Lack of Progress Leads to Writing Doubts

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It’s been just over a year since I got the disappointing news that one of my publishers had gone out of business. In that time, I still haven’t placed those two orphaned books with another publisher. Although it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

I immediately edited Show No Weakness, relieved for the opportunity to fix some typos and a few awkward sentences created during the publishing edits. I was about to send the updated manuscript to a preferred publisher, when I noticed a ‘review previous submissions’ button on their website. I decided to check, and there it was – Show No Weakness had been submitted and declined back in 2010, before its original publication. No point asking if they’d care to review a previously published book that they’d already passed on.

So back at square one, I started researching other publishers. The publishing industry is in flux, and things look bleak. Rumours swirl all over the place about this company not paying their authors on time and that company on the verge of shutting their doors.

I felt frozen in indecision. Should I self-publish? Should I throw submissions everywhere and see if any stick? Should I just give up? Nothing felt right. Meanwhile, Visual Effects was going through the publishing process with The Wild Rose Press. I’ve enjoyed working with my TWRP editor, and I decided to submit Show No Weakness to her. The book was accepted, but with the same caveat as my other TWRP books. The heat level needed to be upped.

If I’m told the story needs work to make it stronger, I’m all over that. Putting in more love scenes, hotter sex, in my opinion, doesn’t improve the storyline. My other option was to lower the sensuality level to make it a ‘sweet’ romance. As the author, I feel entitled to write the type of story that suits me and I’m comfortable with, so I reluctantly withdrew my submission. I’m disappointed, but have no hard feelings. TWRP books are classified by lines, so when a reader buys a book from a certain line, they know what to expect. Unfortunately for me, my stories aren’t a good fit with any line.

Which meant back to square one, yet again. I checked another publisher with potential, but couldn’t determine whether they accepted previously published work. So I emailed them that question. Then I waited, and I waited. After about a month with no answer, I decided to send a submission anyway, using their website form. I assumed I’d get an automated email response, which I didn’t.

Their website said to expect a decision in about three months. After four months, I emailed them again. I politely explained I hadn’t received an initial confirmation on my submission, and I wondered if it had been received and where in the submission process it might be. After two weeks without a reply, I gave up and moved on, but I wasn’t impressed. Yes, everyone’s busy, shorthanded, or whatever, and maybe I’m naïve, but isn’t it a professional courtesy to at least acknowledge an email? Maybe I got away lucky. Who wants to work with a company with poor communication practices?

I submitted to another publisher in July and was declined at the end of August. Because I received a form letter, I don’t know if they declined because the book had already been published or if there were issues with the story. At least they didn’t leave me hanging for months. I recently opted for a reputable epublisher – which means the books won’t be available in paperback. And wow, not only did I immediately get an automated confirmation, a few days later an actual person emailed to say she had my story and would get back to me as soon as she could. Impressive. Professional.

Meanwhile through all this, I haven’t written anything. Partly because real-life situations have me feeling creatively stymied, but also, the book I’d started writing last year is linked to the two that are no longer published. There’s no point in moving forward with this story without knowing what’s in store with the other two. If this epublisher accepts Show No Weakness, I’ll send them It’s Complicated and, hopefully, will resume writing So He Lied.

If the publisher declines Show No Weakness, I’ll have some tough decisions to make about my writing future. So, cross your fingers for me, okay?

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