Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Waiting Game

Lately, it seems I've been playing the waiting game. As many of you know, Crimson Romance is no more, so I applied to get my rights back on my books. For those who are unfamiliar with traditional publishing, here's what happens: the contract stipulates the publisher retains the rights to your book for a specified period of time, usually from three to seven years.


If the publisher goes bankrupt or shuts down, rights revert back to the author automatically. In this case, even though Crimson is now defunct, the parent company, Simon & Schuster, is still in business and holds the contract. So in order to regain control of my books, I must send a request. The stipulation to getting the rights reverted to me is that the particular title has to garner royalties under a certain threshold for two consecutive six-month periods.

In my case, this is proving exceedingly hard to figure out, since the books are involved in various bundles. It didn't help my progress any to have the wrong email address for the man in charge of deciding who gets rights back, so I've been late to the game for some time. So, he's working on figuring it all out and I'm waiting.

But what happens if I have to wait until my books fall under the threshold of sales? Simon & Schuster has no interest in promoting my works and my sales have fallen off since the announcement. Do I continue to watch my declining sales and applaud the fact that I'll get the rights back sooner? What do I do with the hole in my bank account? What do I do with the books once I do get the rights back?

So many questions, and right now there are no answers. Some could view this as a setback in my career, but I choose to view it as an opportunity. In the immortal words of Ayn Rand–"The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity."


I've taken the first step by asking for my rights back, and am poised to take the next rung.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Puzzles

This weekend was my first to spend dedicated time with a friend's 89-year-old mother. We decided her prize for taking all her pills would be for us to work on a jigsaw puzzle. I often compare my story line to a giant jigsaw puzzle, but today, working with Anne, made me realize something.


She kept finding pieces that looked similar, like they'd go together, but she couldn't figure out where in the puzzle they went. I had to keep reminding her to look at the picture on the box to see how it all fit together.


If you don't step back and look at the big picture, you'll never be able to piece together the puzzle–or if you do, it'll be much harder, take more time, and lead you down the wrong path more than once. The same holds true for writing a story. You need to know before you start what the total picture will look like, where all the hidden pieces are, where the minute little detail pieces need to fit in.

But, if you take your time, refer to the big picture often, and piece together the green pieces and then the blue, etc., you'll end up, sooner or later, with a complete puzzle. Or a complete manuscript. Both are well worth the effort.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Finding Inspiration

Lately, my life seems to be a series of inspirational quotes. 

In the first three months of this year, I've moved five states away from Ohio.  It did take three months to get from one house to the next. Then, no sooner did I get my furniture delivered than I was told my publisher was shutting its doors and I was losing my connection to those editors and authors. So, where does that leave me?

As Terry Goodkind, best-selling fantasy author, so eloquently said, "If the road is easy, you're likely going the wrong way." 


So my publishing road has hit a few bumps. My latest book baby, the second in a new series, has been abandoned. Until I can figure out what to do about it, I've slid it under the proverbial bed and turned my attention to my Mail Order Brides book, which is halfway done. My road so far this year hasn't been easy, but I'm now at the picture-hanging stage in my house and I'm figuring out on a publishing level where to go from here.

My second favorite quote came via my nephew. "Throw me to the wolves and I'll come back leading the pack." Although the weather is more agreeable than the North coast, I miss my fellow authors from one of the better RWA chapters in the country. And with the closing of Crimson Romance, I miss my daily interchange with my fellow authors. I feel like I've lost my pack, my tribe, on two fronts. Thanks to the internet, Facebook and email, though, my tribe is only a click away. It may not be as good as face to face, but it'll do.

I'll meet other authors–there are a lot of us in North Carolina–and life's road will smooth out a bit more. My losses will turn into blessings and I'll wonder why it took me so long to make a move–on both fronts.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Finishing Touches

If you follow me on Facebook, you know already that my trusty hammer is still on a pegboard in Ohio.
I'll be picking up a spare one from my brother-in-law today and will finally be able to start hanging pictures. I consider picture location one of the final acts of getting settled into a new home. I've already begun to position some of them where I think they'll end up, but one never knows until something's on the wall whether it's in the right location.

While all this has been going on, I've also been given the boot by Simon & Schuster, along with all my fellow Crimson authors.
While I work to get my rights reverted to me on the eleven books I have with them, I was putting the finishing touches on the second book in my new Flower Girl series. Book One, Winning Violet,  has been out since December, but S&S isn't willing to continue the series. As I see it, I have two choices here: 1) I can finish book 2, write books 3 & 4 while I wait to get my rights back for book 1 and position myself to self-publish the entire series next year, or 2) I can find a publisher who doesn't care if they have all the books in the series under their flagship and only care if the writing is good.

Since the first option means going an entire year with no income from this series and then having a considerable outlay of cash to get the four books ready next year, Option One is not feasible. That leaves me with Option Two. Readers don't look twice at who the publisher is, unless they are also an author, so I decided to pursue my second choice. Instead of abandoning Losing Lily, the second book in the series, I put the finishing touches on the manuscript and got it ready to head out into the world. Simon & Schuster had given me a due date of April 15, so I kept myself on track, even during my convoluted move to North Carolina. I finished the final edits on it this past week, so all I need do is read through it once more before sending it off to the interested publisher, who has vision enough to not care if they don't have the rights to Book One. A good series is a good series, regardless of who produces it. So Losing Lily and her beloved maze, not to mention her beloved Scotsman, may see the light of day yet. And I feel like I've been through the publishing gauntlet, trying to find a new home for the series.