Thursday, April 18, 2013

Publishing Possibilities - They Seem To Be Endless! by Jannine Gallant

When I graduated from college back in 1984 (Yep I'm aging myself people!) I decided to write a Harlequin Romance. Seemed easy enough, right? I was an English major, after all, and destined to be the next big star in the publishing world. But I was willing to start small (with a familiar market) and build from there before releasing my first bestseller. So, I wrote a typical Harlequin story long hand in a notebook. Then, I upgraded from my trusty typewriter to a word processor (with floppy discs to save your work), made a few edits, and voila! finished product. I mailed that baby off to Harlequin and waited a year... At this point, I'm sure you'll all be completely shocked to hear I actually got a fix and resubmit letter back. But, alas, they passed in the end. I found an agent, however, based on the fact that Harlequin gave me a second look. Still, no contracts were forthcoming...

This was the path most of us followed, way back when. You sent out your work, where it landed in a slush pile to sit for a year or more. Even with the agent (who I now realize had no real contacts with romance editors even though she was a very nice person), the publishing houses sat on my books for months and months before saying my stories weren't quite right for their line. After years of rejection, marriage, and then babies, my writing career (if you can call it that) fizzled and died.

Enter the new age in publishing. The age of possibilities... Those babies I had were in school, and I started writing again. We'll skip the year and a half I spent with a shyster agency that only wanted to be reimbursed for copying and mailing expenses... (I later found out the owner had been charged with fraud in a couple of states) and pick up my story after I drug myself out of that nightmare. When I finally woke up and smelled the coffee, I realized much to my surprise, I now had options. There was a whole world of small presses out there where you could submit without an agent. And, drum roll, the first one I sent my latest masterpiece to, contracted me. It wasn't a done deal straight off, mind you. I was told to fix all my POV errors. What the heck did that mean? I learned what it meant, and my writing improved by leaps and bounds.

I think this is where a lot of us are in our careers. We're competent (or better than competent) writers publishing great stories with small presses. Only to discover we aren't actually making any money. As we're looking around, scratching our heads, and wondering what to do next, the indie market has exploded around us. So, I jumped on board. This time I did my research and produced what I hoped the market was looking for - a series. The first two book in the Secrets of Ravenswood are now available, with the third to follow at the end of the month. I'm not exactly slaying those Amazon rankings, but I'm trying my best with free day promos and building connections through social media and blogging. Maybe in time, this avenue will pay off.

But, I haven't given up completely on that initial dream - the one where my books are actually on shelves in stores. So, I went out and found an agent. I'm sure you see the irony in this after my previous experiences, but I'm a lot smarter than I used to be. Dawn Dowdle is with the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She represents several of my author buddies, including our very own Vonnie Davis. All have nothing but praise for her work ethic - and I see her getting results. So, has my writing come full circle? I've explored all the many possibilities out there. I've had years to practice patience, and I'm hoping now's the time it will finally pay off!

Since you, too, have been incredibly patient - listening to me ramble on and on... LOL I'm rewarding you all with a free book. Lonely Road to You, one of my Class of '85 books with the Wild Rose Press, is FREE today only on Amazon. Download it here and enjoy!

For information on all my books and buy links, please visit my website.

12 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

Ah yes. Most of us have made similar treks to where we are now in our careers. The Ravenswood books are excellent reads. As always, best of luck! You'll get there!

Barbara Edwards said...

Yep, I recognize all those details. Good luck with your new release.
Thanks for the freebie.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Margo and Barbara. Yep, I figure we've all been through it, but we have more choices now than ever before. That has to be a good thing!

Jerri Hines said...

So happy for you getting an agent. Good luck and I hope to see your books on the shelves of all the book stores!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Jerri. I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed!

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, your journey is the exact mirror image of mine. Kind of scary. The recent move has slowed me down, so I'm a bit behind you now, but my plan is to basically follow the same path. How does it feel to be the leader?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Great post. I remember mailing off hard copies to publishers and waiting...and waiting...and...

I feel like we're in the Wild West of th've so aptly written, the publishing industry. As you've so aptly written, the possibilities are endless.

You made a wise choice in querying Dawn. She's fabulous and she cares. If you're not happy, she's not happy. Best of all, she's easily accessible. I IM her often on facebook to ask a question or vent about something. I doubt few other agents give such personal service.

Jannine Gallant said...

Alison, I like the leader idea... I'll keep you posted on what works and doesn't. Maybe you can avoid some of my mistakes that way!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

ACK!!!

I tried to delete the above garbled mess, but Blogger wouldn't allow it.

I feel like we're in the Wild West of the publishing industry. As you've so aptly written, the possibilities are endless.

Jannine Gallant said...

Vonnie, you and Rachel are the reason I queried Dawn. I was tired of submitting to agents who couldn't even be bothered to read a couple of chapters before they sent me a form rejection letter. You gotta love an approachable agent!

Stacy D. Holmes said...

Congratulations on an agent! Yes, I remember doing it "the old fashioned way" too, LOL that tooks months months and years to both write and hear anything back on LOL. The industry has changed so much.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thank heavens it's changed, Stacy! Thanks for stopping by.