Meanwhile, I worked harder at coming out of my shell. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I attended local SF/F conventions and set a goal for myself—not just to attend panels but to raise my hand out of the audience and make a comment. I gave myself permission to say dumb things or just agree with what someone else said. It was too soon for Eliza Doolittle to become My Fair Lady and command the attention of the entire room with eloquence. My goal was to just… speak.
More good things happened. I got a short story accepted by a magazine! Okay, it’s a very small e-zine that is not a SFWA qualifying market. Even so, it was a “yes” after so many years of rejection. Since then, I have sold 2 more stories and another will be appearing in an upcoming anthology. At last, I am building a list of publishing credits to put in query letters. My fan fiction is not the only thing to put on my resume!
A-to-Z Publishing disregarded my personal leaps and my incredible forward strides to reinvent myself. I felt sure my awesome book would be a sleeper hit but they were not willing to take a chance. All they wanted was numbers… numbers… In other words, if I could not guarantee big sales right out of the gate, they would never start work on editing. More than a year after I submitted the manuscript, no one had ever read beyond the synopsis.
Also, as part of my so-called prize package, I was entitled to write blog posts on A-to-Z Publishing’s Web site for a full year, The president and I agreed on a list of topics. I wrote half of them with a promise to write more. She heartily approved, “These are wonderful, informative blogs! I know I am going to enjoy your book.” Yet to my surprise, she refused to post the blogs until after my book’s launch. “No author has had their blogging start prior to their book release.” I never got a clear explanation of why she would hold back doing something so simple to give me more visibility. If my book’s release was delayed because of my low numbers, why not boost me up?
A phone call with the president of A-to-Z only increased my frustrations. She scolded me for thirty minutes about the lack of friends listed on my Facebook page. Seriously, I took notes and marked the time. At the end of that call, my action items were:
- to work harder to build up my social media numbers
- to fill out her newly designed self-assessment and time management worksheet
Yeah, that was it; my publisher’s solution to get my book published was to make me work harder on extraneous stuff and fill out forms.