In case you pay attention to the progress meter regularly, you may have noticed that The Journal of Jeremy Todd has been changed to reflect the second draft is starting on it, even while I have yet to finish the second draft of One Last Dance. There is a reason for it, and it's a good one.
This might end up changing some things, too. I don't know yet, but here's what's happening.
When you're an aspiring author who has no money, like me, you tend to shoot for traditional publishing before going the self-pub route. There's one reason for it, one thing that makes the lower royalty rates seem worth it. To avoid paying for an independent editor and cover art. I'm guilty as charged here, though I feel I have to say not once have I ruled out self-publishing as a viable option. But if I can save some money on the front end by taking a little less on the back end, I'm okay with that. I'm doing this because it's what I feel compelled to do, not because I expect to get rich at it. I have a day job to pay the bills; this is just to give me fulfillment in my craft, my life, and help me to make the dream of having people pay to read my work come true.
There's a problem with this, however, and I'm sure I'm not the only author who's come across it. You have to find a balance between quality and that desire that's driving you. It's why I'm willing to pay some money if I have to in order to self-publish. It's why I researched the options before deciding on my course of action should I go that route. I'd go into detail on what my plan is in that regard and why, but it's not relevant to this.
The thing that made me bang my head against my keyboard was that so few small horror publishers are accepting submissions right now (not trying for one of the big five because of that balance I mentioned. Not getting into it here, but Google "Author Royalties Agency Model" or spend some time reading through J.A. Konrath's blog, conveniently linked at the lower right of this page as "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing", and you'll understand). Many of the ones that are fall when weighed on that balance of quality versus desire. I have the desire, they can't provide the quality I want.
Then today I discovered that one of my top two choices (the other being where I sent Consequences), the one that was closed for submissions when I started researching, is now opening their submission channel until the end of the month. That's not a very big window.
In submitting for potential publication, there's this thing called "Simultaneous Submissions". Basically, it means submitting the same work to multiple potential publishers at the same time. Some allow it, some don't. Since there was nothing stating one way or the other on this publisher's guidelines page, and since sending Consequences there as well would feel like giving up on the other one when it's halfway through it's waiting period, I found myself in a pickle about how I should proceed.
Let me go ahead and say there were other factors involved in making that pickle. I'm not getting into them here either, because I'm not going to comment on the situation one way or the other since my gut says one thing, my brain another, and my heart yet another. But there was something I had to take into consideration while I debated with myself.
Ultimately, here were my options:
1. Send Consequences to both and hope one said yes. Fifty fifty odds, right? Or would that be one in four since both companies could say yes or no? I'm not good with calculating probabilities, and like Han Solo said, "never tell me the odds".
2. Withdraw Consequences from consideration and submit it to the other publisher. Like I said, giving up when it's just now at the halfway point in the wait time I was given.
3. Submit something else to the other publisher.
Since I know Consequences has to come out before the Cochran books do, there's only one other option to send. And considering the publisher I'm looking at here, it might actually be a really good fit. Better than the one I sent Consequences to would be.
So I made a decision. I'm going with number 3.
The second draft of One Last Dance is going on hold for the time being, so I can try and hammer out a submittable draft of Jeremy Todd. Technically, since the submission only wants the first fifteen pages, I could just focus on those, send it in, and call it a day. But if they ask for a complete manuscript, then what? I've just screwed myself. So I'm going to polish those fifteen pages and send them in, then polish the rest in preparation in case I get a full manuscript request. Ergo, Jeremy Todd takes precedence over any other revisions in my personal pipeline.
I'm not mentioning publisher names yet because I'm not a hundred percent sure I can pull this off. I'm going to try like hell, though. If I manage it, you'll know about it and I'll give you the dirty details here. If I don't, well, they'll take submissions again at some point, and at least I'll know I gave it a shot.
So here's to hoping, and let's see how strong my desire really is.