Paula reflects on a life-changing event.
4 weeks ago, just before I was about to set off for a day in London, I received an email which turned my world upside down. Rebecca, my publisher, who has had some serious medical problems, had very reluctantly decided to close down her business. Everything will be wound up by the end of October, which means that all books will be removed from distributors at the end of August, so that the ‘final’ royalties can be calculated and paid.
I know I don’t need to tell you how devastating this news was. Although I tried to enjoy my day in London (including the show we went to see in the afternoon), my mind was working overtime all day as I wondered what to do.
And it has continued to work overtime. Without really thinking it all through, I sent a query to a UK traditional publisher, explaining the situation and asking if they were willing to re-publish my novels. They asked me to send the synopses of my first Irish novel and one of my other contemporaries. I haven’t written a synopsis for about 6 years as Rebecca only wanted a two paragraph summary of the story, so that was my first headache. However, once I sent the synopses, they asked for the full ms. In one case, the request for the full came just 90 minutes after I emailed the synopsis.
However, I now have to wait at least 2 months, because every submission is sent to a panel of 10 readers. It seems that all the positive reviews for these books on Amazon USA and UK (plus several thousand sales!) don’t count for anything.
All this has made me feel like a newbie author trying to get my first acceptance, and has left me feeling very depressed. If (the big ‘if’) they accept my first Irish book, I will probably have to go through the same process with the next 3 books in the series, which means it could be 2 or 3 years before they are all re-published. I was part way through a 5th book in the series when all this kicked off, but now I have no motivation to continue it.
Several people have suggested self-publishing, but that is a total no-go area for me. Mainly because I have never yet paid anything ‘to be published’ and don’t intend to start now, by having to ‘buy’ cover art etc.
So do I hold out in the hope of being accepted by the traditional publisher, mainly because it gets its books into stores, supermarkets and libraries? Or do I try another indie publisher, in the hope that they will re-publish my novels more quickly? That’s my dilemma at the moment, and I honestly don’t know what to do.