Years ago, when I was a wee babe in the publishing industry…okay, so I’m not a giant, but I’m not a babe anymore either. *g* Anyway, years ago I met a woman named Kate. Little did I know at the time that she was lovably referred to as Queen Kate by some, but it didn’t take me long to hear it, and to figure out why. This lady is amazing. Not only is she talented, and prolific, but she’s fun and generous and helpful, and all those things you fear are lost traits in people nowdays.
Not only is she an awesome person, but she’s a kick-ass author too. Kate writes in several different romance sub-genres under different names. She’s a member of RWA and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Ellora’s Cave and Virgin Black Lace/Cheek.
Every now and then Kate publishes a very thought provoking post on a writers group I hang out at, and this time, I begged her to let me post it here. She said yes!
Please welcome Kate Pearce….
Let’s talk about “No.”…
So you sell your book.
There are rainbows and unicorns and confetti and those golden gates swing wide and you shade your eyes and look forward and there it is… your path to success. It’s shiny and goes straight up that hill to that golden trophy marked NYT Bestseller or USA Today Bestseller or #1 on Amazon kindle! (or billionaire-whatever your vision of ultimate success is).
You stride forward and it beckons to you, that golden prize so you keep after it. You write more books, you hone your craft you get your first fan letter and then something happens…
Someone says no.
Now this can occur in many ways. Here are a few (most of which I’ve experienced myself)
1. Your editor loses interest and enthusiasm in you.
-this can result in them taking a long time to look at your new submission.
-being slow to respond to your emails.
-sending you back your manuscript with either a revise and resubmit or a flat out No.
2. Your editor gets too busy.
3. Your editor gets fired or leaves the publishing house.
-leaving you-where exactly?
With the task of convincing a new editor to love your work, which quite often leads back to the above, -lack of enthusiasm or an overworked editor who doesn’t get you or need you.
4. Or worse. your publisher folds usually with debts and bad feelings.
5. Your particular line closes or your publisher merges it with another, or changes the criteria, or the word count or…
So that career path?
Not so straight and uphill after all.
And what happens when you still hear no? Or there’s no one to send anything to?
At this point you’ve usually lost time rewriting and waiting and your slot in the schedule has gone or been moved back, or disappeared meaning you’ve got a gap in productivity that your readers might notice.
I honestly believe that unless your name is Nora Roberts, almost every writer at some point in their career will have the above happen or be told a project is either being canceled or hasn’t lived up to expectations.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or what the reason is- it’s soul destroying.
Good writers pick themselves up, dust themselves down and Move On.
I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s what we do.
Ultimately you are the only person who knows your goals and cares about them. Publishers don’t. They really don’t. You might be the sweetest person in the world, the hardest worker, best promotor, and an unflagging supporter of the company principals. They look at the numbers and how much money you are making them. That’s ultimately it.
And still we feel like we are the failures, that our magic gift and career trajectory is all destroyed and that we are worthless hacks… (or maybe that was just me)
And then maybe you will get angry and think “I’ll show them” and come up with something new and sell it to someone else. (or maybe that is just me too. )
That’s the best revenge. Sell it to someone else or self-publish it and makes millions for yourself.
What I’m trying to say is that almost every published writer I’ve ever met has been rejected, struggled to find a publisher, had to change sub-genre, pen name, publisher editor etc etc and have done it because ultimately the writing is the thing they need to do. Always keep your eye on the business side of the job-without becoming a slave to it-be aware of what’s going on at your publishers, feel the vibes, trust your instincts and survive by diversifying and being ready with a back-up plan or three.
At the beginning of this year I had one contract ending and a terrible sensation that my Tudor Vampire series was not going to be picked up. (editor enthusiasm had disappeared) It was hard to accept that I’d failed at one of my dreams-getting in to mass market paperbacks. Well, to be honest, it was hard to accept I’d failed, period. But it taught me a lesson and reminded me that everyone has their ups and downs. It also inspired me to continue self-publishing and launch proposals for three new series. Okay, so they all got picked up and now I’m back in deadline hell again (which is why those of you who know me know why I’m writing this) But you have to be brave and put yourself out there-and that can be in any format you choose. You don’t even need to go with a traditional publisher anymore.
Again, this isn’t me telling anyone how it is or that my experience is more valid, its just to make you all think about what you want from publishing, whether those goals have changed over the years (mine certainly have-I just want to write excellent books), whether you’ve had slips and twists and unexpected slip ups in your careers and whether you plan ahead, pay attention and diversify.
Kate’s Latest Release:
Disowned and disinherited by his aristocratic family, Jack Llewelyn survives on his wits and his ability to nurse officers returning from the Napoleonic Wars. He is prepared to go to any lengths to clear his name, but fate, and the Duke of Diable Delamere, have different plans for Jack. Soon, he will be hunting a missing spy, discovering old family secrets, and risking his life pursuing a woman who has changed beyond recognition. Only then will he be able to face his lost love, ask her forgiveness and finally deserve his very happy ending.
Visit Kate’s website and learn more about her and her books. www.katepearce.com