Friday, March 10, 2017

The Whole Story

With the upcoming release of Disenchanted & Co. in French I've been getting some e-mails about when I might be returning to traditional publishing. Let me shed some light on the subject.

It took me four years to sell my last two traditionally-published novels. I had to leave the publisher I had worked with for fifteen years in order to get them published. Once I finally secured a contract, I also wrote a free promotional e-book, created a blog for the new series, solicited the cover quotations, took a booth at a national convention where I spent three days selling myself as well as the books, had countless giveaways, sent out review copies to anyone willing to read them, and did a (for me) huge amount of self-promotion in order make the new series a success.

I didn't resent any of it, as I think those books are among the best stories I've ever written. Shortly after the print publication of the second novel, however, I started to go blind. I did have to deal with that, which I think everyone can understand took priority over continuing the self-promotion.

When I finally recovered from two eye surgeries, my publisher indicated that sales of the books would not support any new releases in the series, and I was out of a job. I failed. I was finished.

That sounds like the end of the story, but for me it was just the beginning of a new one.

As I've always preached to you, I didn't give up. I went about finding a way to still work as a professional writer. It took some time, but eventually I succeeded. Three years later I'm employed full-time as a freelance ghost writer and copy writer. I've carefully built a list of terrific private clients who employ me regularly, treat me with respect, give me enormous creative freedom, and pay me quite well.

I'm really happy, too. I no longer have to deal with anything but the writing for the very first time since turning pro back in 1998. I realize now this is what I should have been doing all along, so it's actually a wonderful thing that I failed so miserably.

Some readers feel angry or frustrated with me for not doing more to deliver new books under my byline, and I'm sorry about that. I know many of you are supportive of my work, and for that I will always be grateful. If I ever publish under my byline again, it will be for you.

That said, I need to make a living, and (just like everyone else) I want to be happy in my work. That means writing stories and copy for my clients instead of my readers. So for now, I hope you will understand and be supportive of this new chapter in my writing life.

17 comments:

  1. People are allowed to be disappointed when their favorite author stops writing, but not angry. That's taking it too far.

    I'm happy for you. I think you were brilliant to open a window when the door closed.

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    1. Thanks, Maria. I don't mind the anger so much; I know as an author I'm not often perceived as a real person. Few readers seem aware that I have bills and health problems and tough career decisions to make, just like they do. The way Publishing objectifies authors is partly responsible for this. I'll cop to the rest for being so private about my personal life. :)

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  2. You didn't fail, Lynn. They failed you. And I am so happy that you've found your happy place.

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    1. I was the one who rolled the dice on this last series, so I'm fine with taking the blame. I'd rather fail with something new that I believe in than cling to the monotony of churning out the same old thing over and over. :)

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  3. I am so happy for you and I hope you continue to enjoy and be successful, I would however be delighted if you ever get to a point where you can write Darkyn King Richards story!!! I think I have read that series 15 times, they have given me such pleasure, they are like old friends!!!Melinda

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Melinda. I'm not entirely ruling out publishing under my byline again someday, so it's always possible.

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    2. Dear Lynn, your health and happiness are more important. I would anything written by you. I have followed the Darkyn series since the beginning and will continue to do so.

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  4. You're prospering in what you do. You're happy doing it. Why explain?
    And there was no failure involved. You just took an alt-route to where you should be. ;)

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    1. I guess after answering about a dozen rather hostile e-mails I felt I needed to explain myself to the readership at large. I am really sorry everyone is so disappointed in me, but I see no point in spending more years of my life trying to get another publisher interested in my work. Even if I could come up with something super dazzling, I don't have the sales numbers to tempt them into making me an offer. For a pro at my level that is failure, plain and simple.

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  5. I'm also very happy for you. It's wonderful that you've found your niche doing work that you love. A real life happy ever after. I've always thought you have the best job and I'm rather envious.

    And I second melinka k's thought. I too have been waiting forever for Richard and Eliane's story. I was one of the ones voting for them when you did a poll back in 2009 asking for which Darkyn story to do next. (http://pbackwriter.blogspot.my/2009/01/kyn-poll-2009.html)
    So if you ever get a change to slip them in between your other work I'd be bouncing up and down too.

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    1. I appreciate your support, lxz -- and I know you've hung in there with me for a long time, too.

      To be honest, I can't tell you if I'll ever write that story. Maybe, if I can ever figure all the things involved with self-publishing, someday I might.

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  6. Hmm... I can't tell if my comment posted or not. Anyway, I completely understand. We all do what we gotta do. EC went under, although I'd been working getting those titles back. Then Samhain did the same. Now I've got a bunch of backlist titles not bringing in any money. Looking to set up a patreon account and trying to get all those backlist titles out, too. Ugh.

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    1. Hey girl. I'm so sorry to hear about EC and Samhain closing their dooors; I know it's caused a lot of headaches for you and their other authors. I hope it all works out in the end.

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    2. Things work out how they work out. Samhain, at least, didn't make anybody jump through hoops to get their rights back.

      To quote Forrest Gump... "And that's all I got to say about that..."

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  7. I think wherever you're happy is where you should be, regardless of what others expect. I'm incredibly happy you've found a new track.:D Sometimes, its what we have to do ( says the writer who is prone to switching tracks instantly when something runs its course).

    So happy writing, whatever it may be, and what keeps the lights on.:D I watched all my leads and progress in 2016 go dead-end so rounding up new paths to take. Still writing. Not sure that'll ever stop now.

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  8. I don't see any failure in your career, I do see a career change that has made you really happy. I wish you all the best.

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  9. It seems the complainers write emails and those who understand do not. If you can make a living and be happy with what you are doing, you are among the winners! I enjoy the blog, and the quilting/journal craft/photos are my favorites -- too bad you can't make a living with those - LOL!
    As for your published work - so many authors don't write the next book I want. Selfish me! And then some best-sellers go off the rails and write book after book that's not very good anymore; big tomes that should be edited down to half the size, etc So it goes . . .

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