I have bad news and good news.
Bad: My publisher, Five Star/Cengage, is ending its mystery line and going forward only with westerns and Frontier Fiction. Those writers who had mysteries in the queue but no contract yet must start the search again….or self-publish.
Good: The novel I submitted to Five Star in October (Wishing Caswell Dead) fits the criteria for Frontier Fiction, therefore is still under consideration.
Bad: The novel I’m currently revising is a contemporary mystery. The other novel that’s almost a complete first draft, is also a contemporary mystery.
Good: I have options for these novels. I can start the search for an agent. I can submit directly to traditional publishers who accept unagented authors. I can bite the bullet and spend the money for editing, cover art, maybe formatting, and dip my toe into the world of indie-publishing.
Bad: I still don’t have this website/blog fixed up the way I want it.
Good: I’ve cleaned out the stuff that wasn’t working. Now I’m doing my WordPress homework and searching Plugins to find what I need to make the site my own. This takes a lot of time, but it’s kind of fun. And learning new stuff causes synapses to fire and new connections to form so maybe my aging brain will behave better than my aging body does.
As some of my writerly friends have said to encourage me: “When one door closes, another opens.” I’ve heard this said before but didn’t know the source or the context, so I looked it up on Brainy Quotes. It goes like this:
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
That’s pretty good advice, especially for those of us caught up in the rapidly-changing world of publishing. We might want to take an hour or so to moan and groan about the thing that has gone wrong today. But that’s it. Once the hour of whining is over, we need to move on, stay alert, see what others are doing, start thinking outside the box. and forge a new path. Okay, that might be an annoying list of cliche’s, but they tell the truth. Move on. Just do it!
J.P. McKinney says
Congrats on your proactive and courageous responses, Pat. And thanks for a great talk on self-editing last night. (Should that have a hyphen?)
Thank you for the kind words, JP. Yes, I do use a hyphen with self-editing….maybe I should look it up to make sure.
Note: I’m self-editing (again) before I email the self-editing handouts. I don’t care how many times I go through a manuscript, or even the review copy of a book, I always find something else to fix. It’s a neverending (or perhaps never-ending) story.
Arlee Bird says
It’s always something. Makes me want to crawl back into bed sometimes and just pull the covers over my head.
Tossing It Out
Wrote By Rote
That sounds tempting, Lee. Or at least turn off the phone and computer and curl up in an easy chair to watch a good movie.
Marian Allen says
I’m so sorry you lost your happy home with your publisher! That happened to me with a couple of small presses I was with, and it feels so lonely! You’re very wise, though, to see all the other possibilities available to you. Go get ’em!
If you ever need an editor my #4 Daughter does professional editing. Just sayin’. 🙂
Thanks, Marian. I’ll add your daughter to my list of potential editors. I have loved working with Five Star, so that part is sad. On the other hand, I’ve been stuck in my little rut and now it’s time to try some new things. It’s not all bad.
Susan Gourley says
Ouch about the publisher. That happened to me a few years ago. Found a new publisher and then they closed completely. It’s really tough for small presses but you have the right attitude.
The cool thing is knowing all these Colorado writers who’ve started their own presses to publish their own works and then have branched out to publish other local authors as well. This may be a growing trend.
Madeline Mora-Summonte says
Your “aging brain” is running circles around my “younger” one. 🙂
Love that full Bell quote. So, so true. Sigh.
Madeline, running in circles is exactly what it feels like sometimes. Remember when computers would go into an infinite loop and wouldn’t stop whatever they were doing?
The Bell quote inspires me to stay alert to opportunities and new ideas. I actually feel more excited than depressed because I think this big change might get me out of the rut I was finding very comfortable.
Terry Odell says
When Five Star closed its romance line, but accepted 2 more of my books (romantic suspense) in its mystery line, I went along, since I knew it would be a tough sell to find a publisher willing to take on a series that was still with another publisher. However, at that time, the ebook market was just opening up, and I tiptoed into the waters. I’m glad I did, and have never looked back. It’s a whole different world out there now. (And I was lucky–my editor decided to move on and go freelance right about that time, so I had that continuity.)
My editor also does free-lance work, and I love what she’s done for me in the past. That’s definitely a bonus, Terry. I’m not doing a series right now so both of my wips are standalone contemporary mystery. I have big decisions to make on those.
L. Diane Wolfe says
I’m sorry your publisher has decided to focus on just one genre. There are other doors and other options. I know a couple small publishers looking for mysteries right now.
Good to know, Diane. I’ll be in touch. 😀
Michelle Mach (@BeadsAndBooks) says
Hmm … maybe they chose Westerns because there aren’t as many publishers as there are for mysteries? A chance to be a “big fish” in a small pond rather than the reverse? Whatever the case, you are taking it far better than I would! Looking forward to hearing more about your books in process!
Thanks, Michelle. I’m mostly just sorry to lose a publisher I loved for the mysteries, but change is inevitable in this world. I’ve heard so many tales like this from other authors that I wasn’t terribly shocked.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
I feel like a yo-yo reading that!
Sorry your publisher isn’t taking mysteries anymore. There are a lot of options out there, though.
Does feel like going back to square one though. I have a lot to think about.
Margot Kinberg says
I know just what you mean, Pat, about the good news/bad news stuff. I’m sorry to hear the bad stuff, but I am glad you are still under consideration by Cengage. I hope it’s a ‘yes.’ As to the rest, that’s one thing I’ve had to learn about the publishing business. It’s ever-changing.
And changing now faster than ever before, Margot. There are so many new options that I have a lot of extra-curricular searching and reading to do.
Allan Emerson says
Oh Patricia, an hour of whining just isn’t enough for me. I could barely get a good whine underway in an hour. A truly satisfying whine has to be worked up to, with peaks and valleys along the way, culminating in a long snivelling snit. I started mine yesterday and figure another three or four days will be required to put the finishing touches on it. But it’s going to be a beauty when I’m done.
But then I’ll move on, just like you say. Best of luck with your search for a new publishing home. Who knows, maybe we’ll wind up under the same roof again 🙂
That would be great, Allan. If I find any interesting prospects out there, I’ll spread the word. The mystery writing community has always been very supportive, so I suspect well get a lot of information going forward.
Oops, almost forgot to comment on your amazing and most thorough snit. If it’s going to be a really good one, why don’t you get it out there on You Tube. You’ll have a mighty big audience.
Liesa Malik says
Right there with you on all this good/bad stuff. It would have been nice to hear from Five Star that the decision had something specific behind it besides, “we have made the strategic decision to focus on Western and Frontier Fiction lines.” What strategy? What do they know about the mystery market that we don’t? As we head into new opportunities, let’s look for more information from our publishers on how marketing and sales are handled. Wishing you all the success in the world.
And may great successes come your way as well, Liesa.
I don’t feel I’m locked into crime fiction to the exclusion of all other genres, but I would be interested in knowing if mysteries are taking a hit only in libraries, or maybe in bookstores as well. As far as I can tell from other writers, mysteries still seem to be doing okay as ebooks. Maybe we’ll see some statistics from MWA or Sisters in Crime soon.