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Snapping Red Flags by Tracy March
Posted By AdrienneGiordano On June 17, 2011 @ 12:01 am In Motivation,Publishing Career,Romantic Suspense | 24 Comments
We all know it’s difficult to end a relationship. It’s part of life, right? Still, whether it’s a personal or professional partnership, it’s never easy to do. Author Tracy March is here to talk about the tough choices she made on her journey to publication.
Writers dream of getting the call…from an agent who loves our work or a publisher who sees our vision and believes that an audience of readers will, too. Or both. I’ve had the privilege of both. The call from an agent. And a publisher—two of them—for the same book. (Rewind tape here.) Yes. You read it right.
Guess this scenario requires a little (dreaded) backstory. Reader’s Digest version: I studied craft, wrote a practice novel, wrote a second novel for submission, queried agents, got rejections and requests, won contests, (taking a breath) then got the call from an agent who loved my manuscript. (Hallelujah Chorus plays.) Then I ignored some of the loudest advice I had received during my quest to find representation—no matter how much an agent likes your work, don’t sign with someone who is not a match for you. I wish I had tattooed those words in beautiful script on the back of my hand, yet I’m not sure even that would have grounded me at the time. That is not to say that I didn’t debate with myself and my confidantes about my decision. I did. Red flags snapped mere inches from my face yet, I signed a contract anyway. One of the reasons I’m blogging here today is to encourage you not to make the mistakes I have, even though you’ve heard the same advice seventy-two times. Other reasons I’m here—I love RU, the fine ladies that run the place, and I’m flattered that they asked me to share my story.
Without belaboring the drama (because this is about lessons learned, not things gone wrong), months later, I felt the need to amicably part ways with my agent, even with outstanding submissions to New York houses and a contract clause that disallowed me, for six months, to sell to any house that my agent had contacted on my behalf. I faced the tough questions—What if my outstanding submissions were ‘the ones?’ What if no one else expressed interest in my work? Did I want to wait that long to try to sell my manuscript again?
Intuition guided me, even though I’d ignored it before (thank goodness for a loyal sixth sense!). I left my agent with the conviction that something else would work out with my manuscript (cue Rocky training theme here), and queried small presses. Within weeks, I received a contract for my manuscript. A publisher wanted to publish my book! (Shouldn’t there be music here?) But alas, there was no music, only the snapping of those red flags that I’d ignored months earlier. 
I was assigned a publication date and began the painstaking process of making a publicity plan for my upcoming release. For months, I went through all the preparations for pre-publication, hoping that one day I would wake up and feel at home with my publisher. Yet I became more estranged by the day. There are many resources advising authors what to look for (and beware of) when signing with a small press. Please familiarize yourself with this advice and heed it.
As my release date drew near, my loyal intuition tugged at my psyche, begging a burning question—are you building the strongest foundation for you writing career? I knew the answer was unequivocally no. That is not to say that the publisher wasn’t a perfect place for others, yet not for me. It came back down to being a match, and again, I’d panicked and committed without enough due diligence and introspection.
After admitting my mistake, I had to make a decision. Stay the course, or vector off? I had more questions than a Jeopardy! contestant—most without concrete answers. Could I get my rights back? Would my publisher release me from my contract? What about the publicity I had planned? The money I’d invested in marketing? I was months away from holding my book in my hands. Was I prepared to give up that dream—to walk away with nothing? How certain was I that my intuition was right?
How much did I believe in myself and my work?
I requested a reversion of my rights. Not after I’d established a safety net or executed a ‘plan B.’ I didn’t want to do things the ‘chicken’ way. I had faith that I was doing the right thing—finally—and felt incredible peace after making my decision. (And after the receiving my reversion of rights letter!) From the outside, it may have looked like I’d sacrificed a dream, but on the inside, I had realized one. I had finally taken control of my career despite the panicked mistakes of the past. I had learned. I had grown.
Is there an HEA to this story? I’m counting on it. Since this personal drama, I have signed a contract with a new publisher. While I continue to experience the normal (abnormal?!) stresses of the publishing industry there, I also feel the comfort and confidence of having found the right ‘home’ for me. I’m wishing all of you the same feeling of excitement and belonging in your writing ‘world.’ (Is that We are the Champions I hear playing?)
RU Crew, have you ever ended a professional relationship? Was it the right decision?
Join us on Monday when author Kate Douglas shares her thoughts on ending a long-running series.
Bio: Tracy March writes about ethical dilemmas in unethical times. Formerly a pharmaceutical sales executive, Tracy draws inspiration from her experiences and encounters in the medical field and her love/hate relationship with politics.
Tracy is a member of International Thriller Writers, a contributing editor to The Big Thrill webzine, and a member of ITW Debut Authors Program Social Media Team. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and an editor for Entangled Publishing.
Tracy’s debut thriller, Girl Three, set in Washington, D.C., will be released in November 2011. Girl Three placed in several contests in 2010 including First Place in Chicago-North RWA Chapter’s Fire and Ice Contest, First Place in Valley Forge RWA Chapter’s Sheila Contest, and Second Place in Orange County RWA Chapter’s Orange Rose Contest.
Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA. They recently experienced two years living in Washington, D.C, where they discovered enough drama to inspire a lifetime of stories. Visit Tracy at http://www.tracymarch.com/ .
Article printed from Romance University: http://romanceuniversity.org
URL to article: http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/06/17/could-you-break-up-with-your-publisher-by-tracy-march/
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 http://www.tracymarch.com/: http://www.tracymarch.com/
 How’s Your Dialogue Working for You? by Tracy March: http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/03/04/hows-your-dialogue-working-for-you-by-tracy-march/
 Powerful Settings: Finding What is Unique for Your Characters…and You by Tracy March: http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/07/27/powerful-settings-finding-what-is-unique-for-your-characters-and-you-by-tracy-march/
 Weekly Lecture Schedule for June 13-17: Wynter Daniels, Wendy S. Marcus & Tracy March: http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/06/11/weekly-lecture-schedule-for-june-13-17-wynter-daniels-wendy-s-marcus-tracy-march/
 The Road to an Agent with Adrienne Giordano: http://romanceuniversity.org/2012/08/15/the-road-to-an-agent-with-adrienne-giordano/
 Debut Author Interview with Wendy S. Marcus: http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/06/15/debut-author-interview-with-wendy-s-marcus/
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