When Your Imprint Shuts Down

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What the First Week Feels Like

 

Sometimes everything falls apart. In a way that all your accomplishments disappear. Like it never even happened.

 

When my agent quit the business in January, I thought that was the worst thing I’d face this year.

 

I was wrong.

 

I got an email from the subrights agent. Harlequin was shutting down the imprint that was going to publish my YA gothic mystery, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. They won’t be publishing my book.

 

The contract we spent 10 months negotiating. The editorial revisions I worked so hard on. None of it mattered. It was all for nothing.

 

The book won’t be published.

 

I wait for a termination letter. I wait to find out what happens next with my agency. I wait to find out what I can do with this book. This book I’ve never given up on. Not in the eight years it took me to revise it and shop it and get it an agent and a publisher.
Uncertainty. It’s all uncertainty. What comes next. And do I want a next?

 

Why work so hard when it can all be gone in the blink of an eye? Why do this?

 

Today, I don’t know.

 

I’ve been trying to make sense of it. But it doesn’t make sense. None of this makes any sense to me.

 

Today, I hurt. And I don’t have the energy to pretending everything is fine. It’s really not. And I don’t know when it will be again.

 

All I can do is keep working on my indie career. That’s the only thing I have that I can hold onto.

 

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What Week Two Feels Like

 

Okay, this wallowing is sucking me in too deeply.

 

I tried staying busy. Too busy to think about what this meant. Then curling up in bed for a day.

 

Next I kicked the standing bag so much it moved too close to Mom’s keyboard.

 

I can’t seem to get it out. The anger. The frustration. The sadness. The hopelessness. And the longer I think about it, the worse it feels.

 

Perspective. I need perspective. It’s my interpretation of things that is making me spiral. Reassess. Reassess.

 

Let’s think of the last two years as an experiment. An attempt at traditional publishing. A way to dip my toe in that pool. And a trial run of indie publishing.

 

So far the only bad thing about indie is people’s reaction to it. Everything else has been hard work, but it’s all mine. The awards, the reviews, the sales. They can’t disappear on me.

 

I’m good at being in charge. I like being the captain of my soul.

 

The most rewarding and stable part of my career has been the indie track.

 

Traditional publishing didn’t work out. I’ve learned to trust warning signs and gut feelings. Trust them more than you trust anyone or anything.

 

I still have DM. Right now I’m making that jump through the traditional hoops. See what happens.

 

And there are more books in me.

 

Something will find traction in the traditional world. Maybe it won’t be soon. Maybe it won’t be the next book or the next book.

 

But I can still build a career. I can keep writing. I can keep working on my craft. I can bring novels to market myself.

 

This isn’t over. I’m not over.

 

It’s just another crater in the road.

 

 

 

 

 

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