Losing a Publisher

Losing a Publisher

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my publisher, AEC Stellar Publishing Inc., back in December, thus putting When Stars Die out of print. At first I wasn’t hit too hard by it, even though its closure was completely unexpected. After all, it wasn’t in any danger of going bankrupt, which is why many a small press usually fails. So I wasn’t too distraught until it became apparent that finding a new publisher for When Stars Die was going to prove to be incredibly challenging.

Every publisher I subbed to requested a full, but they all ended up rejecting, except for one–and I ended up turning that contract down for a variety of reasons. You would think finding a home for a previously published book with a 4.31 star rating on Goodreads would be easy, but that simply isn’t true. If anything, it’s more difficult since your list of publishers is limited to those willing to take on previously published books. I knew I didn’t want to self-publish it. I simply don’t have the funds for it right now. Between paying off a car because I got in a wreck a few months ago with my former one, paying for gas every week, a cell phone bill, and paying off my ACE certification course, I cannot spare the funds to make self-publishing work for me. So it has been an exhausting, frustrating journey with loads of self-doubt.

I know authors who have had it worse, who have had to enact lawsuits, just to get the rights of their books back. Then ultimately they didn’t choose to put their books back in the market because their previous publishers tainted them, so I’m grateful that’s not the case with my book. I’m grateful for the opportunity AEC had given me. I only wish that it didn’t have to end.

Throughout this journey I kept constantly wishing my publisher hadn’t folded since it has been so painful playing the waiting game and wondering each time if it was worth continuing to pursue something that seemed out of reach. My writing life has been stagnant because of it. I felt like it was pointless to write. If When Stars Die couldn’t find a home, what made me think any of my books would? I even attempted copy-editing The Glorious In-Between, but I was filled with so much self-doubt about whether or not it even had a chance. Yet, I love the story and I don’t even .000000infinitysymbol hate what I’ve written. I couldn’t give up. When Stars Die is a story worth telling.

It’s difficult losing something that gave you such security, that thought your ideas were valuable enough to share with readers who will hopefully also think your writing has value. You begin to wonder if the publication of your book was a mistake, if you were ever meant to be an author or just some keyboard jockey typing out words that go nowhere. Well, the truth is that there may ever only be one publisher or literary agent who wants to give value to your words. The truth is that the book you worked so hard on may never see itself to print, unless you decide to take the path of self-publishing (and please do if you never fall out of love with your book!). The truth is that even when you find a publisher, being an author never gets any easier. And sometimes you’ll end up with a publisher that wasn’t your dream one but can become one. But then sometimes opportunities are handed to you, and you’ve got to know when the right time is to take them. collageThis is why I’m proud to say that When Stars Die has a new home! After contract negotiations, I’ll post a more official announcement on this. It’s been a tiresome journey, but something tells me I’m making the right decision by latching on to this opportunity presented to me months ago. I can’t wait to share more news of this and get back into the blogosphere.

For my writer followers, don’t give up. You are going to experience moments when you wonder why the writing life chose you, where you’re going to wonder why you didn’t pursue some other, more obtainable passion.

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How I Overcame Writer’s Doubt

How I Overcame Writer’s Doubt

For a few weeks I struggled with trying to overcome doubt in my ability as a writer. The Stars Are Infinite, in a sense, was rejected a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t say rejected, necessarily, but I don’t know any other way to phrase it, because it is going to come out, and it is going to receive a contract once I complete the necessary edits; however, the initial blow had shaken my faith in myself as a writer. It was a misguided blow on my part, of course. Even so, I had a lot of confidence in my writing because of When Stars Die and some feedback from ‘I Am the Bell Jar,’ published in 2013: A Stellar Collection. It’s great to have confidence; however, once you’re published and then you’re rejected, that rejection stings 10x harder than if you had never been published.

When you’re published, you have the expectation that you’re going to be published again. After all, fans of your books are counting on it. So for a bit I struggled with all these questions: Is When Stars Die going to be my only book ever? What if I just got lucky with it? What if every book I write from here on out sucks? What if my writing actually is crap? Why am I doing this? And so on and so forth. Any writer who has EVER struggled with self-doubt knows the exact questions I’m speaking of.

How did I regain my confidence?

I completed the edits of the first fifteen chapters my publisher did, and those edits alone crammed brevity into my mind. They weren’t difficult to do. I also considered that I was perhaps OVERCONFIDENT in those chapters. I wrote them when I was 20, and while I did have professional edits on them, I was still 20 when I wrote them. I wrote When Stars Die when I was 21, and completed it, revisions and all, at 22. So it was 2 years after The Stars Are Infinite that When Stars Die was basically born. When I went back into TSAI, I didn’t touch the first fifteen chapters that much. Just did some edits here and there, added some stuff, and that was it. However, with the remainder of the book, I had to write it all over again, so it can’t even rightly be called a re-write. Even when I did write those chapters, I ended up re-writing much of them. I probably spent more time editing the latter half than the former half, just because I know more now than I did when I was 20. I wrote the first 15 chapters at the age of 20, and the rest of the book at 23. I spent 5 months doing intense edits of the rest of the book–7 if you count January and February. That’s 3 years of improvement since beginning TSAI. Arguably I should have spent equal time with both, but I get discombobulated at times.

A common writing error is for writers to spend more time on the first half than the last half. I did the reverse. I think this happened because I wanted–and still want–TSAI to be a million times better than WSD, and those chapters leading up to the climax, and the chapters that fall thereafter, are crucial.

That was my error.

I regained my confidence when I completed those edits, and the edits my personal assistant did for me–I am SUPER indebted to her. When I stepped away from All Shattered Ones, the book I was hoping to finish before getting TSAI back, I realized that if I were a crap writer, I wouldn’t have any idea where to begin with revisions in regards to ASO. I do. I know exactly what I’m going to do to better ASO, to make it cleaner, more crisp–cleaning up metaphor overkill, for one. And re-structuring a few things in the plot, of course.

I also fully regained my confidence when I was able to proofread for a previous client. I learn a lot by editing other people’s manuscripts, and I learned a lot from proofreading this client’s manuscript. I learn what I can do to better my own manuscripts, pretty much. Proofreading this manuscript also instilled brevity within me. Now I’m going through TSAI and cutting unnecessary, lengthy sentences, or just breaking up those sentences. I’m also going to–and sigh–read my book out loud, or have my Kindle do it for me at least. I didn’t do that with When Stars Die. The book was just that easy.

I have also accepted that it is going to take more than a year for me to create a book I am satisfied with.

Also, as strange as it sounds, my confidence in ballet directly correlates to my confidence in writing. If I can freaking do ballet, I can sure as heck get another novel published. I mean, I’m at grade IV, and I’ve only been dancing ballet for 2 1/2 years (arguably, I should be in grade V, but the Cecchetti method is different from my last school’s). And…drum roll please…my boss pretty much implied I’m going to get hired on at Southern Siding, which means I will receive more commission–I’m going through a temp agency for them currently.

Ultimately, I think good things happening outside of your writing life can actually improve the quality of your writing life. After all, we need lives outside of writing, and we need good ones at that. All this goodness going on for me has shifted my perspective, and has thus put a positive spin on how I feel about my own writing.

Have you ever lost your confidence in your own writing? If so, how did you regain it?