Thursday, January 12, 2012

I is for Indecision

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a romance writer. About fifteen years ago I took my first step toward taking it 'seriously' by joining a local chapter of RWA. This was, and still is, a good decision for my career. I've learned a lot by attending meetings and programs and participating in critiquing sessions, both as a reader and a critiquer.

About ten years ago I took another 'serious' step and attended a writers' conference and pitched to an editor at Silhouette. She requested the full manuscript, but it was eventually rejected, although I did get a very nice, personal letter from her. A few years after that I submitted a query to another editor there, but that, too was rejected.

I was bummed, but not overly so, since rejection tends to be a part of this business. More than being bummed, though, I was stuck. I wrote what I termed 'series' romance, and with nothing new in the works at the time, I'd pretty much exhausted my options for where I could submit my work.

For a while I just let it lie. After all, I had other things going on in my life. Writing was a bit of a hobby.

Then about five years ago I decided if I ever had a chance to get a book published, I had to get 'serious' again. I asked a writer friend about her publisher, but as she was not too thrilled with her house, she recommended I check into The Wild Rose Press, a slightly new small press. So, I did, and it turned out to be another one of those good things for my career. With TWRP I've published three full-length novels, a short story, and a free read. I have another mss in a rewriting/revision stage for them, and am working on another short story to submit as well.

So, after that really long story, here's the indecision part. About a year ago, my editor at TWRP wrote me a really, really nice e-mail, saying she thought I was ready to move on to one of the 'bigger' publishers. To say the least, I was thrilled. While I really enjoy writing for TWRP, my dream had always been to see one of my books in the Harlequin/Silhouette rack at my local book store.

To that end, I'm in the process of polishing up another mss that I'll be pitching to an editor from Harlequin at a conference in April. But the thing is, I don't know if Harlequin/Silhouette is the right fit for me. Do I think it would be awesome to see my book in one of their displays? Yes, but I'm not sure if I'm a 'career' writer. I have a career that I love. Meeting deadlines is not easy for me, just from a time stand point. My first priority is, and has to be, my full time job. Writing on a deadline scares the beejeebies out of me.

And, I really, really love writing for TWRP. I've had nothing but good experiences with them: from the owners to the editors to the cover artists to the marketing department...everything has been wonderful. And with e-books becoming more and more popular, even my shorter stories not being in print isn't such a big deal anymore.

That doesn't mean I can't write for someplace else, too, but if I'm happy where I'm at, and it's working for me, why do I want to? TWRP is a good fit for me. And if I'm writing for more than one place, am I going to be stretching myself too thin? Will I be able to do a good job for both, or will one suffer?

But to have my name on a Harlequin book? That's something I've dreamed about since high school. And to have a dream come true is nothing to turn your nose up at.

See? Indecisive. (And long winded...)

And of course this all may be a moot point, if I pitch and at whatever point in the process get a rejection, all of this worry will be for naught. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. Hi Debra, I think you might be worrying prematurely and not considering one important thing. If you submit to them, and if they accept you (that's the premature part I'm talking about), you then become the boss and it's up to you to accept their offer or not. And part of that acceptance can include questions about how their house works, what kind of time commitment they expect, etc. Dreams are a great thing to have and keep us going as writers. You should never give up on them before you know all the information. Good luck!

  2. Debra, what a great post. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your potential 'bump up.' I think Jen has it right--nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  3. Thanks, ladies. I guess I'm just over-thinking...and maybe putting the cart before the horse, too!

    I appreciate the support!

  4. I agree with what both Jen and Ana have said - go for it, you've nothing to lose (and I still remember the thrill I got from finding one of my HQ novels in a shop in Williamsburg, VA, so keep that dream there in front of you!)

  5. Thanks, Paula.

    I'd probably do cart-wheels if I found one of my books in an actual book store... :)

  6. Debra, I'm the CHAMPION of putting the cart before the horse! It's a lot easier to advise others not to do it than for me to follow that very same advice.

  7. Mills and Boon only produced by books as hardbacks for libraries, and until my first visit to America, I hadn't seen any of my Harlequin paperback copies, so yes, it was a thrill to see mine there on the bookstand in a shop on Merchant's Square!

  8. I totally get your trepidation. As a young psychotherapist i wanted to be at the biggest and best EAP counseling centers. I finally got in and hated it. We all just have to work hard, take chances and learn. Great job, wow, I want to publish....

  9. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for popping by. Every new step is a learning experience for sure.

    And thanks again, fellow Heroines, I'm feeling a little more settled and less freaked out now...I'm going to have to revisit this post come April!