Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Publishing Fairy Tales

I feel like everyone on the planet must know what's been going on with me, because, well, I've been living the drama and have been so self-involved that I feel like the story is oozing out of every pore. But I realize I have actually kept a lot of this off the interweb.

So to change that, here's the Coles Notes version. (Cliff Notes if you live in the US, but just so you know, Cliff copied it from Cole... Or actually bought the US rights for the idea. I just looked it up.)

But back to me. :)

Just less than a year ago, in mid-October, 2009, I got a two book contract to write fairy tale adaptations for the YA market, and my sale actually started out as a bit of a fairy tale. I sold based on a very short proposal (10 pages of manuscript, plus a synopsis) of  the first book, plus a few possible titles for a second book. Getting a deal like that is rare for a debut author.

I wrote both books over the winter on an insanely tight deadline.  (Everyone who reads this blog heard me complaining about that...) But just as I was completing the edits for the second of the two books, the publisher closed. Bang. Doors closed. No explanation. Just closed.

My first reaction was relief, because I was so tired from months of working around the clock that I was simply so glad to be able to take the afternoon off, that the news barely sank in. Then I entered the depths of despair. Despair I think I'm still climbing out from under.

But in true fairy tale form, the rights were free and clear and the books sold to a new publisher (Silver Dolphin Books) relatively quickly. I actually knew within days of the bad news that this second publisher was interested, but they didn't actually commit until the end of July (I found out while I was at RWA Nationals) so I had three months of shell shock, with people congratulating me on my first sale, but with me not knowing whether or not the books would ever come out.

Today, I noticed that the new publisher's version of the books are up on Amazon, with an April 1, 2011 release date for both books! (Actually, the now-closed publisher's versions are still up, too... with the old Oct 5, 2010 release date... but trust me, those versions ain't coming out. If you pre-ordered those... well, you won't be getting them. But thanks! Maybe you can pre-order the new versions?)

At this point I feel like all has worked out for the best, at least pretty damn well, considering -- although I could have done without the stress. :) Let's face it, no fairy tale happy ending comes without a few fierce battles. Especially in my versions where the heroines literally have to fight for their lives.

But since my new release date is April Fool's Day... well, let's just say I'm not 100% counting on this story being over just yet. :)

Anyone else have publishing fairy tales or nightmares they'd like to share?


Claudia Osmond said...

You've done so well, Maureen, hanging in there like you have! You ARE Cinderella Ninja Warrior!

Kimber Chin said...

Woo hoo!
I like the new covers even more than the old ones.
Are they still choose-your-own-ending books, Maureen!

Cindy Procter-King said...

Maureen, congratulations. After talking to about this when I hosted you on my blog, I think I have an inkling of how hard it must have been for you. I'm so glad your babies found a new home. LOL on the April 1st release date.

My horror story is that I sold my Golden Heart manuscript, from the year we were GH sisters, to Five Star Expressions, it's coming out in December 2011, but now we've learned the Expressions line will end with the publication of my book (and one other, as they were putting out two a month). I feel lucky that I slid in under the "cut-off," thanks to my editor there who grabbed me the last 2011 slot. But of course I looked forward to targeting more works for Expressions. Just when we think we've found a home... Such is the publishing life! Five Star Mysteries is still alive and thriving, from what I understand and will take some romantic suspense and mystery romance or WF with RS elements.

Maureen McGowan said...

Thanks, Claudia!!

Kimber, yes, the books themselves are unchanged. I am doing some minor edits for the new publisher, but other than that, they're the same books.

Cindy, I thought of you when I heard the news about Five Star Expressions. It's so hard to find a solid surface to stand on in this business, that I think it's even more devastating when the rug gets pulled. We're always balancing with both arms out and legs tensed, aren't we...

Marilyn Brant said...

Maureen, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to get my hands on these 2 novels! April will be here in a *blink* and I'll be able to gobble them up immediately :). And you are SO going to blog for me... Just warning you!

The potential stressors of this industry are never ending. I'm still not used to that being the "norm," but I'm pretty sure I need to hurry up and get used to it...sigh. (We'll talk. ;)

Sinead M said...

Maureen, I love the covers. I cannot wait for these to come out. they are amazing books.

Eileen said...

I think you've more than earned your happily ever after at this point.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I'll echo Kimber with another Woo Hoo!!!

Covers look great. Can't wait to read these!

out of the wordwork said...

Maureen: You will get a happily ever after! The books are gorgeous and I can't wait to read them. No joke!

Molly O'Keefe said...

Yeah - those are great covers - and I agree you are Cinderella Ninja Warrior and only because I know the drama but I can not believe those books are coming out on April 1 - it's like they want you to sweat all the way until the end!!!!

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