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?


Willa Blair said...

Holy cow! I hope I never have a similar story to tell.
And I hope your publisher is red in the face and willing to bend over backwards to work with you to fix this. How unprofessional of your editor not to let her clients know she was quitting.
I hope this story has a happy ending for you soon!

Kathryn said...

Oh, the horrors of the publishing world! Try having your series dumped in he middle by your publisher? Thankfully, another (very savvy) publisher picked up my romantic Victorian thrillers, and I'm thrilled with the job they're doing. Seducing the Princess is now available in both print and as an e-book, and I'm working on a third novel. I prefer to think that things happen for a reason, though we may not understand why at the time. So maybe your happy ending is right around the corner too! Mary Hart Perry, aka Kathryn Johnson

Rebecca York said...

Things happen for a reason? I don't always think so. I was in the middle of a cookbook when the publisher was bought by another company--and the book, Soups On, never got very good distribution because the new reps weren't interested in the other companies step children. And really, it's a great soup book, if I do say so myself. I think the longer you are in publishing, the more weird things that can happen to you. I could also tell you about the time I was in the middle of a YA series and the publisher went out of business. Or the time I had a book about to come out and the company was falling apart--and the editor had to gin up a cover because the company wasn't paying its bills and they couldn't get a real cover artist.

nancy baggett said...

I think part of the constant turmoil of the publishing industry comes for the pressures of profit declines--which we have been seeing pretty much constantly over the last 30 years! The good news is that it appears the publisher is being responsive. In cases where a publishing house goes away, there is usually not a happy ending to a writer's story. Good luck!

Toby Devens said...

I really sympathize. Never had an editor abandon ship--have loved all three (at different publishers) and they hung in throughout and beyond. But once the assigned publicist--who had been doing really good things for the book--left or lost her job about a month post-pub date. We'd just gotten started and --poof!--she was gone. Replaced by an intern, if I remember correctly, who introduced herself and almost immediately vanished. For the upcoming book, Happy Any Day Now, I have a publicist who seems very proactive. Hope it works out for you.

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