Monday, August 3, 2009

A Writer's Frustration

A lot of you know that Star-Crossed, the sequel to Touch of Danger, was turned down by Cerridwen. In a way, that's a good thing, as sales for ToD have not been earth-shattering.

My take? Number one, that the publisher doesn't promote Cerridwen a fraction of the way it promotes Ellora's Cave, whose books are XXX. Number two, that XXX ebooks are the ones that sell. Number three, that the vast majority of my books, including S-C, are not XXX. Number four, that print publishers have radically powered down their lines. So number five is: either find a small press publisher who's willing to take on an odd-genre book with occasional odd philosophical/relationship forays and is a sequel to a book published by another publisher...or self-publish.

I've had positive rejection letters from several publishers. They think the book has merit but their lines have no place for it.

One of our writers here at PHE, Inc. is an enthusiastic Lulu author, though when you try to pin him down (politely and delicately, as the subject should be approached) as to sales and such, he starts to admit matters aren't exactly on a level with the NYT best-selling list (which he's been on). A friend of mine has self-pubbed several books of romantic NC fiction but she taught that it was a lot of work and you had to visit bookshops constantly to push your titles. I'm not a pushy kind of person. I'm your basic writer-type: shy and withdrawn.

At this point I don't have any idea if Touch is going to see actual paper-print, and I can't get anyone to tell me yes or no. If it does, it will be another year, so I have time if I'm going the Lulu route with the sequels to think and prepare. I'm actually getting kind of excited about being able to do some Frazetta-style covers. (Anyone know some Frazetta-type people who'd model for some photos for me?) The visual impact of the four finished sequels with F-style covers (ooh, that sounds dirty!) presented together might sell a lot of books, methinks.

In the meantime, I'm shopping other titles around to a number of markets. One novel has been quite funny in that it gets extremely enthusiastic rejections. They love, love, love the book, but there's no place for it in their lines. Right now it's sitting in the Baen slush pile, which they say takes a year to go through, so I'll be sending it around simultaneously to other places. (Trying to sort through the garbage in my office [I'm cleaning it!] to see if Chris Keeslar has seen this in the past few years.)

And I've got one in the Harlequin/Mills & Boon slush pile. It's an excellent book (if I may say so myself), just an odd historical time period and place, with no lords and no ladies in sight. (It received an award in a writing contest a few years ago.)

What I'm hoping for is ultimately to wind up in eprint, self-print, and print-print (did I mention movies and/or TV maxiseries?), becoming a Modern Renaissance Writer. (A modern RICH Renaissance Writer.) Yeah, that's me! Carol A. Strickland, the symbol of the 21st Century writer.

So what do you do when your book is rejected? What do you think of Lulu & co? Of course it's the wave of the future, but right now--? Anyone out there published in different media? How do you like it?

And I need opinions on how I should be sending Touch of Danger out for review. Cerridwen says they send it to x reviewers (there are a LOT), but so far I've only seen one review (5 hearts out of a possible 5!). How does one re-send a book for review? Do any of you do this? Is a query letter: "Did you receive my book for review from Cerridwen?" enough or too pushy or what?

Ah, learning this business is such an educational experience! But I wish I'd graduate already.


EilisFlynn said...

I hear you and sympathize! This may be why I'm only leisurely on my way to sequels for any of my works. Good luck -- I can't wait to see the video!

Sonja Foust said...

Good luck with whatever you decide! You may have an option to get back the first book's rights and then publish all four however you want. I think some ePublishers offer authors the opportunity to get back their rights after a year or something, depending on sales.

Loved your video!

Carol A. Strickland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol A. Strickland said...

(Darned comments won't let you make corrections!)

Oh yeah, there's a low sales mark that, a year after that, you get the book back. That was one thing a number of people told me to double-check on the contract.

Right now, though, I'm taking lots of PR courses in order to INCREASE those sales. If I have to refer my gazillions of faithful Lulu readers to Cerridwen to pick up the first volume of the series--sob ;^D--so be it! (I think the royalties are about the same.)

Thanks for the video comment. I'm going to work on it more tonight and see if it'll load in a higher resolution so the type & stuff don't blur. Rrr! Learning these things!!! Arrgh.