I’ve made a decision. Screw traditional publishing. I’ll sink or swim on my own.
I feel I’m pretty good with quick decision-making, but this one took a while, more than three years. That’s how long I’ve been pitching my climate-themed science fiction novel Carbon Run to agents and publishers, starting in December 2013 and ending in August 2016. I’ve sent 163 queries, and got back 72 rejections. The balance of my pitch letters disappeared into the publishing world ether.
That’s just Carbon Run. My two other novels in the series, City of Ice and Dreams, and Restoration, had pretty much the same fate.
A few agents and publishers asked for excerpts of Carbon Run. A few asked for full manuscripts. One agent asked for rewrites after a professional editor—whom I hired—suggested improvements. The agent still rejected the manuscript. (I’m forever grateful to the editor, John Paine, for his work. It was worth every penny. My experience with agents and publishers had nothing to do with him.)
I don’t have enough years left in my life to wait for the publishing industry to say Yes to me.
This week, after having Carbon Run in its hands for nearly eight months, the final publisher on my list of “possibles” sent its rejection. Then it sent a second rejection for City of Ice and Dreams two minutes—and I mean 120 seconds—later. I have never felt so small and dissed as a writer.
I had decided many months ago that if I could not land a traditional book publishing contract by July 1, I would self-publish the whole series. I picked that date partly to get the book into the marketplace by the Christmas buying season, and partly because I don’t have enough years left in my life to wait for the publishing industry to say Yes to me.
I admit I’m worried about the investment I have to make in time and money. I’m a full-time, career-change student, and I’ll likely dip into my retirement savings to make this indie publishing project happen. If I don’t do this, however, Carbon Run and the other novels may never see the light of day.
So today I signed a four-book publishing deal with myself: Carbon Run, City of Ice and Dreams, Restoration, and a book of short stories I’ve been pitching to magazines. (At least I got some good news on the shorts front; Bards and Sages Quarterly will publish one of my shorts early next year.)
Congratulations. To me.
7 thoughts on “Just signed a four-book publishing deal. With myself.”
Indeed, congratulations. I hope that the series meets with great success!
Thank you, Karen!
It’s too bad this publisher only considers agented projects because they would be perfect for your series.
They publish ecofiction, books with strong environmental themes.
Agreed. I’d submit directly, if I could.
I’m feeling the same way myself. I also got a professional editor and felt that, with with me providing the items the agent was hoping to change/improve etc, that she just regurgitated the same points without actually helping me fix them…? That took the wind out of my sails which is devastating. I haven’t been able to so much as look at a WIP since. And I have plenty of them. 😦
I appreciated reading your experiences to appreciate others are wading these waters while weighing the same decisions. I might have to look at these options for myself.
Good luck to you on your publishing journey 🙂
The traditional publishing world is friendly only to authors whom agents and publishers believe will make them money. It’s a business, after all, and if a writer doesn’t conform perfectly, they are rejected. It has nothing to do with your work, and everything to do with the bottom line. We’re lucky to live in a time when a writer has more options, such as self-publishing. I hope you’ll find an independent path that leads to success!