On counting blessings

On counting blessings

I suffered two losses yesterday: Touchstone (a part of Simon & Schuster), my long-time publisher in the U.S., has turned down The Next Novel. I have four novels with them — with extraordinary sales overall — so I’m sad about this.

Ironically, the editor loved the novel, but the numbers just didn’t add up — and it’s all about numbers these days. Mistress of the Sun didn’t sell as well as the Trilogy — Who could out-sell Josephine? — and when the sales of your last publication tilt down, that’s all that matters. [See a post I wrote on this for Writers Unboxed, “Tyranny of the Numbers.”]

Basically, from a career-perspective, I’d need to write a strong commercial title to tilt those numbers back up. I’d need to write about a known historical person — a “marquee” subject.

I don’t write for the market — and no writer should, in my opinion (for many reasons, but in part because “the market” is an illusive beast). I write because there is something in a story that irresistibly interests me, and trust that readers will likewise find it worthy.

My other loss saddens me almost as much. I had a blog on Tumblr — “Ink” — where I tucked all the writing wisdoms I came upon. I had very few followers, but I loved this blog. I kept it for myself. By accident, I deleted it — and now it’s simply gone. There is no getting it back.

The wonderful thing about being a writer is the work itself — that’s what matters — so in spite of these losses, I feel buoyant. Today is a day to count my blessings: and I have quite a few, in fact. Many!

{Photo: At the South Pole, December 1911, from Wikipedia.}

More blessings: The rejected novel was picked up by the wonderful editor Melissa Danaczko at Doubleday US, where it was published as The Shadow Queen in 2014.