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.