Friday, September 17, 2010

New Ventures

Earlier this week I received the news every writer dreads: an email from my agent telling me my latest book had been turned down. There was some softening of the blow: the publisher thought the story excellent, equally as good as the previous two they had published; and she considered me a very good writer. Unfortunately, though my previous books had received good reviews in the US, this hadn’t translated into sufficient sales. Given that any new publisher my agent might approach would immediately look at my previous sales figures, the likelihood of my having this or any other new book accepted in the current climate are equivalent to the survival of a snowball in hell. Does that mean that after twenty-eight books my career of over thirty years has come to an abrupt and ignominious end? Not if I can help it.
Yes, for the rest of that day I felt really low. But there are times in life when a hefty kick out of one’s comfort zone can be a good thing. I’ve read about e-publishing, and felt awed admiration for authors who, taking all the formatting requirements in their stride, have achieved considerable success. With a brand new mss to offer which my previous publisher likes very much, I’m going to give it a try. I’ve chosen one which, if they accept the new book, will also consider previously published books – of which I have several now out of print. I also plan to explore the short story and serial market. This will be a challenge as I’ve always preferred the larger landscape of a novel. But we’re told that trying something new is what keeps the brain young. Having recently changed my Windows XP laptop I’m still finding my way around Windows 7 which no longer supports Outlook Express, so that meant learning a new email system as well, AND a different edition of Word, I’m not sure my brain would agree. So when I’m found curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea, chocolate biscuits and a pile of Women’s magazines I shall be involved in vital market research.

Jane Jackson


Lynne Connolly said...

Oh Jane, how awful for you! It does happen, though. I had one rejected last year from Mills and Boon. They said I spent too much time in the hero's head. I rewrote it and sent it somewhere else, and thank goodness, they liked it.
But it's a blow and a real sinking stomach feeling when it happens. The very best of luck in your new career, and if you think I can give you any help, contact me.

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I'm so sorry, Jane. It's a horrible thing to happen. I think you're quite right to look for a new way forward. If one door closes, there usually is another door opening - though it often appears in an inexpected place.

The very bext of luck and don't lose heart.

kate tremayne said...

Sorry to hear your news, Jane. The recession does seem to be hitting the publishing trade. You are an outstanding writer with a talent for giving us some very different backgrounds and memorable characters to enjoy. This is just a blip and by regrouping and revaluating your star will shine even brighter in the future.

Amanda said...

Commiserations, Jane, it never gets any easier does it? Rejection is always hard and I think that aspiring authors sometimes don't realise that even multi-published authors can have a book rejected. Market conditions dictate a book's fate and even excellent books like yours can find themselves on the wrong end of a downturn in the market.

I think the idea of epublishing the book is a good one, so is the idea of writing short stories. I've written a few recently, after many years of novel writing, and I find I really enjoy it. The idea of tea, biscuits and women's mags is also very appealing :)

Jane Jackson said...

Lynne, Elizabeth, Kate and Amanda,

Thank you all so much for your heart-warming support. It's greatly appreciated. Onward and upward!

Anonymous said...

Commiserations, Jane. Your "onward and upward" attitude is brilliant, and admirable. Well done you. And I hope your new direction really works out for you. I'm sure everyone on the blog here will be rooting for you and your books.

Jane Jackson said...

Thanks, Joanna. I've been deeply touched by the kindness and support of my fellow writers. For the first few hours I felt as if I was falling without a parachute. Then I pulled myself together. I haven't lost my imagination: merely the medium through which I was expressing it. It's going to be fun - and another vertical learning curve - exploring alternatives.