Friday, November 10, 2017

Life After Death or What to Do When Your Publisher Dumps You by Jacqueline Seewald

Last week, Susan Oleksiw discussed what Five Star/Gale/Cengage authors are doing now that all the fiction lines except Westerns have been killed by that publisher. We discussed how we mourned the loss but as a group have continued our writing in many directions. I want to consider this topic further.

First, let me say that I have been published by countless small presses and several larger ones as well. It’s never easy when a publisher goes out of business, drops the line you write for, or simply won’t publish your future work. There are many reasons for all of these sad situations. Mostly, they are business-related. The publisher didn’t sell enough books and didn’t make enough money to justify continuing publication. It’s hard not to take it personally, but it is a business decision and really doesn’t reflect on the quality of writing. So many great writers were unknown or unsuccessful during their lifetimes. But of course that doesn’t help the writer in this lifetime.

So what is the answer? What should you do when your publisher dumps you? There are several possibilities. One is to look for an agent who will represent your work to major publishers. If you already have an agent who doesn’t seem to be working for you, it could be time to part company and start querying others. Publishers Lunch is a good source to follow in this regard. Agents are listed as to recent sales.

Another possibility is to send your work out to smaller publishers on your own. Do some googling to see which ones are publishing work similar to yours. Then send out query letters.

Can’t find another publisher for your book? Perhaps you need to revise it, especially if an editor or an agent has given you useful suggestions.

Finally, if none of this works, you can always try self-publishing. Hire your own editor, cover artist, etc.

For me, it’s been best to find new publishers for my writing. So I will have a new mystery published by Encircle in April followed by a YA novel with Black Opal. I’ve also sold several new short stories and articles to various publications.

On November 8th , THE BURNING, a novella I wrote, was published by Annorlunda Books. To celebrate, I’m giving away at least one print or digital copy of this new release. Drop a comment on my current personal blog if you want to be entered:

We writers simply need to carry on with work that matters to us and never give up.
What suggestions do you have for writers in this situation? Five Star authors, what are you doing at this time? What new possibilities do you see for yourself?
Your comments most welcome here!!


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

All GREAT ideas, Jacquie! I self published the soft cover and electronic versions of The Visionary after 5 Star ended their line of WF/Romance books.

Good luck and God's blessings

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for stopping by, Pam. The Five Star WF/Romance line was first-rate. I read the appreciated The Visionary among others fine books.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Thanks for continuing the discussion, Jacquie.

Although I've just signed a three-book contract with Midnight Ink, I still have another Anita Ray book almost ready to go. I was thinking of self-publishing it but I'm also leaning towards finding a small press to take it on, perhaps Encircle or another.

It's nice to have opportunities and choices.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Congrats on the three book contract with Midnight Ink which has an excellent reputation! Thumbs up!

Ellen Dye said...

Well said! I'm loving that you took the time to write about this. As a published author myself for more than 20 years, I've been in the position of losing a publisher for all sorts of reasons more than several times. I think it's so important to always look for other venues and not give up :)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Ellen,

Thanks for commenting. Like you, I've been writing for a good number of years and seen a number of my publishers go out of business or end a particular line of books. But professional writers soldier on!

Susan Coryell said...

I, too, have been published by large and small outfits and have had good agents and worthless ones. I have also had a publisher fold up completely due to the death of one of the partners. I've found small, independent publishers with stellar reputations (like The Wild Rose Press) are the ones for me.
Nice post, as usual!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Susan,

Your example should prove helpful to other writers.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Good advice, as always. I've had to look for a new publisher with every book for one reason or another. I'm sure all of them were "business" related. It was painful but didn't let it stop me from writing or publishing. I've pubbed with two small houses and one book on my own. I agree, the key is to have a great cover, a great story and a great editor.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Bonnie,

Thanks for commenting. I'm always optimistic that a great publisher is going to discover my writing and bring it to the attention of readers. I think all serious writers need to just keep writing.