With two books published in the past three months, Natalie Kleinman talks about her experiences in the publishing world.
What little I knew about the publishing world a year ago could have been written on the back of a second class stamp. Twelve months and two published books later I know so much more – I could actually cover the back of one of those large stamps we use when submitting our short stories by conventional post. So what have I learned? Well, not very much, I thought at first. I was familiar with the process from a short story writer’s point of view. Submit on line or put it in an envelope and into the mouth of the red box on the corner of my road…and wait. Some editors will reply fairly quickly, some will take several months and some not at all, though to be fair this is rare. I am comfortable with this system, if sometimes a little frustrated at the wait. However, I appreciate my story is but one of a huge number of submissions.
The book world – now that is another thing entirely. Sad to say there are some publishers who neither acknowledge your submission nor send a rejection. I imagine they are just as overloaded as their counterparts in the short story world but with even longer and therefore more time-consuming pieces to read. However, even an automated email response is better than wondering, sometimes for months, if your manuscript was received. Bad news in the form of a rejection is better than no news at all.
That said, I have been very lucky. Both of my book submissions – Voyage of Desire (Safkhet) and After All These Years (DC Thomson) – were acknowledged and indeed accepted within days. This though was probably the only similarity between them. The first, an e-book, took several months to turn around though when I was finally sent the edits – fortunately they were few – everything thereafter happened in a couple of weeks. I was sent a cover picture to approve and I believe had I not liked it I would have been presented with another choice. However, I was delighted so the question didn’t arise.
The second, a pocket novel, was published almost three months to the day from submission. I wasn’t required to do any edits, any that were needed were done in house. I had no say in the cover but I am delighted with what was chosen. They also changed the title – far better than the original. Since publication of Voyage of Desire, Safkhet have ceased operating from the UK and will only be publishing e-books in my chosen genre in the future. Because I would dearly like to see my book in print at some time in the future, we have agreed by mutual consent to terminate our contract and I am now looking for another publisher for this book.
I know nothing about the process of traditional publishing, not even enough to put on the back of that postage stamp. Consequently, halfway through my next book, I began seeking representation by an agent in the hope that someone who knows far more about the publishing world than I will be able to take me to the next stage. I was fortunate to meet Lisa Eveleigh of the Richford Becklow Literary Agency at an industry one2one session at the recent Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference. Following several emails, and after chatting with Lisa, she has agreed to represent me. I can’t wait to get started.