Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Fools Rush In

If you've read my other posts you will be aware that I had my seeming moment of glory and then all went quiet.  I have to tell you, the silence was not due to an abandonment of my humble blog because I'd become an Overnight Success (after twenty years of sheer graft).  Before I proceed to enlighten you, a word to the wise for those who may have stumbled across this blog and really can't be bothered to scroll down to find out what I'm talking about, the letter below should clue you in:

Dear Beth,

I’m delighted to write to you today to let you know the very good news that your competition entry Future Shadows, has been chosen as the winner of the paranormal romance category and will be published by Piatkus Entice next year.

The Piatkus team absolutely loved Future Shadows.  You have such an evocative narrative voice and a real understanding of the genre which shined through in your story.  Erin Marshal and Adam Hunt are engaging protagonists and their love story is guaranteed to appeal to paranormal romance readers everywhere.  The first person narrative works really well too, completely hooking the reader in.

As we want this story to be the very best it can possibly be, there will be some editorial work to do structurally on the story and on developing the characters and their relationships further.  I will be working with you on this and I’m very much looking forward to guiding you through the editorial process.

In terms of timings, we are aiming for a 6th June 2013 publication date on Entice.  This will mean that I will need the final version of the manuscript back to me by the 1st of January 2013 at the latest.  I intend to send revision notes to you in the next week or two and I’ll be on hand to answer any queries you may have by email or telephone as we work through the manuscript together.

The next stage will be to draw up the contract and I’ll be in touch next week with further information.

I’m very much looking forward to working with you and congratulations again!
Yes, this was the big break I was waiting for, or so I thought.  Finally, I was moving up the seemingly endless rungs of my writing career ladder and surely this rung wouldn't break beneath my foot as had so many others?  I splashed out a small fortune on accommodation, a new dress and tickets for The Festival of Romance where I was to be presented with a bunch of flowers.  But it didn't matter because I had Finally Made It (although it did seem strange that I had to pay for my own tickets to attend the award ceremony!)
My euphoria wasn't to last long.  My agent, looking over the competition rules, warned me that I might have to surrender all rights to my manuscript.  It was my bucket of cold water moment.  Yes, I'd accepted that Piatkus Entice wouldn't be giving me an advance.  I'd also accepted that the book would be an e-publication but I hadn't processed that I would be giving up all rights to Future Shadows!  My agent contacted Piatkus Entice to find out if they would be prepared to negotiate but we were met with a firm no and the thought occurred to me that self-publishing the book on Kindle would give me just what Piatkus Entice were offering but at least the rights to the book would remain mine!
And so my short lived bubble of euphoria burst, my foot broke through yet another rung on the ladder and yes, I admit, my disappointment was so great that I retreated from the writing world to lick my wounds.  For the first time in my life, I didn't rush into something over which I had a nagging doubt.  I'm sure some writers will be yelling at their screens that I was stupid to turn down a publishing contract and, believe me, over the last six months of contemplation I've had one or two moments where I questioned my sanity, but I've got to look forward, not back, and tell myself that the light at the end of the tunnel is not that of emergency service vehicles attending a car crash!
As with all authors, my muse will not leave me alone for too long, and so I am now going to enter the virgin territory of self-publication.  Before a final edit of Future Shadows I explored the need for a professional front cover.  I stumbled across James at  who offers The Most Amazing and Super Speedy Service.  Not only will he design a cover according to your specification but he also has brilliant 'off the peg' book covers for sale.  I found the perfect cover for Future Shadows and James added the font changes I needed within hours.

I'm delighted with the end result and can't wait to finally get Future Shadows out there.  I'd love to hear from any other authors who have gone the self-publishing route - I'm sure there are many stories of highs and lows from going it alone.
Look out Kindle, I'm about to take the plunge!


  1. Definitely go for it! At worst it will have cost you nothing and you'll have a product to promote and refer future editors to. At best, you can find your audience on your own terms and learn about reader engagement and how to use social media, by trial and error.

  2. Thanks, Derek. It does seem a shame to let the book, figuratively speaking, gather dust. The world of publishing is changing at a rapid rate and more than ever we've got to be prepared to self-promote and push our product. Unfortunately, this isn't usually an author's greatest strength! I'm naturally quite self-deprecating so any form of self-promotion just feels weird and makes me want to either giggle or cringe. Ah well, I can think of worse things to practise!

  3. Another encouraging comment from a fellow author on a writers' forum (Affiliated Authors). Worth publishing here as it contains some interesting thoughts:

    I think you made the right decision not to accept the publishing offer. It appeared to be very one sided with little benefits to you, the
    author. They would have made tons of money on your book while only sharing a fraction of the $ with you.

    I self-published through Balboa Press (very expensive). The kindle/Amazon option is much cheaper and has the same results.

    I look forward to reading your book.

    Good luck,