I had been querying my fiction to literary agents and publishers for years. I had requests for partial and full manuscripts, and had my share of personal and positive responses. Yet, no publishing contract. A twenty-year lesson in rejection.
I read about a small multi-cultural publishing house that was run by a famous romance author. Since one of my novels, Paradise Found suited the line, I thought that I would query them. This novel began as an idea while on a three-week photographic assignment with my architectural photographer husband, to the exotic Seychelles Islands.
The Seychelles are 1,000 miles off of the coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean, below Madagascar. They are a pristine and scenic tropical paradise. Mostly unknown to Americans, they are a special destination for Europeans, with all-inclusive resorts on pristine beaches. It was said to have been the Garden of Eden. Anse Source L’Argent beach has been featured in Sports Illustrated. The island of LaDigue is the haunt of Mick Jagger, and the honeymoon spot for Prince William and Kate. The beauty of the beaches, tropical forests, coco de mer nuts, giant, Adelabra tortoises, Sega dancing and the multiracial population were incredible. My husband was hired to photograph a chain of resorts. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the islands and their culture. Anyway, I took notes that became a novel.
InnerVision Books contracted my novel. I was excited. I had a publisher, with an amazing editor. Sadly, the publisher decided to focus on her career, and the house closed. I was given my rights, and even cover. In turn, this became my first foray into self-publishing.
I read about a new romance line being formed by a division of Writers’ Digest. Crimson Romance was an imprint under F&W/Adam’s Media. I sent a cover letter and partial of Lab Test, my paranormal/Labrador Retriever novel. The editor showed enough interest, to have me perform a rewrite of the first chapter. I returned it promptly, and was offered a contract. I felt like Cinderella fitting in the glass slipper.
This began an exciting relationship. I had an editor who believed in me, with a big publishing house. Subsequently, I was offered contracts for other novels: Wishes and Tears, The Right Combination, Hearts of Steel, Special Angel, and Champagne for Breakfast.
As my luck would have it, my beloved editor decided to leave in the midst of editing Special Angel. My new editor had a totally different mindset. She didn’t like my writing. Whereas, my first editor loved my work, this editor told me that I sucked. That was reassuring. She had my novel edited, and I made the best of the situation. My book Champagne for Breakfast was loathed by her. She liked formula, “boy meets girl”-focused , simple romance. This book was too women’s fiction. It had secondary characters, had a Holocaust backstory, a too-old hero, and too much plot. She basically wanted me to totally rewrite the novel into a more simplistic, formula romance, in one week. Our creative differences created angst.
I asked for the rights back to this book. My thought was that I would rather self-publish, rather than mutilate the novel. The editor, gladly agreed. Realizing that she would never contract any of my future novels, and certainly wouldn’t promote my back list, I asked for rights reversion to all my novels, except Special Angel. Because she edited this novel, and I wanted to keep a foot in the door with the publisher, I kept the novel there. Not being liked was to my advantage. I got the rights back to my novels, and was free to self-publish them.
I spent the time, money, and learning curve, to self-publish my backlist.
In addition, I wrote more novels …