It’s been nearly a month since my publisher announced the latest round of bad news for my writing. The books weren’t selling. She was closing down the series.
The news came while my husband and I were camping for our anniversary. You can read all about that trip here.
When she announced the end of one shared series in February, I was devastated. At the announcement a few weeks later that she would not be publishing more books in the main series where I have six different books published and was trying to finish up a seventh, the bottom dropped out of my plans for this year. You can read about that here.
So I expected to be more upset at this latest news.
The Bad News
My publisher posted the announcement in the private Facebook group she created to connect with authors. It was a long post that started with the announcement that she’d finished paying out Amazon’s first quarter royalties.
That should have been great news, right?
Then she began to list the changes she planned to make for the various series. The owner is an astute businesswoman, and I respected her decisions.
The First Street Church series she writes hasn’t seen a new book for about a year. I’m not an expert in marketing for sure, but I believe this is one reason the other books in the “shared” series don’t sell that well. Melissa Storm is the draw to the series, but when the books she’s producing are in other series (and she’s prolific, so there’s a lot), I bet many of her readers have forgotten about this one.
Since the books aren’t making money for the small publishing company, she’s giving the rights back a couple years early. Come August 1, 2020, I won’t have any fiction published with SPP. In fact, the only fiction I’ll have is the Reflections series and the two fantasy anthologies.
I’m bummed because I’ve loved working with Melissa and the staff at Sweet Promise Press.
The worst part for me is that I paid to have the Texas Homecoming series printed, and I haven’t sold enough books to recoup that expense. Once the reversion happens, I’ll be required to take that paperback down, too. Although I maintain print rights to all my work, because I utilize Melissa’s setting and mention some of her characters, I’m obligated (and happy) to reference that in the book. Right now, it’s referenced by all the series matter in the back, but that has to come out because those books won’t be available.
Of course, I can republish all of my books if I want. But in order to do it, I will need new covers (meaning more money spent) and new titles.
And didn’t I decide somewhere along the way that I didn’t want to write romance anymore?
The Good News
I’ll admit, I wasn’t feeling like there was any good news in this. All I could see was no more revenue, a much-diminished back list and more expenses if I wanted to keep Texas Homecoming available for my readers.
But there is good news.
I am free to pursue a new genre. There will be no romance books staring at the agents and editors who checked out my Amazon page. Furthermore:
The direction I’ve been seeking all year? I think it’s clear now.
The Lord’s been closing doors and windows all around me. I’ve been wondering how to move forward.
Now that’s clear. I might pitch this new series to my small publisher because I’ve loved working with her. But it isn’t a genre she publishes at the moment, so I don’t expect her to jump on it.
And that’s perfectly okay. All it means is I’ll need to attend a conference next year. It’s time to research agents who represent my new genre. Once I get the manuscript written, I’ll need to perfect query letters and synopses and get back to shopping a manuscript.
There’s another idea—or five—in the works too. But why do I need to limit myself to a single track for publishing? I’ve learned the hard way that small publishers close their doors or revert rights on low-income-producing titles.
Remember that dead dream? I’ve mourned it. And now I’ve got a new one.
Long live the author’s pen. My story isn’t over, but it’s time for a new chapter.
What is your favorite genre to read? What stories do you wish someone would write?