Monday, August 26, 2013

All's well that ends well!


I have not had much time to devote to my blog, but figure I should update it now that my new book is out!  I'm happy to announce the epublication of Identity Crisis, as romantic suspense.  This is the book I was working on when my editor quit and didn't tell me.  But then the publisher, Musa Publishing, promptly assigned me a new editor who turned out to be just the best person and so very good at her job, I have to see it all as a blessing.  

Senior Editor Helen Hardt taught this old dog many new tricks during the editing of Identity Crisis.  When writing a book, it's so easy to do the expedient thing and write things like "panic swept over her."  But Helen would not stand for that.  She wanted to know HOW the panic made her FEEL.  Every single time.  She made me stretch my brain to come up with ever more creative ways to describe the physical effets of panic, and a hundred other emotions.  I am eternally grateful for her help making Identity Crisis into a great read.

I had some additional good fortunr with this book through my membership in one of my online writing groups.  They are all wonderful.  But I rediscovered the value of networking and mutual support when I posted the upcoming publication of Identity Crisis on RomVets in Yahoo Groups.  RomVets is a group of people who are or were affiliated with the military and who now write romance.  Most of the members are women who served.  Many write romances involving military characters.  It is a lovely group or dedicated souls, determined to help and support one another.  I am honored to be a long-time member, having served in the Army in the 1980s, and discovering the fledgling group shortly after Yahoo Groups became popular among writers.  When I announced Identity Crisis to my RomVets friends, one woman asked me if I'd like to be featured on her blog.  Kayelle Allen pointed out that her blog, Romance Lives Forever, gets a lot of hits per day.  I was grateful for any exposure and promptly followed instructions to be featured on her blog.  Identity Crisis was published in July 2013 and the Romance Lives Forever blog about the book came out in early August.  The results were overwhelming.  As Kayelle tells it, she started her blog, began to feature other writers, was asked to join Tumblr, and now her blog articles are widely read.  Once she published my feature, the existence of Identity Crisis was repeated over and over on Twitter via retweets to thousands and thousands of readers.  I gained a significant number of new followers and a tremendous amount of exposure for Identity Crisis that I never would have had otherwise.  My gratitude for my fellow RomVets member knows no bounds.  The feature can be read here: http://romancelivesforever.blogspot.com/search?q=Elizabeth+Ashtree

I'm currently working on the beginning of a series of romanctic suspense novels. Because the key to success for an author is to never stop writing.  And also to have friends who can help you polish the end product and then get the word out that the end product is worth reading.  My thanks to Helen and Kayelle.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My editor quit and didn't tell me!

It has been a long time since I last wrote a blog entry. That's what happens when you work far from where you live. Our homestead is wonderful, but the long commute is a real time killer. Worth it, though. I have only one more year before I can retire and work only part-time while writing novels full-time. Nice!

I do have a new topic to write about for today. That is, my editor for my upcoming release up and quit her job as editor and didn't tell me. Weeks of nothing went by before I realized too much time had gone by without a word from her. Last time we corresponded, we were doing pretty well together. We had a mild disagreement about how a book that involved altered memories needed to make good use of the past-perfect tense (she wasn't a fan of past-perfect), but otherwise, I felt she was doing a great job.

We were about half way through the book when she told me she couldn't possibly get it done by the date set by the publisher. I had two choices: ask for a new editor, or agree to have my release date pushed back. Because I liked her, I chose the latter. Unfortunately, the publisher pushed the release date back by months instead of a few weeks. Disappointing, but I can be reasonable.

I wrote a few time to the editor asking when we'd get back to editing it together. She told me she had another project to finish up and she'd contact me in a few days. Well, I regret that I let a lot more than a few days go by without reaching out again. This is what I get for not focusing on my writing life sufficiently. I knew we now had months to finish it, so I wasn't worried or in any great rush. But then I finally realized that more than a month had drifted away. I wrote to the editor and ...

You can imagine my horror when she told me that she'd quit the job weeks ago and figured my publisher would tell me. Ack! I quickly reached out to the publisher, who said they'd been told that the editing on my book had been completed. They thought they were just waiting for the final to be uploaded, ready to go to the next step. At least the publisher seems equally frantic about the mix-up, so I'm hoping this will all work out. I have sent over the latest editor notes and am waiting (again) to see what the next step will be. You can bet I won't let weeks go by this time!

Oddly, this isn't even the first time this has happened to me. With my very first book, there was something up with my very odd editor. Toward the end, she simply quit her job. This was after she changed the title of my book to something I hated (it was a movie title she chose) without telling me. In the end, that worked out, because the publisher felt sorry enough for me to change the title and then went on to publish more of my books. Yay! But, sheesh, I could begin to wonder if I'm a difficult client somehow.

To my relief, many fellow-authors have come forward to comfort me with their own stories of someone abandoning them in the middle of a project. So I'm feeling better about the whole incident. And I've learned a valuable lesson. not only about staying more on top of what's happening with my book, but also about choosing the editor instead of my original release date. I need to remember, against my nature, that the book is the most important thing in this business, not the individuals who may wander in and out of getting it published.

Do any of you have similar stories to share?
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