Sometime ago I asked the question, To agent or not to agent?
At the time, (was it that long ago?) my agent and I had been relatively successful. We’d made a bit of money and I was still hopeful that some smart editor would read my mysteries and fall in love with my characters, my premise and my prose. I even wrote a series of adult romance novellas that I was sure would finally get me back into a traditional publishing house. The novellas were smart and good, I thought, and in the serial format that so many people want these days. Surely, someone would snatch them up.
After a long list of rejections, multiple rewrites and more rejections we did find a publisher willing to give my mysteries a try. I felt excited about being accepted finally, by a publishing house even though they were a small startup. The editor was experienced and professional, the previous projects they’d launched looked classy and interesting, and it felt good to know that this publisher was willing to take a chance on me.
In the end, I guess I just wasn’t willing to take a chance on them. I’d worked too hard, and waited too long and had nursed my projects so diligently that the thought of my books languishing away somewhere, unnoticed and unappreciated kept me up at night. It had happened to my first book ever published. I didn’t want to see it happen again.
I was left with a tough decision. Do I tell this person, my agent, the one that had been by my side this entire journey that I was ready to go it alone? After knowing that she’d worked so hard to find a home for my stories and encouraged me every step of the way that it was time to part ways?
I’d been saying for months, to myself mostly and to others when I had the courage, that if something didn’t happen by some date in the future, I would indie publish. I kept changing that date in the future, moving the goalpost, still hanging onto hope, still thinking something different would happen.
Well it never did.
So, like thousands of people before me, I’m finally doing it. The good news is, I have so much material ready for print that I’ll spend the next few months simply preparing things for publication while trying to fit writing in when there’s time. By August, two of my mysteries, The Peacekeeper’s Photograph and The Sapper’s Tomb, will be published. Sometime after that, the adult romance series of four novellas called Genuine Date, will also reach the market. And shortly after that, the third book in the Master Sergeant Lauren Harper series will be ready for publication.
Am I sorry that I started this journey by writing query letters and finding an agent? Absolutely not. As I said, we’ve had some early success with ghost writing memoirs and I would never have had those opportunities if I hadn’t been represented by one of the most patient, knowledgeable and professional women in the business. I still LOVE my agent. But I had to finally realize that a traditional publisher wasn’t going to get my stories. They weren’t ever going to agree that people who love mysteries might be intrigued by a smart, tough and yet feminine professional soldier who gets herself into and out of all kinds of interesting scrapes. My agent got it. The publishers didn’t.
So, off I go on my own. So far, it’s been an interesting, challenging and fulfilling ride. I can hardly wait to see how it will end.