Looking back on 2012 I have so many things to be thankful for. Good health, a family that loves me even when I’m not lovable, a God who erased my every sin with the cleansing power of His shed blood, and my writing. My new novel, The Color of My Heart was released in late October and is doing very well. The reviews on Amazon have humbled me beyond belief.
But all days were not perfect last year and disappointments were many. On the same day my second novel went under contract with my new publishing company I received a letter in the mail from the publisher of my first novel, Guardian Spirit. I’m not physic, but I knew what was written in that letter before I opened it. The publisher of Guardian Spirit was “Going Out Of Business.” For several reasons Lucky Press was closing their doors and relinquishing all their rights to my first novel and turning it back over to me. On the heels of my good news this bad news was nipping away at my joy.
What’s a girl to do? Start all over again and try to find another publisher? I had less than fifty copies of Guardian Spirit left in my possession and no promise of ever getting any printed again. Something deep inside me was rearing up. I would not let Guardian Spirit dissolve into the vast vapors of out of print books. This novel was way to close to my heart to let it die.
Of course the first thing I did was submit it to my new publisher. Being a Christian Publishing Company, Ambassador International couldn’t publish Guardian Spirit because of all the Native American themes and folklore, but they told me I should look at their other imprint, Ink Swift.
I had a decision to make. Should I invest weeks and months of my time mailing and emailing out queries to try to find another traditional publisher, or did I simply self-publish and get Guardian Spirit back out on the shelf? Personally for me the decision was a no-brainer. My new publisher and I worked together and came up with a package that both of us could live with and in a few weeks Guardian Spirit was re-born with a new cover and a renewed excitement from me about its release.
Almost six years ago I became a full-time novelist. My dreams and expectations of today are not the same as they were back in 2007. They have been replaced with reality. I have learned that not all good books, and maybe not even all very, very, very good books will be picked up by a major New York City publishing company. But, that is not to say there are not some really awesome books out there that are being self-published.
I have always been a pretty competitive person. I play ball to win. I want to finish the race first, but I learned very quickly that in this game of publishing my competition is not in the same league as I am. The big publishers and agents are so far out of reach for new unknown authors that if we wait to be read by them our dream of holding a book with our name on the cover may never become a reality.
I have been fortunate to find two traditional publishing companies. The first one so small that they only published three to four books a year. The other one a bit larger, publishing thirty books a year. Unfortunately not all authors have the time that I have had to submit their work relentlessly, day after day, week after week, query after query.
My advice for all striving new authors is to follow your gut. You have to work very hard. You must understand that every spare minute of your day has to be spent polishing your work, your query, and cover letter. And then when all is said and done and you still have nothing but a lap full of rejections you might want to consider the world of self-publishing.
Hey, you wrote a book. You’ve done something that a small percentage of the population can do. Be proud, and release your work into the wild. When one door closes, open a window.
I know thy works; behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my work, and hast not denied my name.