Sunday, 18 March 2012

Help!

It's been a while since I've had a blank post to fill. Over the past month, I've had posts telling you to visit other blogs, I've been tagged to share information about myself and excerpts from my WIP... I almost  feel like I've forgotten how to write a post!

But lo! - there is something I'd like to take your advice on. Please read on...

I've just about completed my WIP, a collection of stories which I'm suddenly scared to submit. Yesterday, I realised that my publisher doesn't actually publish collections. 
I'm currently torn between abandoning the project and writing something else, or writing a killer query that will explain why I think these stories work together. (If my publisher is reading, I am so, so sorry - I'm usually very good at reading and obeying submission guidelines!)

I really believe in this WIP. I've been working on it for a long time, and I still get goosebumps when I reach the final pages of the final story.

My options are:

  1. Sending off the query. In doing this, I'll be fulfilling the obligations of my current contract which asks for first refusal on similar works. If rejected, I can then consider another publisher or - gulp! - going it alone.
  2. In my killer query as it stands, I've explained that these stories could be standalone novelettes, thereby showing that I do understand the guidelines, but blatantly pointing out that I've chosen to ignore them, and risking my publisher's ire.
  3. Not sending this WIP to my publisher, or to anyone else. If I send it to someone else, I'll be ignoring the obligations of my contract and annoying my publisher who's been fantastic. However, by not submitting this WIP, I'll have to start something from scratch, and currently I have nothing in reserve.
I see so many pros and cons with all the options that my head is spinning. So I really want to know...

What would you do?

43 comments:

  1. If your publisher doesn't accept short story collections in the first place, then I would seriously look at approaching another publisher or going it alone. It's a tough one. Sorry, I'm not much help. Someone else might come up with something better for you. Best Wishes.

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  2. Or consider publishing it yourself.

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    1. That is one of the options - my dad's keen to help me!

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  3. I would just explain what happened to the publisher and see if they still want to look at it. If they don't, then you are free to do whatever you want with it. (It might be a little embarrassing that you wrote something they don't accept, but you could just say that's what you were inspired to write, and will now work on something else.)

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    1. I don't think I'd be embarrassed - I write, and sometimes it gets published - it wasn't written for that publisher. But I agree it would give me the freedom if they reject me.

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  4. I think I'd go for numbers 1 or 2, with a little leaning toward 2. If you love it so much, don't abandon it!

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  5. Could you contact your publisher, say you have a collection you'd like published and as they don't usually publish these you'll be subbing elsewhere ... unless they'd like a look first.

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  6. I like Cindy's and Patsy's ideas. It seems like you should be able to just send them the query, saying you realize it's not what they do, but you are obligated to give them first right of refusal. I'm sure they will appreciate that you gave them the option.

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    1. Yes, that's the way I'm thinking about it.

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  7. I would send the query to your publisher telling them what you just said in the blog...you know it isn't within guidelines, but you have enjoyed working with them and I want to offer it to them first. I would also assure them, either way, you will write something that fulfills your contract obligation. Then the ball is in their court. If they say no, you send it somewhere else.

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  8. Talk to the people at your publisher. You have to give them the opportunity to tell you no, but you might want to warn someone in case they really aren't at all interested in that sort of work. If they say no without even seeing the query letter than you're good, you've made everyone happy and you'll be free to send it on its way.

    Also, Elizabeth has a really great point about saying that you do plan to write something that's more to their style in the future.

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    1. Good idea. I think everyone is making good points!

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  9. Try it with your publisher. If they love them as much as you do, they'll bend the rules for you. If not, go your own way.

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  10. I guess its basic etiquette to let your publisher get to see the work first. If they are not interested either in the Ms before or after reading it...you will be guilt free to try other publishers who print short collections. The fact you were traditionally published will definitely help in querying others. Good luck

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  11. You are under no obligation to write the kind of work the publisher accepts, so no need to feel embarrassed about producing a collection of stories when they're not looking for that. However, I think you do need to let them know that's the kind of work you've written and ask if they want to see it before moving on to other publishers.

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    1. Thanks Dianne, after reading the comments here, I think that's the best way forward.

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  12. I agree with the others who are saying that you should give them first refusal, telling them you know it doesn't fit the remit but that you thought they should have the opportunity to see it first if they want to. Best of luck with that - I'm dying to read them!

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  13. I won't add my echoes to the excellent advice you've had already, just wanted to say good luck!

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    1. Thanks Sarah. Blogger's playing up tonight, I thought a comment I wrote to you had posted! Fingers crossed for this one.

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  14. If you love it and get goosebumps then you absolutely cannot abandon it! Maybe submit it and see what they say, then take it from there :)

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    1. Although it was option 3, I don't think I could have abandoned it really. Too much heart and soul, plus it's got the most gorgeous hero ever in it. I'd marry this guy! He's my perfect bloke!

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  15. I've done it! I've sent it. And breathe... :-) Thanks for all the great advice. You confirmed what I was thinking, I just needed to know I wasn't being a total 'newbie'!

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  16. Glad you found the support you needed to make the decision, Annalisa. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks - back to the nail-biting! Don't you just love that whole feeling of exposure and panic we put ourselves through?!

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  17. I'd go with #1. Since you have to submit to them first. If you believe that strongly in the project, go for it. Perhaps you could suggest they publish it as a series? Is that a possibility?

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    1. The series idea is a good one, Mary :-)

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  18. Not that I know diddly-squat about publishers having not got one myself (sob), but my advice would be to give your publisher first refusal and then they can't complain when it becomes a million dollar best seller!

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    1. I love your attitude... million dollar best seller, here I come lol

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  19. Ooh, ooh, ooh! Scary but exciting too. So hard to know what to do. It's a hard decision, but I think you deserve to give your stories a chance. Go for it! Live the dream and give us all good news!

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    1. I'm living the dream if the dream is paranoia and second-guessing lol. But I decided if I didn't ask, I'd never know! Good advice in general... apart from when asking boys out at school!

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  20. I think I'd go with option #1. They can refuse it, if they see fit, and then you are free to do as you please. Good luck!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. Exactly. And I've always got a Plan B stewing, just in case!

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  21. Whatever you do, don't abandon in. There's some great advice in the comments here.
    Talk to your publisher first, if they don't want it, make sure you can do it alone (see your contract).
    If you can, I would publish each story separately, giving first one away for free to lure in the readers, then at a discount price publish the anthology. Make it worth while for the readers to buy the anthology than each story by itself. I've seen this done successfully.
    Just a thought.
    Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks Marta, that's really good advice. My problem with self-publishing is that my business head has never developed properly.

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  22. Absolutely, absolutely submit it. I think it's definitely worth the risk. Then if you get a no, you can, like you said, look elsewhere or do it yourself. I'm actually working on doing a collection myself as well. Very exciting :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sarah, and enthusiasm!

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Please comment - I love a good chat!