Parting is such sweet sorrow….~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Saying goodbye is never easy.
Most often, it’s downright messy.
Starting with last year’s loss of my beloved Sheltie to the Rainbow Bridge and continuing this year through the swift decline of a longtime personal friendship and the recent notice my publisher is turning me loose….
Yep, the publisher of my debut novel Unplayable Lie just informed me that I and others in their stable of authors are being let go.
It’s a business decision. My book didn’t sell as well as they projected.
Probably they had higher hopes for it than I did.
Most debuts don’t strike it rich. You only hear about the ones who do.
And a fictional series often takes several books before it really gets off the ground.
But publishing is a business, and this global pandemic has hit it hard.
People might be watching movies and cooking while stuck at home, but reading books doesn’t seem to be high among their tactics for survival.
We writers tend to romanticize the publishing industry. It’s the thing enabling us to get our words out to the masses, the thing helping us cross a goal off our bucket lists, the thing we need before we can rest confident we’re really writers.
But it’s a business, and sometimes we don’t want to leave our fictional world for that reality.
Gone are the days when creative folks — writers, painters, musicians, sculptors — had patrons, who took them under their wings and provided for their living expenses, giving their Muses free rein to frolic.
Today’s writer must wear ALL the hats, from creating and polishing the work to marketing and sales.
Call me naive, but when this publisher and I connected, I took them at their word. They’d perform an intensive edit on my story, publish it in several formats (including print, electronic, and audio), then promote its availability through social media and other avenues.
Um, not really.
We bogged down so long on formatting that editing, cover design, and marketing suffered, never to recover.
I’ll take my share of the blame. After all, I’ve never been comfortable hawking anything, and sending out a dozen tweets every day to “Buy my book … please!” isn’t high on my must-do list.
Which brings me to a dilemma. What should I do now?
If you have any suggestions or advice — or just want to sympathize — my ears are open.
Thanks in advance!