Dropped

It’s finally happened. It’s over.

How to talk about this without overstating or making this into a bigger thing than it is? First of all, the bald facts: I have been dropped by my publisher. They have decided that sales of Night Shift and Human Resources aren’t good enough to justify picking up the third novel in my Antarctic trilogy and have decided to move on from me.

This is perfectly fair and, really, it’s hard to argue against. I too have been disappointed with sales (of NS; I’ve not seen any for HR yet) and I suppose the writing has been on the wall. I bear no ill-will to the publishers and wish them well. They gave me my chance and – hey – there’s nothing to say I’ll never work with them in the future. I still want people to rush out and buy my books from them!

My publisher’s decision has nothing to do with the quality of writing; they were keen to emphasise that. It’s purely a business decision, and I respect that.

But it is heartbreaking. I feel like my career is done. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Most immediately, I have the third book in a trilogy that I desperately want to get out there. I feel it’s the best in the series and provides a neat, satisfying climax to the story of Anders Nordvelt. Without it I’ll always feel like my work is incomplete – because it is. I want readers to know that there is an ending; there is happiness, of a sort, for my protagonist.

I have also lost my safety net. I have another complete, ready-to-go novel that I’ve been unsuccessfully hawking to agents. This now becomes my primary weapon. I now should be putting it out to publishers as well – but now I feel a much greater vulnerability. Without the option of Flame Tree Press, I feel rejection to a much greater degree, especially if my primary choice, the company for whom I do most editorial work, should take a look and turn me down.

I don’t dare send it out. I can’t bear the pain.

So it feels like my career is over. And I just don’t know what to do with myself.

8 thoughts on “Dropped

  1. It’s every author’s nightmare, I know. But keep in mind that there are dozens of stories out there, if not more, of authors whose first or even first few books didn’t do well in the marketplace, but who came back from that and now have quite successful careers (Victoria Schwab and George R.R. Martin both come to mind). Most of us don’t do well right out of the gate, and many of us only sort of succeed for a long time before achieving that “success” metric we have in our heads.

    I’ll be looking for you in the usual places, which in this case is the shelves of my local bookstore, online, and at future events. And of course here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Michael. I really appreciate the support and encouragement. I’ll keep on keeping on and I know I’ll make it (whatever that means) one day.

      Thanks again, and keep on doing your excellent work yourself

      Like

  2. Don’t give up! I need to know how it all ends for Anders …..
    Seriously, one of the (many) difficulties of being a writer is that you spend a lot of time contemplating the keyboard, if not your navel. Rejections of any kind cut deep and are soooooo tempting to dwell upon, ruminate upon and catastrophise over. But as the previous message says, many highly successful authors had a slow start.
    Give yourself a break. Allow yourself time to mourn the closing of one door (set a time limit!). Buy yourself a drink/book/treat of choice. And then start rattling the handles of other doors … one will surely open.

    Like

    • Thank you so much for the kindness and empathy. I’m currently agonising over editorial work (and I’m in the middle of moving house) so a break is somewhat enforced, but I will return stronger and better than ever. And I’m sure I’ll find some way to get Anders’ finale into the world, though heaven, at the moment, alone knows how that’s going to happen.

      Thanks again, and the very best to you

      Like

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