I have a confession to make, I have kept some exciting publishing news to myself, waiting for just the right moment to blog about it. And now I think it’s about time. I received an offer to have my book Under a Different Sky published by a small traditional press called RRPI in the US! Yes!! Hooray!! Party!! But before I get carried away with myself, I have to let you know:
The contract never went ahead.
Why you ask?
Long story short the small publishing company that had offered to publish my book went under and dumped all their authors. But the way they went about it was pretty unprofessional.
Short story long I created my website with WordPress in November 2015, with the aim of connecting with all the wonderful writers, reviewers and book fanatics in this community so I could have some support while self-publishing my first novel. But as you’ll see in this post: Submitting your manuscript to the big Aussie publishers, I decided, what the hell, how about I submit my manuscript to a few publishers while I’m at it?
Confident in the face of 0.01% statistics
I sent my manuscript through to one of the Australian Big 5 and then submitted to a small, slightly obscure, US traditional press I uncovered in a #pit2pub related post. And BAM! Exactly 2 weeks after submitting to the US Company they replied telling me they ‘loved the manuscript and were very interested, but could I make some revisions and resubmit?’ I was more than happy to oblige, and a week or so later I sent off my revised chapters, and another 2 more weeks after that they sent me an offer to publish my book!
No freakin way!
Ecstatic barely explains how I felt at finally achieving my life-long dream of getting published. I was so excited I immediately told my entire family, had a party to celebrate with my friends and then announced the news to everyone on Facebook. That’s 800 people. Dear god. It was a complete newbie error. I should have waited until I had the final signed contract in my hands. But on the positive side I finally came out of the closet as a writer. Even some of my closest friends I’ve known for years didn’t know I loved to write.
Look at me everyone, I’m a writer
The communication with the ‘Managing Director’ started off well enough, though when he sent the contract through I did a bit of research and discovered that there were a few red flags in some of the terms, not to mention they wanted to acquire ALL of the foreign rights (even though the book would essentially only be produced for an American audience). I also discovered that I would have to wait 18 months – 2 years before they could publish my novel.
Waiting, waiting, waiting
I consulted with my family, and in the end I decided I was prepared to sacrifice my first book to get a foot in the door of the publishing industry, however small the gap. The US market is pretty big anyway, so I wasn’t too concerned that I would most likely achieve next to no sales in my home market.
A week after receiving the contract I sent it back to my new publisher. And this is the response I got:
You can just imagine my initial reaction.
I just don’t understand what he’s saying…
To explain a bit, I’m an Australian, so I obviously signed the date as an Australian would (day-month-year), instead of the American way (month-day-year). But that’s beside the point. His email was completely baffling to the point of insanity.
Is he for real?
I didn’t understand how the director could reject my book in such a cruel fashion. If my novel sucked, sure I could live with that. I’d just work harder on my next novel, and the next one after that. I’m under no grand illusions that I’m a good writer. But to tell me that the ‘signs’ weren’t right?
This was my response:
After sending my reply I immediately did a ton of research (that I should have done earlier) and discovered that I had submitted to a company with pretty bad reviews – with several huge red flags on their website that I had failed to notice.
It should have come as no surprise that I soon began to hear of even more authors who were having their contracts terminated by RRPI, usually through less then kind means in my opinion. I was soon alerted by the wonderful people at absolutewrite that RRPI had closed. I’m guessing they went under due to the managing director’s inexperience. One of the authors I came across was Samantha Paulsen who outlined in a blog post her rather unfortunate dealings with RRPI.
But that’s all behind me now right?
One thing I learned, it’s a very good idea to do your research and find reviews on the publishing company before you sign away the novel you’ve spent months or even years working on! I know, I know, it’s an obvious one, but as they were listed on the #pit2pub site I automatically assumed they were reputable. Never assume!
From now on I’ll avoid submitting to the smaller traditional presses in the US (even though there are many great ones out there – I just can’t take that chance again) and instead I’ll do what I always originally aimed to do, I might finally have a good go at self-publishing! 🙂
Just keep reaching and you’ll get there.
My next post will most likely be… ‘how the hell do you self-publish – with cats’
Gifs sourced from: ohmagif.com, gifak.net, catgifs.org, 4gifs.com, gifsoup