S#101: Talk to Steff

Today is Tuesday. That means Publisher B might reply. It’d sure be nice, since they have two of my books – one of which they’ve had for sixteen months. (3-6 months is a normal response time – although two other big publishers have taken 9 months just for the first few chapters – which, by the way, they rejected without requesting more and without giving comments).

For most of this year, I’ve sent a polite email to Publisher B just once every three months, and my contact person has replied within 24 hours with vague (but nonetheless useful) assurances that the books are, indeed, still under consideration. In August I emailed as usual – no response. Two weeks ago I emailed again – still no response.

Steff Metal and I originally met because of a mutual connection to Publisher B, so I wrote to her with my woes, hoping she’d have some insight. She wrote back. What follows is her response, but with chunks taken out and names changed. And I admit, I feel hugely better. This email says a whole lot about the writing life that I wish wannabe writers knew BEFORE they started writing novels (that, and the news that successful full-time writers tend to earn around $10,000 a year – non-successful writers tend to earn negative amounts).


Urgh – that’s a very awfully long time. I’ve never gone through [the specific person].

I think they’ve lost your email somehow, if they don’t reply. I would email after two weeks, because it’s out of their pattern and you have a history with them. Just a polite email saying you sent an email before but you don’t think they received it.

[Details of various frustrating things happening with her steampunk novel, including a very vague rejection – their advice was to write another book – and another publisher not replying to her emails.]

We haven’t been emailing much, have we! I think it’s cuz we read each other’s blogs so we kinda feel caught up. The writers conference sounds amazing. I need to go to more of those – more networking. Swooning with jealousy at all those contacts you made – you were so brave! I’m gonna start when we move to Germany – there’s huge conferences in the UK.

Why do we do this to ourselves, again?




And here’s a picture of my new favourite cat EVER

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and http://twittertales.wordpress.com. My fantasy ebook is on sale at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278981.

4 thoughts on “S#101: Talk to Steff

  1. What’s life like for the self-publishing author? I’ve heard of a number of people who’ve started by doing things that way… (honestly, I have no idea what’s involved, so feel free to shoot me down here =)

    1. Jolyon: The self-published author, assuming they still produce a book a year, makes between minus 1000 and minus 5000 a year. (Understandably, most stop at one.) 99% of bookshops won’t stock self-published books, for a start. (And, having read some self-published books, I applaud their taste.) As always, there are an extremely small number of extremely well-publicised exceptions.

  2. It depends what kind of self-pubbing you’re talking about. I sell ebooks that I’ve written and make more money on those than through my fiction (which isn’t hard, since I currenty make $0 through fiction, but I make a little extra per month) … but these are non-fiction and the marketing for those are very specific – see my book http://gothicweddingplanner.com. I wouldn’t reach any more of my target audience by having a publishing contract for this book, and I’m keeping 100% of the profits.

    I’d personally never self-publish a fiction book. I think they’re better marketed by traditional publishers.

    1. Steff Metal: Oh, yes, of course! I was thinking of print books and fiction. One of my stories is in an ebook for sale from an epublisher in an anthology. I’ve never made a cent from it (and, to be honest, I never expected to).

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