A few of you have been surprised that I've spoken so openly about my struggle to sell the two novel-length projects that I've got out on sub right now (newsflash: it was THREE projects, but we've decided to shelve one of them. #sadtrombone).
I think the implication is that someone might doubt my credentials if I, too, am having trouble selling a book. And I get it.
But here's why the opposite is true... It is because I haven't had an easy path...Because my first offer of representation never turned into an actual contract (the agent left the industry due to personal calamity just a week after offering me rep). Because my first agent didn't end up being my dream agent/forever agent (we split not long after my first book with her didn't sell). Because my books that have gone out to editors had haven't sold quickly and easily (I've had some get nothing but form rejections and others have gone to acquisitions multiple times and still haven't sold...yet!)... that I can empathize with my clients when things aren't working in their writing life. That I can help writers figure out what to do next and how to persevere even when things are hard. That I can help you slay the doubt demons--because I know they're real, they're tough, and I fight them too.
But I also don't want to linger too long on the graveyard of unpublished books in my filing system. Instead, as I hinted in last week's newsletter, I'm publishing a series of success stories from my clients who have taken the non-traditional path to publishing success. It's a reminder to myself, and to you, that even a "No" (or a series of Nos, as the case may be) doesn't mean that there's no home for your words. It just means you haven't found the right home...yet.
If you missed Beating the Odds last week, check it out. It's not only an indie-publishing success story, but the book itself is a remarkable account of my client Sonia Hunt's journey to overcome her life-threatening food allergies.
New this week is my client Karl von Loewe's story, Lost Roots. Karl, like many writers who have facsinating--but oh so hard to publish--family stories, struggled to find an agent for his story. But he found a great home at Atmosphere Press, a hybrid publisher.
Hybrid publishers straddle the self-publishing and traditional-publishing markets, offering the quality control, sales team, and distribution of a traditional publisher to books that might not otherwise find a home with The Big Five. In the hybrid model, the author pays for these services, but collects a higher royalty rate after the fact to hopefully earn back that initial investment.
As with any publisher, authors should read the fine print of any contract they're offered and think long and hard about whether the publisher meets the author's needs and offers more than the author could do on their own with self-publishing.
Check out Karl's story of hybrid publishing success in Finding the "Right" Publishing Path. Watch this space next week for a discussion of what to look for in those publishing contracts and another very special success story. If you have any specific questions for me about the publishing journey, now is a great time to ask.
Join me for Understanding Scene!
Next week, I'll be teaching a 75-minute webinar for IWWG on Understanding Scene. Scene is the smallest unit of story, the atom of Story’s periodic table. Yet many writers struggle to define it, let alone master it in their storytelling. A strong scene immerses the reader in some aspect of the character’s experience–in a specific moment in time with one setting and one or more characters interacting in some way. And it sets up the cause-and-effect trajectory that drives the pace and emotional tension of the larger story. This 75-minute webinar will define the parts of a scene, illuminate common scene-level mistakes, and teach writers how to use character motivation and emotion to create the kind of scenes that keep readers turning pages. Register today!
Hope you enjoy this peek behind the (publishing) curtains!
PS - One of the best ways to level up your writing is to find like-minded critique partners to get extra eyes on your work. And I'll be running a free webinar to answer all your burning critique partner questions on June 26 at 3pm Pacific. It's free, but registration is required (and limited to 100), so register today.