For Writers: Getting Your Work in Front of the Right Person
I got the edit back from Season of Crows and made the necessary corrections. Season of Crows is my 28th novel or novella since 2004. That gives me a sense of accomplishment, however, I'm still not where I want to be with writing and publishing (sales and audience wise).
I've been ruminating on writing success lately. Finding an audience (or publisher, agent, etc.) can be a matter of getting your book in front of the right person at the right moment. I was traditionally published for my first three novels (Cruel Winter, Evil Harvest, and The Dark Ones with Kensington/Pinnacle). If memory serves me right, I'd submitted a query for Cruel Winter and the first three chapters to Kensington in early 2004. They'd requested a full manuscript after that.
2004 was a busy year for our family, as we moved into a larger house with in-law quarters to accommodate my aging parents. We also had to help my parents sell their house and move.
We moved into our present house in August of 2004. I hadn't thought much about the submission to Kensington due to the moves. During the move, I had no access to my email (this was before smart phones became common). When we hooked up the computer, there was an email from Miles Lott, my then editor at Kensington. Call me about your book. I'd like to talk. I nearly fell off my chair. I called him promptly and he informed me they wanted to buy Cruel Winter.
I'd previously come close to finding a home for Cruel Winter with the now defunct Warner Books, but it just wasn't right for them. The rejection letter is in my files somewhere. It had made the rounds with other publishers with no success.
I'd gotten Cruel Winter in front of the right editor at the right time. And I shudder to think what would've happened if I hadn't read that email when I did. In all likelihood, short delay in responding to Miles wouldn't have hurt, but my horror writer brain imagined all sorts of scenarios where I missed the email and they rescinded the offer.
I'll keep going and keep promoting my works. Maybe that breakthrough will come with the 29th, work, or the 35th, or the 50th. Writing careers are long, and failure is rarely fatal. I think for the most part, a writer's career is only done when they call it quits. The best thing we can do for our careers is to keep writing, improving craft, and submitting/publishing. Success might be just over the horizon. The next book you indie publish, the next story you submit for an anthology, or the next publisher you query could be the start of great things.