The Maze

Monday, December 16, 2013

So I had to learn a pretty tough lesson last week.  It’s not just about working with an author to make a manuscript better; it’s not just about finding an editor who believes in the story as much as you do; it’s the will of the gods.

After MONTHS of working on revisions and waiting on acquisitions, Gabrielle’s book got a pass from Bloomsbury.  Laura Whitaker, the fabulous editor who had been working with Gabby so closely on this project and who definitely gave everything she had trying to get it through, was devastated to tell me that the acquisitions board felt that although the manuscript had a lot of merit, they didn't feel that they could take on the book in its current form.  As a pretty awesome aside, however: Laura told me that the editor for CODE NAME VERITY read the manuscript and thought that Gabby's writing was beautiful and that the story had tremendous potential!

My other author Brianna also had to deal with the heartache of acquisitions meetings for her proposal, but this experience was a little different because Laura was just so invested in Gabby’s project.  She 100% loved it and wanted to be its editor, so it was a little daunting to realize that finding an editor like that isn't always enough to turn a manuscript into a printed (or digital) reality. 

It was also very hard to have to break the news to Gabby, but we ended up having a very positive, proactive discussion about our next steps.  

The most important thing is to never let go of the fact that you may just be one move away from the prize.  I've come to think of the process of getting a book published as being like navigating a maze.  You go forward, make wrong turns, and automatically backtrack and try something new until you come out on the other side.  We've hit a wall right now, but now we know to go in another direction.

I may not post again until the New Year, since Christmas and my birthday (New Year’s Eve) are going to feel like they’re happening right after each other, which they kind of are, so I want to end this post on an inspiring note.  At least I hope it’s inspiring.  In the words of Galaxy Quest, “Never give up!  Never surrender!”  You may end up hitting a lot of walls, but the important thing to remember is to keep playing the game.

More news (and more sales) in the New Year!  I’m making 2014 my best yet!  Fingers crossed for Beth Ellyn and Sara Joiner, two of my authors who are hopefully going to be taken to acquisition meetings in January!

4 comments:

  1. Wow, that's awfully tough to deal with. My sympathies to all involved, though it sounds like you've all got a good attitude about it. Enjoy your Christmas (and birthday)!

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  2. My fingers and toes are crossed! I have a really good feeling about 2014.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a fantastic birthday!

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  3. Those are tough breaks for everyone. I think we went through a bunch of those with THE JOURNALIST... Lots of "we love it, but...". And it still sits unpublished today. It wasn't until the next ms got to Carrie that things started happening. The key element: having an agent with an uncanny ability to roll with the punches, shrug it off and get you focused on the next move - which just might be the one. Gabby will absolutely reap the benefits of this huge advantage.

    BTW - happy upcoming birthday, Carrie!

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  4. Frustrating, to be sure. But thanks for the behind-the-scenes insight. I'm still working on getting something, anything, accepted by an agent. Never really thought about how agents go through the same process with editors/publishers. Acquisition boards sound as tough and as picky as condo boards. My mother-in-law had a promising piece rejected by one because it didn't fit into a neat genre. Makes you wonder whether non-generic works have a harder time making it.

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