The Squeaky Wheel

I have been blogging about my publishing experience for almost two years. I started off not really knowing what I was up against. By chance — not really, I have made many observations. Author’s need to have thick skins, need to be tenacious, need to be patient, and have to SPEAK OUT. Remembering, that my experience is unique and if I were to go with another publisher the experience would be that much different . So far, I only have one experience and I’m a little frustrated, I’ll admit. I have been waiting with very little correspondence. I was beginning to feel anti-climatic and began to lose all the energy I had built up. I read miles of marketing tips and created multi-platforms, told family and friends and blogged about my success. Still, no book. According to the contract 270 days from start to finish… book in hand. I’ve reached and surpassed that number. Now, I’m to understand that one year is more accurate. I’m beginning to feel like I did when I sent out my first queries and waited three months and no response only to be assured that it’s a no. What about those valuable months in between? What about courtesy, professionalism, and simple human kindness?

As I stated before, I waited five months for the first set of proofs and have been waiting three months and counting for the second set of proofs. My book is in the queue and there are so many books ahead of mine. The only positive is that I never stopped writing. I have recently uploaded a second book to submissions with my publisher and I’m about to upload a second book for review. This is where the squeaky wheel theory comes in. I called the publisher and spoke with someone about my problem. You see my contract has a first right of refusal clause. So, in my conversation I mentioned that and mentioned how I have several books ready to submit. I was encourage to send them in. So, now if my book does get printed within the next few months and the sequel is picked up then by this time next year the second book will be printed and perhaps a third. Conversely, if the book is rejected I’m free to move on to another publisher and I’ll learn how different that experience would be from this one. It’s almost as if the plumber released the valve that was stuck and building up pressure in my boiler. Hence, the squeaky wheel or tea kettle reference.

Is this blog too negative? Sorry if it is. Reality, however, is stitched right into the fabric with dreams, hopes, and aspirations. In a few months (hopefully) all this will be a mere memory and I’ll wonder why I was so anxiety ridden over this. The fact that The Summer Palace isn’t in my hand or available for pre-order at this point is troubling, for I had anticipated its arrival, mentioned it all over the place and I have no good reason to offer anyone. My publisher is simply busy with other books. Why is that okay?

Where I went wrong? Trusting in the process, thinking I’m being annoying e-mailing once a month for an update, not having a contact person, feeling beholding and afraid to upset the applecart. I can see the benefit for having an agent. I didn’t try to go around that step in the process it happened because I queried my book to several agents and this publisher happened to ask to read my MS right off the bat. Does one ever refuse such an offer?

My situation is somewhere between traditional publishing and self-publishing. The industry is in flux and perhaps, I’m right where I ought to be. Who knows what the next few months will bring? At this stage I don’t know how I’m supposed to be feeling. Am I being too over-wrought about the printing of my book, the work I have to do when it is finally in print, tracking sales and building a clientele? This is most likely the most negative blog I have written to date. It seems my new contact has been able to move things along where before I was not receiving any correspondence. Standing up for yourself and believing that your stories have merit and your characters deserve to bathe in the light of the marketplace is the key to survival in this industry.