Happy New Year everyone!
I'm doing a blog post today about options-with the message that there are many ways to be published, and this year should be the year that all romance writers should open themselves up to opportunities, and investigate them.
When I first started putting my writing out there, I had a couple of goals.
1. To find an agent.
2. To be published by my ideal publisher, sign a contract, and see my books in print on the shelves of my local bookshop.
I haven't achieved either. Things just didn't work that way for me. I certainly tried it, I have a drawer full of lovely rejections to prove it. I was despondent about it. Dispairing even. But after a few rejections of what I considered to be good work, I altered my approach, and it seems to be working for me.
My first romance wasn't good enough to achieve publication. I had a lot to learn, and the more courses I did the more I realised I didn't understand all the components that are needed writing romance today. The second romance I wrote is Bound to Love. Agents weren't interested. My ideal publisher turned it down at partial stage. Another publisher read the full, and turned it down. I worked on it, changed it and rewrote. Then I wrote another story. This one followed the same route. Agents weren't interested. My ideal publisher turned it down at partial stage (but gave good feedback). And then a second publisher, The Wild Rose Press, liked it enough to buy it. Woo!
Last February for the first time I achieved half of one of my goals. I had a book out in print, although it wasn't available on the shelves, but rather through Amazon. I was happy, up until the publisher went bust, and my rights reverted to me. To be honest, the temptation to stuff the book in a drawer and sob on the sofa was strong. Years had passed, and I still hadn't achieved my goals. But like all writers out there, I had options, if only I'd consider them.
I decided to re-release Bound to Love as self-published. Sure, I hadn't achieved my goals, but it was time to modify those goals. To readjust my thinking. Since then I've had 2 more books accepted by Wild Rose, and at the end of December, had 2 more fulls out with publishers. I'd love to say I was selling lots, but I wasn't. The self published route or small publisher route is a hard one, there's a lot of promotion and networking to be done to get reviews, build an online presence etc. But all the writers I know are doing this anyway, published or not. We have to.
For me, I realised that my goals were based on giving me validation that my writing was good enough. I wanted an agent to like it. And being accepted by my ideal publisher would be fantastic. But when it didn't happen and I took a fork along the path to publication, I got what I wanted anyway. Readers. People who liked my writing enough to buy one of my books. And found a group of fabulous friends who have helped me so much along the way. Things went crazy for me last week when 19,000 took advantage of the opportunity to try Bound to Love for free. That's 19,000 people who hadn't read a book of mine before. I hope all of them like it.
So this year, if you haven't achieved your goals, maybe it's time to listen to your critique partners when they tell you your writing is good. Have faith in your writing. Explore your options. Don't let a rejection crush you (or at least, not for long). Try something different. I'm glad I did!