Rejection Is Part of the Package

January 24th, I got this email from Crosslink Publishing:
Rick Bates
Jan 24 (3 days ago)

to me

Thank you for submitting your manuscript for our review. After careful consideration, we have determined that it does not fit into our current catalog. We wish you much success in finding the right home for your book.

God bless,

Rick

rickbates | Acquisitions Editor | CrossLink Publishing | www.CrossLinkPublishing.com | 888-697-4851

So… I want to ask you, my readers, a question:
Since this seems to be a very generic rejection, do you think I should contact Mr. Bates, asking him what I could do to make my book more marketable. What do you think? Let me know please!

Act Like A Writer

I don’t post on this blog daily, because I don’t always have the time or anything particularly interesting to say everyday. Those who follow this blog know this is true.

Okay, so in 2012, I self-published two books (actually, one I released a revised version, so literally, THREE). They are short horror stories, written under my “dark” pen name, Matt Ice.    See my Author Page on Amazon.com

Each of these books are available in print or Kindle version. This was exciting for me, but so far, not very financially rewarding. I have sold a few copies, so I am now a “published author“.

Today, I submitted my first book MORE THAN SONGS  to two traditional publishers. This book has been a finished project for about 8 years. Here is the story of this book:

I began writing it in 1996. I didn’t realize at first it was going to be a book. It was just my personal study to understand biblical worship. Then, as I organized my notes, it became a book. I researched, learned, un-learned, prayed, and wrote what God was teaching me. The first draft was completed in 1998.

A huge part of writing is re-writing. Over the following five years, I edited, and edited, and edited. During this time, I was starting to get a spark for another book. At first I thought it should be a part of MTS; but it really was a different book (and that is another story altogether).

I searched for a traditional publisher of Christian books. I discovered that most publishers do not accept submissions directly from authors. They require agents. So, I searched and found a literary agent.

Writers Literary Agency read, critiqued, and seemed to genuinely believe in the message of the book. I signed a contract with them. The agency had the book “professionally critiqued” for a fee (which I paid). Then, they created a “professional” web page for me, for a fee (which I paid).

The agency then began submitting the manuscript to traditional publishers, because, as they had often reminded me: they don’t get paid until I get paid. After 6 months of rejections, Writers Literary Agency made me an offer. They would do what was called “Aggressive Marketing”. All I had to do was pay them $145.00 and sign a new contract. I didn’t have the money, and I was fed up with the agency. I had already given them quite a bit of money, with no results.

I gave up on them, and I was discouraged for a long time. I kept writing other projects. Literally, I was writing FOUR COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BOOKS AT THE SAME TIME! But, MTS just sat there.

Last year, I turned more of my writing energy toward fiction. Also, I was writing web content for 2 Blue Media (a paying gig!). When I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing, I worked on producing some of my short disturbing stories.

I got the fire again on my 53rd birthday last week. I was beginning to format MTS for submission to Kindle. It felt like I was giving up.

Then, two days ago, I decided to search again for a traditional Christian publisher. I found two: INNOVO, and CROSSLINK. I submitted the book to both publishers. Within an hour, I received a phone call from a representative from INNOVO, thanking me for submitting and she would send me an email with lots more information about publishing with them.

It occurs to me that I should briefly explain what I mean by “traditional publishers”. Traditional publishers, when they accept a book, believe in it and invest their money (not the author’s) in it’s production and promotion.

There are plenty of independent self-publishing companies out there. The author pays for their services. They have no financial risks, and will basically print anything that the authors pay for. I have avoided those for two basic reasons: 1) I don’t have the money and 2) I have always wanted a publisher for my Christian books to be someone who believes in the messages.

A few years ago, I submitted MTS to Tate publishing. They advertise that they are a Christian Publisher. They offered a contract to me of what is called “cooperative publishing”. In other words, for my first book, I would pay the first $4,000 production and promotional costs, and they would take on the rest. If an author has a successful debut book, their next books would be traditionally published. Obviously, I didn’t have $4,000. When I further investigated Tate Publishing, I saw some very bad reports on them.

Now, I await the two publishers. In the event that both want it, I’ll take the best offer.

2013 will be my breakout year!

Time Is Not My Friend

In four days, I will be 53 years old. I don’t say that in celebration. A 53 year old man who was fired from his last job (and has had more jobs than he can remember), has no car, and is about to lose his only phone, must certainly appear unemployable to most businesses.

In 2012, I successfully published two books, available on Amazon.com. Sales have been anemic. I have been considering putting my first book, MORE THAN SONGS into print by the same means. This book has been a finished work for about 6 years. I have wanted to go with a traditional publisher, one who would believe in this book’s message and marketability enough to invest. Considering the Amazon.com method of publication is a compromise of that desire. I’m unsure if it would be my “Ishmael”.

Okay, I should probably explain what I mean by that… In the book of Genesis in the Bible, Abram (later called Abraham) had been promised by God that he would have a son. Since he and his wife were past the child-bearing years, it didn’t seem possible. Then God delayed the fulfillment of His promise. Eventually, Abraham and his wife Sarah decide she was not going to be able to give him a son. So, Abraham conceived with Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar. Hagar bore a son, Ismael, for Abraham. Then God moved to fulfill His promise, and old Sarah gave birth to the son of promise, Isaac.

As for my reference to this story: Ishmael represented Abraham and his wife’s attempt to bring about God’s promise by their own efforts. I’m concerned that, if I self-publish MORE THAN SONGS, it will be my way of handling it, rather than letting God decide when, if, and how. He lead me through the writing, editing, and completion of this book. And now, because it has just sat for too long, I’m anxious.