago, once a publisher took your work, you were set. Not so today. Contacts are issued for one book at a time. If I did anything right last year, despite the failure of two of my publishers, it was that I didn’t put all my eggs in the same basket. Maybe that will sustain me now, but then again, maybe it won’t.
When I finish a manuscript and decide it’s ready to go off to a publisher, I’m excited about it and writing the query is fun and easy to do. I’ve got a tagline picked out for it and a sale’s pitch. I’ve got the dreaded synopsis ready too, so I’m good to go. Since I had a publisher who was eager to see and buy my work, I’d send out the letter and within a week or two, I got my response. Now that’s gone. The publisher has ceased to exist, and I’m back to square one–or worse.
The books scheduled to be released in May aren’t a problem because they’re unedited and unpublished, even if they were sold for a short time. Those I can try to find homes for right away, but I’m not sure where to start looking. After the failure of these two publishers, I have a fear of small publishing houses, and I’m not sure where I want to go with my books. Once bitten, twice shy. Twice bitten, get the hell out of Dodge.
My greatest problem lies in the published books whose covers adorn this post probably for the last time. Many publishing houses won’t take previously published books even if I have proof that the rights are mine once more. I’ve lost covers I loved, and I’m not even sure I have the rights to the manuscript versions that were published, although I did all the edits myself–the editor suggested some, but most of these were line edits. Content edits were all mine. That leaves me with the possibility of self-publishing–scary, but not as scary as the thought once was. I’ve had a number of fellow author go that route recently, and although it involves considerable work in terms of covers, editing, formatting, and may cost money to do, it isn’t impossible–but I have to wait for the reversion of my rights and the books to come down from the vendor sites before I can even consider that. Maybe, it’s my chance to rewrite them and improve the stories? Who knows? At the moment, the light at the end of that tunnel is burned out.
The closing of FPR also affects the book I co-wrote with Misty Matthews. This one will be harder to decide how to handle. It was part of a series, the second book only just begun. I think this one bothers me almost more than any of the others because I know how devastated my co-author is. While we’ll still have a novella out there, it won’t be the same. I have other books published under my name, but for Misty, this novel was her baby, and no one likes to see baby leave home. Among the things I’ll miss most is our cover, the one we selected together. FPR retains the rights to all covers, but we designed this one. We chose the images and told the cover artist what to do with them, and now, we can’t use it even if we decide to self-publish it.
So, for the three books unpublished, the whole selling process starts again. I may query agents first this time, although many agented writers got screwed with Entranced. I may try other publishers or send some to my existing publishers and pray they like them. Either way, the query process begins today. As Daffy Duck in his Duck Dodger persona would say, “To infinity and beyond.” Where we land is anyone’s guess.
Don’t forget to check out today’s other Q postings on A to Z Blog Challenge