In these days of relentless self-promotion, we authors generally avoid sharing our bad news. Our posts and tweets, our websites and interviews emphasise the positive: a publishing deal, an interesting writers’ festival, a new creative partnership. Sometimes we talk about fighting our way through adversity to achieve a goal. But only rarely do we feature the professional setbacks we experience along the way. The message we want to get across to our readers is that we’re doing just fine!
While I’ve been lucky enough to earn a living as a novelist for quite a few years, and am still internationally published, I’ve had my share of setbacks, major and minor. Along the way I’ve become a little better at dealing with reversals. The most recent occurred not very long ago. One of my major publishers advised me by phone that, after crunching the numbers, they couldn’t justify producing a print edition of my next novel. They’d initially be releasing it in e-book only. This news came in only a month before the (then) planned publication date. The novel was part of a series, and the earlier books had been published in both print and e-book.
Some of you might say that I should consider myself lucky to be published at all, and I do, of course. But this was still a shock. It needs to be seen in the context of my being an established mid-list author with a long track record, and with every previous book having come out in a print edition.
But even the biggest publishing houses are feeling the financial crunch. They’re under massive pressure from an ever-changing market. Publishing is a business, and decisions like this are made on the basis of economics, not sentiment. Although deep down I recognised the truth of that, my feelings were at that stage stronger than logic. I knew I had to find some strategies for dealing with them before they derailed me. I had a looming deadline for another book, and I had no time to wallow in negativity.
I took the dogs out for a walk (exercise + undemanding company = calm) and gave myself a mental talking-to while doing so. Here’s the result, which I hope may help others in a similar situation. [Read more…]