Getting orphaned when your editor leaves totally and utterly sucks. Huge Hoover vacuum sucking. Okay, yeah, there are worse things. Hurricanes and locusts and how mean that new RHONY housewife Heather is to Ramona about her age. Those are pretty bad, too. But getting left behind when the person, or in my case, people, who were championing your books decide to work elsewhere? Yeah. It’s on the short list of suck.
The acquiring editor of my first book, DREAMING ANASTASIA left before we had finished editing. A different editor dropped her work to help take the book into arc form. But even as green as I was, I knew this was not good. A debut book without its original champion is like a career without sunshine.
But he was replaced by my second editor, with whom I developed this amazing editorial relationship. Like brother from another mother kind of thing. DREAMING debuted in September 2009 and started doing well. Very well, actually. Editor 2 acquired the sequel, HAUNTED. Yay, right? Well, yes. 2nd printings and 3rd printings and a new book coming and all good things. I’d survived the orphaning. I’d thrived the orphaning.
And then in the spring of 2010, editor two called me a couple days after I’d turned in the first full draft of the HAUNTED. We usually emailed so I was thinking wow! He’s calling. This must be something big! Huge! Movie deal and lunch boxes and multiple foreign rights. Yeah. That must be it.
Instead, he told me that he was leaving.
This is probably a good time to tell you that somewhere between that 3rd DA printing and this phone call, I’d been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had just had surgery and was trying to finish HAUNTED, recover, teach 175 students, and a bunch of other stuff. (I’m fine now, by the way. Just to let you know)
But it’s also where I mention that we had not yet edited HAUNTED.
And so. Assistant editor, now a project director, took over again. We worked together during the summer. She is a person who I respect and adore so that part was great. HAUNTED’s release date bounced about and settled on February 2011.
Finally in the fall, editor 3 arrived. And eventually, she acquired the final book for the series. We got to know each other. She was—and is—awesome and sweet and energetic and sharp.
But let’s be honest. Her main focus was to grow her own list. I was a trust fund author. Again. And here is my first bit of advice if it happens to you: This is not the time to let the new editor know your long laundry list of things that your former editor had promised. Because she just wants to get her head above water, not hear your sob story. So basically, you need to realize that you’re going to get what you’re going to get and there is nothing you can do about it, at least in terms of your publisher’s end of things.
Possibly this a good time to mention that as we moved into spring 2011 and HAUNTED released and editor 2 was settling in, my long time publicist left, pretty much just as I was about to do some touring. Actually, in the middle of it.
And the project director who’d saved my butt a million times over? Yes. Eventually she was gone, too. I began to wonder if I was cursed. Or needed new deodorant.
Somehow ANASTASIA FOREVER is still coming out this August!
Editor 3 is the lovely Leah Hultenschmidt and she has been a true delight to work with. She is kind and generous and I like her bunches.
And editor 2? Well, Dan Ehrenhaft landed at Soho Press and he is now my editor again for a funny, bittersweet book set in Texas about a stoner dude who comes back from a fatal car accident as his 14 year old sister’s guardian angel and a mission to find out who’s been screwing with their family. It is called THE SWEET DEAD LIFE and it will be out in May 2013 from the new Soho Teen imprint. They have even made ARCs already and asked me to go to BEA and sign them. And gave away more at ALA in June. Even gave one to the lovely Roecker sisters. Who totally deserve freebies because they’re awesome.
My other advice: Don’t panic. Keep writing. Keep promoting. Keep making contacts and planning events and connecting with other authors. Be your own advocate. If you have other friends/contacts in your publishing house now is the time to call in those favors. You will need someone to speak up for you. Also, be patient. Breathe. Things will not all be perfect. In fact some things won’t work out at all. But you are not the only one to whom this has happened. It will be okay. Even if initially it is not. I was very lucky that Sourcebooks is a smaller house and that one of the VP’s said hey, feel free to email me anytime. I took him up on it. Just don’t expect things to be the same. They won’t. Sometimes that will be good. Sometimes it won’t. It’s just the way of the business. It isn’t personal even if it begins to feel like it.
Anyway, I think this all explains why when an emotionally needy Bassett/boxer (think hound dog with a vertical) leaped into my lap at the pound, I – a life long cat person—adopted this 40 pound log of doom. If she ever writes her memoirs, I plan on sticking with her for the whole thing.
Joy Preble is the author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series (Sourcebooks), which blends paranormal romance with historical fiction. The second book, HAUNTED, is out now, and ANASTASIA FOREVER is coming in August 2012. Another paranormal – about a sixteen-year-old stoner who returns from a fatal car accident as his sister’s guardian angel – THE SWEET DEAD LIFE – is set in Houston and slated for May 2013, from Soho Press. Joy grew up in Chicago, where she dreamed of being a back up singer but settled for becoming a writer so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives with her family and a crazy half-basset/half- boxer in Texas, where she frequently gets into wild rumpuses and other mischief. When she’s not writing, you can find her eating guacamole, fighting her Bravo Channel addiction and insisting that she really is the missing Roecker sister.
Note: If you agree that Joy and Lisa and Laura should star in a new Bravo series called “Real Writers of Sourcebooks and Soho,” please let Andy Cohen know. I can table flip like nobody’s business.
Did you like this post? Show Joy Preble by buying her books! All of our authors are donating their time and experience FOR FREE, and the best way to show your appreciation is to buy their books.
ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble:
Is it possible to change the past?
No one ever knew what happened to her except her half–brother, Viktor—and he’ll do anything to keep it that way.
She just wants a normal boyfriend, a normal family–no visions of the past, no evil mermaids, no Brotherhood trying to kill her. But Anne is not normal…and she’s capable of a lot more than she thinks.
He’s been eighteen for nearly a century, and finding Anne is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. But the magic in his blood is turning darker, forcing him to wonder whether he’s the most dangerous threat of all…