That’s My Plan and I’m Sticking to It #Publishing

No one is wild about change, and it usually happens when you least expect it. Several weeks ago, my publisher informed me they would no longer be considering new material from me. I wasn’t entirely shocked, given Cusp of Night and End of Day have not followed in the path of my previous releases. A Thousand Yesteryears, A Cold Tomorrow, A Desolate Hour, and Myth and Magic did very well for Lyrical Underground/Kensington Publishing, and they expected the new series to perform in the same vein. Sadly, those numbers have been lacking. To top it off, the senior editor who liked my work, and requested new material from me, took a position with Marvel shortly after contracting Cusp of Night. I believe he would have taken another series given my past numbers, but the new editor is not inclined.

So now what?

Directional arrows pointing different ways

If nothing had changed, I would have been happy to continue submitting books to Kensington, but their decision has made me re-evaluate what I want to do moving ahead. As I see it, I have three options:

Seek out an online publisher
Indie publish
Try to gain an agent and go after the Big 5 publishers

Each has its own value. I’m not sure I want to go with a small press, although there are several with excellent reputations. I’m more likely to go Indie or seek an agent. I spent one night thoroughly bummed over Kensington’s decision, but can’t say I was shocked. The same thing happened to two friends last year. I have no idea why my Hode’s Hill series has not performed like my previous books, especially given I dumped more paid promo and online promotion into Cusp than previous works. Maybe the type of books just didn’t resonate with readers like the others did. It’s puzzling.

A woman with confused expression, thinking, question mark above her head

I won’t miss the deadlines (the last one nearly did me in), though I will miss the promo Kensington did for my books, especially Book Bub. I am, however, a strong believer in fate, and that everything happens for a reason. I have to trust that this is part of God’s plan for my life.

With that in mind, I hope to seek an agent while releasing a few indie works. My current WIP, The Keeping Place, is mainstream mystery with just a twinge of folklore. No monsters, creatures, or ghouls, just the hint of an old legend from the 1900s. It’s a different direction for me, so perhaps the timing is good. I have a lot of faith in this book, and feel it will end up the strongest of anything I’ve written. Once finished, I hope to approach an agent for representation—although I dread the research involved.

In the meantime, Eventide, book three of my Hode’s Hill series, will release the end of December through Kensington. I’ll be jabbering more about that as the time nears.

I have a book of short stories I originally planned to indie publish the end of summer or early fall. I’ve now decided to hold that until April of 2020, as I’d like to continue to strive for two releases a year. That also gives me plenty of time to play with cover design. I’m still not settled on the title, but this book will include a story I hope to spin into an ongoing series of novellas. Remember the name “McDoogal.” 🙂

I also have plans for a string of novellas featuring a character from my Point Pleasant series. If that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m going to have to re-release my older works as the rights release back to me. And I thought I was juggling too much with a full time job before. Oy, vey!

I’ve got a lot to wrap my head around, but it won’t stop me from writing. I’ve dilly-dallied long enough not trying for the Big 5. This is the push I needed. It’s time I buckle down and search for an agent. And in the meantime, I can stay active with smaller indie publications.

So, that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it!

87 thoughts on “That’s My Plan and I’m Sticking to It #Publishing

  1. I’m sorry to hear you’ve hit a bump in the road. You seem to be handling it in stride, but I know how much it stings. When I first started writing, I had this idea that the writing path would be linear, but it’s been full of twists, turns, ups, downs, and false starts. I’m finally walking my path as an indie author, but it’s scary at times. Exhilarating, but scary! I am so glad to hear you are finding a path for you that is that wonderful combination of exhilarating and scary too. I know you will totally rock it! 🙂

    And McDoogal makes me think of the family from Monarch of the Glen. I know it’s a different spelling, but I did enjoy that show. I’m definitely intrigued.

    Best of luck! I can’t wait to see what word-magic you conjure!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi, Denise. Thanks for the wonderful words of support and encouragement. I’ve dabbled with indie releases in the past–I have one novel and two novellas that I released on my own, so at least it’s not completely foreign to me. It’s mostly a matter of time and the extra promotion I’ll have to do, but I have a good support network and there are a lot of affordable paid options out there. I think I’ve been writing long enough and am old enough to realize nothing is ever set in stone, so I just have to take it in stride and keep plugging along.

      Thanks for your wonderful words. And BTW, I loved Monarch of the Glen! I had forgotten about that show 🙂

      Like

  2. I’m going to blow your mind and say, congratulations! Why? Because instead of wallowing and wailing, you’re so positive about this bump in the road. Me? I’d have lost my shit. But you, you make lemonade. Kudos Mae. You’re an inspiration. I’d publish you if I worked at the Big Five!

    I think it’s a solid plan and I’m rooting for you from my little corner of the world ❤️

    Liked by 5 people

    • Aww, thanks so much, Jess! 🙂 I admit I had one night of wallowing and feeling sorry for myself, but after that it was get back at it and come up with a new plan. And honestly, the deadlines have been killing me. This gives me a bit of a break and also gives me freedom for experimentation while I continue to work on The Keeping Place. Thanks for the positive mojo, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. They say these things happen for a reason, even though our first response is usually a disappointment. But I like to believe that as one door closes, another will open…
    I am sure a lot of us are thinking along the same lines, so will be watching your progress with a great deal of interest. Loving your positive attitude too…

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Best of luck, Mae. Change is always a challenge but you sound like you’re up for it. I love the Hodes Hill Series. It just goes to show. Probably more to do with the new editor than the books. Anything I can do to help, let me know. And my blog is always open to you and other authors 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s so sweet of you, Harmony. Thank you!

      Change is definitely a hurdle, but I’m a type A personality which means I have no option except to tackle it. In many ways I feel a huge weight has been lifted from me…in other ways I feel rudderless. It helps to have plan and goals to follow. Off on a new adventure, I go! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It sounds like you have a solid plan with lots of terrific ideas ready to find their way into print (or digital!). Whatever path you choose (an agent would be insane to pass you up!), I know you’ll be a success. I’m wishing you the absolute best with all your endeavors and looking forward, as always, to your next release!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, Erin, that is so sweet of you! Thank you for those wonderful words of support. It’s hearing comments like this the make me believe better opportunities lie ahead.
      Many, many thanks! 🙂

      Like

    • Heehee. Thanks, Priscilla! There’s still a final Hode’s Hill coming, which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as the first two books. Thank you for your awesome support.
      I’ve got my plan all laid out, and I’m ready to soar!

      Like

  6. Mae, I agree that things happen for a reason and believe God has big plans in store for you. The Keeping Place sounds intriguing! Look forward to Eventide’s release and your book of short stories. I’m confident you’ll find the right path.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Joan. God has guided my life this far in all aspects, so I trust He’ll lead me in the right direction and whatever will be will be (and now I hear Doris Day singing, LOL).Thank you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry to hear about Kensington, Mae. Like you, I also believe things happen for a reason, and there’s another path you’re meant to take. Personally, I think a Big 5 would be crazy not to swoop you up. Wishing you tons of luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Teri. So much of publishing is about being in the right place at the right time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find an agent who would like to represent me, and I’ll make a go of it from there. There are also several small presses that have excellent reputations and are a consideration. Time will tell where I go, but at least there are options open to me!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I started writing the Muddy River series because when I finished The Body In the Gravel, Kensington didn’t know if they’d want another book from me or not. And I didn’t feel like sitting around, waiting, to see what they’d decide. My editor likes me–like your editor liked your work–but there are just no guarantees that a new editor will feel the same. I feel better being a hybrid author, self-publishing and having a publisher because I think mid-list authors are having a tough time of it with publishers. I’ve heard of a few romance authors who didn’t get new contracts, too. Kensington finally signed me again, but who knows if they will the next time? Good for you for going in new directions!

    Liked by 4 people

    • After the success you’ve had with your Jazzi series, Kensington would be foolish not to continue working with you! That said, I think you made a great decision indie pubbing your Muddy River series. Being a hybrid author is the best of both worlds. I agree it’s getting hard for mid-list authors these days and number crunching is really taking precedence. I am so glad you have an author at K who believes in you and your work. I’m also glad that you’ve embraced other options as well. I’m hooked on both of your series!

      Liked by 1 person

    • “A force to be reckoned with.” Wow, did that make me grin, Craig. Thanks for the vote of confidence and also for all your awesome support. Reading comments like yours makes me grateful to be part of such a fantastic writing community!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I also believe everything happens for a reason, Mae. Sometimes these changes are the catalysts that push us to try something new and lead us to greater heights. It sounds like you have a plan and that’s a great start. I’ll be curious to see how your search for an agent goes (and I think you’re smart to avoid small publishers based on where you are in your publishing journey). Good Luck!

    Liked by 3 people

    • This change has definitely pushed me out of my comfy little nest, Diana. There are a handful of small presses I have great respect for, but I feel like I should try to take a bigger leap. Who knows, I might fall flat on my face, but I’d regret not trying. I dread searching for an agent, but it’s part of the journey, so I’m going to have to suck it up and plod ahead. Many thank for the well wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry to hear about Kensington. I like their books but I don’t get the decision. I skimmed through your books on Amazon–tons of great reviews. People love your writing. And they all seem to sell about the same.

    I remember losing my first agent. I ended up self-pubbing and am happy to be there. Good luck, Mae!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacqui, it’s good to hear self-publishing is working for you. I know many talented authors who are successful with it. I may very well end up going that route as I shop for an agent on my current WIP. The one thing I don’t want to do is lose the momentum I’ve built. Thanks for the well wishes! 🙂

      Like

    • LOL! Thanks, Natalie. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn, right? I’m going to view this as a temporary setback and forge ahead. Thank you for your fabulous support, belief in my work, and friendship!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My goodness, Mae. I almost feel perplexed at the news. I’m currently reading, End of Day and am absolutely loving it. I honestly think so far, it’s one of your best books to date. I can’t see what Lyrical press’s problem with it is! I don’t think it’s your books, Mae. Companies just like to change things from time to time. Anyway, your plan sounds like a good one and I wish you all the best of success with it. You’re a brilliant writer, Mae and I hope you make the big five.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Hi Mae,
    Instead of sorry, I’m going to say congrats on your next big adventure! You’re a strong writer with a huge following. Readers don’t pay attention to where the book came from, they pay attention to the author’s name- your BRAND.
    Going hybrid is a sound idea, the best of both worlds. Have you looked into Montlake? I don’t believe they require an agent (or didn’t) and they do exceptional work with their writers.
    You’ve got this!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oooh, I love your comment, Jacquie! I am looking ahead to the “big adventure” of where I go from here. I’m not familiar with Montlake, but I will check them out. Thanks for the lead and for reinforcing the fact it’s my brand. I’ve worked years to get where I am now, and don’t want to take a step backward. I’ve got some hills to climb, but I intend to tackle them. It’s nice to know I have so many friends and readers cheering for me along the way!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So sorry to hear that. As they say, “When one door closes, another opens.” And you’ll find yours I’m sure. Look it at a chance to try something different. Do they plan to keep selling your books they’ve already published or will you get those rights back? I don’t blame you for not going small press. While they are good to work with, it’s hard to make any money there and they keep closing there doors. I’ve had a few friends published friends with small press who have had to look for a new small press or think about indie publishing. I’m sure you’ll make more sales with indie publishing with your marketing know-how. I know you’ll miss bookbub unless you can afford it yourself. They’re pretty expensive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m focused on a new door opening, Kim. I’m being pushed out of my comfy nest and have to find a new place to land. The good thing is there are several options available for me. Kensington will continue to market my books until the rights on each revert back to me (which will be at various times, depending on when we signed the initial contracts). At least all of those reissues won’t hit me at one time, because I will have to re-release each as indie pubs with new titles.

      I got my start in a small press before being picked up with Kensington, where I am still a mid tier author. It was an excellent learning curve, and now I’m ready to explore other options. BookBub is a force to be reckoned with, but even if I go strictly indie, I won’t rule it out entirely. Sometimes you have to spend money to make a splash. At least I don’t have to make a hard and fast decision in the immediate future, for which I am grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Darius. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I love the input! I completely agree with you about keeping the momentum going. It would be easy to roll over and wallow in despair, but it doesn’t gain anything. I am in this industry for the long haul. I’ve been writing since I was six, and I had a great ride for the last seven years with a publisher. Nothing lasts forever. It’s time for me to tough it out, dive back in, and find a new path. Indie publishing is something I will certainly be exploring. Thanks for the well wishes. They are much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That news can throw anyone into a spin, my friend. Been there done that and am still wearing the tee-shirt. Hybrid sounds like the way to go for the moment. Your writing deserves to be widely read, Mae. If I may quote Maya Angelou “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” You chose not to wallow and have already made that life-changing decision. You rock, Mae. Bravo!❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for being in my corner, Soooz. I love the quote you shared! I definitely can’t control what happens to me, but I can ask God to help me roll with the changes and carve a new path. I am so blessed by friends like you. Hybrid is looking damn good to me right now. Onward, I say! {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thoughts like that melt my heart, Linda. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends. it’s a rough business we’ve chosen, and certainly not for the faint of heart. There are tears and there are victories. We celebrate them together, and it is those celebrations that give us the strength to step into new territory. I’m able to look ahead because of the awesome support I’ve had reaching this point. Thank you, my friend!

      Liked by 3 people

  15. The saying, “Everything happens for a reason,” comes to mind. And the reason from the Publisher side is strictly about dollars. I’m sorry that Kensington dropped you, but it’s happening to lots of authors. And you are right about your options. You are a super talented writer! All any agent or editor needs to do is look at your catalog to know that. Whatever direction this new change takes will be for the best, because you believe in yourself and in God and with those two, you cannot fail! I am a huge fan of your work, so I will read whatever you publish, however you publish it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m humbled by that wonderful comment, Jan! It’s strange how easy it is to fall into a rut and think everything will continue along the same vein without disruption. And then the wake up call comes, and it shakes the foundation you’ve grown used to. Fortunately, I have my faith and my friends to support me, which gives me the conviction to keep trying. I have heard of several authors facing the same situation I find myself in. No sense wallowing in the mud. I’m too old for that, LOL.

      Thank you for your amazing support. I so appreciate your kind words.I am truly blessed to have friends like you. HUGS!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Five Links 6/28/19 Loleta Abi | Loleta Abi Author & Book Blogger

  17. My advice is to not go with a small publisher. They can’t do a whole lot more for you than you can do for yourself with marketing. (I’ve had experience with this.) They just take part of your royalties. I would do exactly what you are planning. Go ahead and indie publish while you’re seeking an agent. Since this blog has a really nice following, be sure to keep it up and let everyone know about your new releases. And, hopefully, your friends will keep pimping your books. 🙂 Now that you are going to do some indie publishing, word of mouth is going to be more important than ever.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Lauralynn. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m kind of leaning away from a small press but I guess time will tell as I delve in deeper. Time is the crucial element for me. It’s hard managing a writing career with a day job and I know indie is going to put a lot of extra work on my shoulders. But so is finding an agent.

      As I’ve often said…the writing life is not for the faint of heart! 🙂 At least I know what to expect on the path ahead. And I definitely want to keep my blog more active, especially now that I won’t have huge deadlines hanging over my head!

      As always, a pleasure to have you drop by!

      Like

  18. So much encouragement and positivity here, and I can certainly add mine to the pile. Anyone entering the bear pit of professional publishing has my unqualified admiration because, as you know, it scares me sick! But I like the ‘force to be reckoned with’ comment and I can certainly align myself with that. Be strong? Of course you will be. Be successful? No question. You have a natural aptitude for marketing and you write great books!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! Thanks for that awesome support, Frederick. It means a lot coming from someone whose work I admire so much. There are a lot of pitfalls in the publishing industry and marketing seems to be getting harder instead of easier, but I’m sticking with the whole warped bundle. Kicking and screaming, but I’m hanging tough.

      And I know how you feel about publishing, but I’m still patiently (er, maybe not so patiently) waiting for that book of short stories you’re working on. Yes. Remember that discussion? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Yes, I do. It’s actually up there on Kindle. I got as far as the publishing and I’ve done nothing since, because I don’t like the cover! I’m not well organised, like you, Mae. I tend to wander off, if you know what I mean?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Frederick, I thought I replied to this, but I don’t see men reply listed here. Who knows what I might have attached it to!

      I checked on Amazon but can’t find anything. Is it only available through Amazon UK? Do you have a title you can give me? I want to check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome! With the title I was able to track it down and just bought a copy. I look forward to reading it! I post reviews of everything I read now on my blog, so I’ll be sure to let you know when it posts!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m so sorry to hear this news, MC. You know I love your books, so keep writing. I’m an indie author myself and HATE marketing, so if you can find a small publisher who can help you with that, do it!
    I know I need to work on marketing my books, which much be 6 millionth on Amazon, but I do sell in New England. Fingers crossed that you land in just the right spot!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Noelle. I know you do wonderfully in New England! I’ve done a few things locally with varying degrees of success, but nothing like you’ve had. I’d really like to find more outlets for selling in my region.

      I’m not big on marketing, but it’s a necessary evil. I’m still undecided about a small press, as most of them seem to do only minimal as it is. With that in mind, Indie seems more appealing while I search for an agent. I guess time will tell 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words, friendship, and advice!

      Like

  21. What a lousy turn, Mae, but as everyone else has said, another door will open. So many opportunities! My TBR list gets pushed back every time you release a new book (and I can’t wait for Eventide). If you’re digging more into the mystery genre, I know an agent you can query 😉 Whatever you choose to do, you will succeed! And ‘Hi’ to Raven 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m definitely slanting more toward mystery, Julie. I just need to finish the WIP first before I can start poking around for an agent, but I may come calling asking for a name when the time comes. I’m still highly excited about Eventide (I love the mystery I wove into it) and I won’t be breaking ties with Kensington completely. They still own the rights to my books until things lapse (I am NOT looking forward in the work involved in re-releases. Ugh!).

      I already seeking out those other doors 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m sorry to hear this and very surprised! You know what an enormous fan I am so I’m a little puzzled, but then again I know nothing about publishing! I’m sure you will continue to be successful whichever route you take and I cannot wait to read the next in Hode’s Hill and am especially excited about The Keeping Place 🙂 Sounds fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, thanks, Jen. There are plenty of down days when I question why I stick with this crazy, topsy-turvy, often hard industry, but I love it too much to walk away. Thank you for all of your awesome support. I’m going to continue to plug along, even if it’s only at a snail’s pace. I’m excited about the releases I have coming up (I just added a fun novella), and plan to polish The Keeping Place until it shines. Off to find an agent I go 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne, thanks for the input and the well wishes. I’ve released a few indie titles before, so perhaps I will become a hybrid author. Right now I’m focusing on some indie releases and then time will tell. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Like

  23. Yowza that seems like it would hurt – so sorry – & am heartened by your choosing to forge ahead with aplomb. I just reblogged D. Wallace Peach’s excellent review of your book.

    I’d love if you’d guest blog post for my site. Perhaps something on your experiences with traditional vs indy? Any suggestions for editors, graphic artists, publicity, etc? if you’re so inclined, here’s a link to general guidelines:

    https://happinessbetweentails.com/2018/01/29/got-1-to-3-great-photos-or-illustrations-an-article-300-words-or-less-that-youd-like-published-on-happiness-between-tails/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, da-AL. I’ve had to adjust to a new normal when it comes to publishing, but I still intend to seek out the traditional route again even as I indie pub several titles. Thanks for the visit, the reblog of D. Wallace Peach’s review of my book (that’s so nice of you!) and the invitation to guest blog.

      I’ll check out the general guidelines. I’d love to, I’m just not sure time will permit me. I regularly blog on another site as well (StoryEmpire.com) and have committed to a Halloween blog tour for October.

      You have a cute site (I just followed) and I look forward to seeing your posts even if I don’t manage the time to submit something. Thank you again!!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. WOW – I am deeply sorry of what occured to you. We are always throughout your network to support, help and assist as well. I am very much confident you will come back stronger and more creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, I wanted to buy one!! That’s why I asked about it, LOL! You know how much I love your short stories, and now I will have a collection of them. And your conversations with Black Crow were some of my favorite moments. Really looking forward to the read!

      Liked by 1 person

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