A couple of weeks ago I sat in a small workshop for local writers. The discussion was suppose to be about getting an agent to help you get published. Most of the people in the room were self-published authors or those published with small publishers looking to take the next step. The speaker asked us about how often we have been rejected by publishers, agents, and editors. Everyone in the room had been rejected at least once. Well, everyone except me. I have not yet been rejected. I got very lucky.
I felt a little guilt about this (very little, don’t reassure me because it’s fine) as I drove home. I got over it quickly when I reminded myself that I had submitted the book to my publisher on a whim. See, I was going to simply publish this on my own. I had this plan in place to publish these Austen modernizations on my own and use them to build a fan base that I could then leverage to get a good deal with a big publisher. I was going to release the book this past June and then a small and brand new publisher started following my blog. They had a call out for submissions. I hummed and hawed before submitting it. It was a whim.
What helped me, I think, was a mix of things. I think I hit them at the right time and with the right book. I think I can tap them into a group of established readers with established interests that sell. Austen modernizations and variations are much bigger than even I realized. I am not sure if it impacted there decision, but I come with more material almost ready to go. I have a developed marketing plan, but I hadn’t made the decisions about the formatting and cover.
In fact, much of the reason I decided to try going through a publisher was because I was struggling with the formatting options. I didn’t know what font to pick or how to design the cover. I have ideas, but I expected to have to pay someone to do the design for me. Having Royal James handle that makes it a lot easier for me to focus on my part: promotion.
Still, I submitted it to them on a whim. I did not expect their positive response and willingness to sign me to a contract. Even moving forward, I expect rejection. I want to go to Book Expo next year with a book in hand and consider agents. I suspect I will talk to plenty who will reject me for various reason. Until then…