I bring to you a guest blogger named Kristina M. Serrano, who so graciously decided to take my offer up on what it’s like to have to turn down a contract despite high hopes and expectations. Enjoy!
It’s so, so hard. It really is. But sometimes, it’s necessary. You can envision it: book signings, interviews, sharing a story from your heart and soul with the world. The power is in your hands. All you have to do is sign.
And yet, you don’t.
Almost two weeks ago, I was offered a contract for SLOW ECHOES by a small publisher, but after seeking counsel from several knowledgeable sources in the writing/publishing industry and thinking long and hard, I turned it down.
The days it took me to make my decision were torturous. “Published” and “contract” rang through my thoughts, taunting, seducing. I’d waited years for those words, and they were finally here. I could finally act on that detailed marketing plan I’d whipped up ages ago. I could tell all of my friends and family I was finally an author, a novelist, not just aspiring. I could share my characters with the world. Almost. Almost… A signature away…
And then a polite e-mail of thanks and decline.
Aside from feeling like I’d flushed an accomplished dream down the toilet, the hardest part about walking away from the contract was how sweet the publisher/editor was and how strongly the publisher/editor felt about my book.
So why did I turn it down? Well, one, different publishers prefer different policies in their contracts, and I felt there were too many clauses that didn’t appeal to me to negotiate. Also, while the publisher’s in-person marketing plan was awesome (attending multiple events promoting their books throughout the year), it wasn’t coupled with a strong online presence, which is important to me and the failure or success of sales for any book.
Basically, it just wasn’t the right fit, to me, for SLOW ECHOES. If anything, this experience taught me that the publishing industry is subjective in more ways than one. If agents and editors reject fantastic books because “they’re just not the right fit,” authors should feel comfortable rejecting a contract from an accomplished publisher that is “just not the right fit.”
My faith has gotten me this far, and I’m confident it will carry me even further as I reassess my writing and publishing goals and continue the querying process.
Another important thing this has taught me: DON’T RUSH. I have been rushing since I was eighteen, and I’m twenty-three now, almost twenty-four. A lot of non-writers think books are born overnight and, however innocently, prod you with “you’re STILL not published?” It’s hard, I know (believe me), but take a deep breath, don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions, do what’s best for you as a writer and your precious book(s), and be proud of yourself! Publishing is definitely not a race against the clock. It’s a waiting game of patience and the right timing.
A successful author I know told me to enjoy the writing process before publication, because that’s when things REALLY get hectic. And that’s what I plan to do. Read great books. Have a ball writing. Dream of landing the right agent and/or publisher and attending my first book signing while researching and querying.
But, my, I’m getting ahead of myself again. Patience, dear child. Patience.
Kristina M. Serrano is an aspiring YA fantasy and paranormal romance novelist, singer, homeschool/college graduate, and ex cowgirl who has been thrown five times. To read more about her and her writing, visit her website (http://kristinamserrano.wix.com/author) where you can also find links to her Twitter and Facebook pages.