Sunday, August 28, 2011


So, what's happening on the novel-front? I hear you cry. There was the German deal you were rattling on about over a year ago (God has it been that long?!) and then ... everything went quiet. What's happening?

Well ... not much is the answer. Apparently, my timing is off. No reflection on me or my writing, just that publishers have over-bought in the romantic-comedy (chick-lit) genre and aren't taking on anything new right now - or for the forseeable future.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you how that news has made me feel after my excitement last year, having allowed myself to believe it could actually happen. 'It' being an actual book on a actual shelf in an actual bookshop with an actual cover and everything. *pauses for a prolonged bout of teeth gnashing, hair-pulling and general weeping session.* In the UK that is. Thank GOD for my lovely German deal. It gives me hope.

So, what to do? Well, I could keep writing in this genre and wait for the market to pick up, then trying submitting again down the line. Try and find another agent. Did I mention I no longer have one? (Sob.)

I do understand. It's business after all, and if a client isn't making you money you have to let them go.

I've been advised to try writing for Young Adults - a growth market right now - but it's not for me. I read and enjoy YA books; there are some brilliant ones out there and Meg Rosoff is one of my favourite writers, but I don't think it's possible to write convincingly in a genre you don't feel completely comfortable with, or passionate about.

I do have a psychological thriller all mapped out though, so I could try that.

I'm dithering. I feel a bit jaded. A lot less sure of everything. Not about wanting to write - I'll always want to do that, and the short stories are going well so I do have that, but -

I still believe in my novels.  I'm six chapters into novel 3. Another romantic comedy. I'm enjoying writing it, so maybe I'll plough on and finish it for my own satisfaction then pop it in a drawer with the others.

Remind me again why I do this ...

Hope I haven't come across as a self-pitying whinger. I know it's a brutal business and it's one I entered into with my eyes wide open. I just wanted to explain, in case any of you were wondering.

I kind of feel better for it.


Suzanne Jones said...

Many hugs, Karen. It's tough at the moment, but we have to hope things will pick up and someone snaps up your romantic comedies soon.


Teresa Ashby said...

I think you're being very calm under the circumstances! And I think you're very right to keep on with novel 3. I definitely think you should look for another agent xx

Kath said...

I think you have to keep writing what you enjoy, Karen. Things can change a lot in a short space of time and not just for the worse. Della Galton says something very encouraging in her current column in WF about an agent or publisher telling her that there would always be a market for well-written books. xx

Debs Carr said...

You write so well that I'm sure this is only a temporary blip. x

Dumdad said...

I noticed you'd gone quiet on the blogging front as well. It must be disappointing to be so close and now so far away from getting published.

But don't give up!

I keep telling myself I'll have another crack at novel writing after two previous novels got nowhere. It's a tough business! Good luck.

Mama J said...

Remember, you've come a lot further than most with your writing. Keep at it x

Chris Stovell said...

So sorry to read your news, but please, please keep writing. All, best wishes, Cx.

joanne fox said...

It's hard to know which way to go sometimes, especially if the market for your chosen genre has gone quiet. You're doing so well with novel 3, though, it would be a shame to abandon it. Trends do come and go in publishing - but romance never goes completely out of fashion. And if you're enjoying what you right then that alone is a very good reason to continue. Sending positive vibes to you!

gaelikaa said...

A bit disappointing, but don't let it get you down. You're a lovely writer. Your day will come as a novelist.

Good that your stories are doing down. You're a lovely writer. Your day will come as a novelist.

Good that your stories are doing well.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Sorry to hear of your disappointments - and we all know what that's like these days!

Keep writing the novels and sending them out - there are other publishers taking all kinds of novels and trends are up and down.

Caroline said...

Hugs Karen - the road to publication is a rocky one indeed! Caroline x p.s don't give up - you are a great writer!

Evelyn said...

Oh Karen, how devastatingly disappointing. But remember, it's not your writing, it's the terrible market at the moment.

Anna Scott Graham said...

First let me set down my cup of tea and hug you to bits!

Okay, cup of tea back in hand (don't ask how I do it while typing). Whatever you do, stay true to yourself. Write what makes you happy. I was chatting with my mum last night and she noted that my recent book really isn't her style, but that she would read it anyways (bless her!). I told her if I wanted to make a lot of money, I could write about vampires. She asked, "Do you write about vampires?" I said, "Uh, no." Then we both laughed.

Something I think what has gotten lost in this profession is integrity. Okay, maybe not just this profession. But writing has to be a passion, has to curl our toes, make us tremble, sometimes so hard we are weeping in a pile. If I wrote about vampires, or hobbit vampires, well, then I'd really be huddled in a corner, no matter how many publishing deals were knocking at my door.

Keep writing, taking this moment as a chance to do just that! You still have a novel coming out, maybe not in English, but Karen, who KNOWS what will come of that! Maybe several fan letters that need translating, maybe someone asking for the film rights. Or maybe the satisfaction of your name, that title, on a cover, maybe not in the UK, but published nonetheless. And as you're waiting for all that to happen, ask yourself; what do I want? I did that after my first novel, and had to smile. I needed to get back to work. So I wrote. And wrote and wrote. And now...

Now I'm so pleased to be where I am. Let this temporary bump be what it is, then finish that cuppa and get on with it! :)))

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Just keep going, Karen. Disappointing, I know, but keep your chin up! Write what you enjoy and if it's good enough it will fly. I think it's a mistake to chase markets - it takes time to write a book and by the time you've finished the market will have changed again. FAITH!

Denise said...

See, you do know what you're doing :-) You're writing what makes you happy, the market won't be over-sold forever and you have a shiny German book on it's way. Do have a go with the thriller once you've finished this one though, sounds exciting and it's always fun to write something different.

Also - Agent are like buses!

liz fenwick said...

First big hugs. Now keep writing and believing. Be true to what you want to write and to your voice...otherwise it won't work. Write and follow your heart.

HelenMHunt said...

Your talent will shine through, and you will get there xxx

Diane Fordham said...

Hugs Karen - you just keep writing about what you are passionate about and that's where your writing shines through. Your novels will get published - when they are meant too. Keep writing and down the track re-read those novel manuscripts with fresh more experience eyes and see what you think. The publishing market is always changing and your turn will come. Don't ever, ever give up!

Anonymous said...

Bugger!!! Sorry to hear this Clarkey. Ruddy recession when will it end? Now you keep writing those lovely words of yours and don't be giving up hope now. Tommoxx

Shirley Wells said...

It's a tough business and getting tougher by the day it seems. I think all you can do is write from the heart. It's impossible to guess the next publishers' must-have and damned difficult to write what you think you ought to write rather than what you long to write. I think you're right to keep on with novel number 3. By the time you've finished it, the market could well have picked up again. Good luck!

Talli Roland said...

Karen, I hear you. Times are hard right now for chick lit/ rom com writers. All I've heard lately is that the market is saturated.

That said, have a look at Kindle. Rom com/ chick lit SELLS!

Have you considered self-pub? I'm happy to have a discussion off line if you want to chat more... :)

Lorna F said...

Karen, I understand what you're going through: it's so tough to stay true to your vision, especially when hopes have been raised. This is how this business works and we all hate it and yet we're all still driven to try to make it work for us. I know you'll keep writing because it's in you, you have a special and individual voice and we love that voice. So lick your wounds but don't give up and don't write in a genre that doesn't suit you. When I started writing my agent said historical fiction was unpublishable - look at it now! Your time will come. It will - whether as a traditionally published author or as a self-published author. Yes, the Kindle is worth considering! Take a look at writers such as Linda Gillard - she's been through the mill with publishers and is now carving her own successful path. (Have to say, by the way, that tough business or no tough business, your agent didn't show much staying power!) Rooting for you kid, as we all are. xxx

Amanda said...

You are a FANTASTIC writer, Karen - never, EVER lose sight of that! xx

Jean said...

Oh, Karen, this must be so disappointing for you. You have achieved getting the German deal, and I still hope and believe you will one day get the UK publisher you deserve. You're a wonderful writer with a style that's always lively, witty and engaging. The market changes and could just as easily swing back round to a high demand for your chosen genre. Big hugs to you xx

Anna May said...

Virtual hug first and it's OK to be tired. But - don't give up! It is a stinking market out there at the moment, but by the time you perfect your new manuscript it won't be.
Pererverance is all and after waiting thirty years for a book deal I should know!

Anna May x

Jayne said...

I read this post a little while ago and didn't have time then to comment but it stayed with me, hencing popping back.

My heart goes out to you, it really does, as I'd know how I'd be in that position. I think you have to continue writing what you want to write, what you want to read. Do it for the love of it and then see what happens.

It's not the same thing, but at the beginning of the decade I was knee deep in a different book idea that didn't get off the ground. An agent I queried said that it sounded great but he'd over-bought in that market. Although that shouldn't have put me off, it really did - to the point that I shelved that book idea and left writing for a whole three years, and now I think what a waste... I was very inexperienced. I wouldn't do it again. But... I guess what I am saying is keep going - don't stop!

womagwriter said...

Sorry to hear this, Karen. You are a great writer though, and bad timing is not your fault. Keep writing whatever it is you most want to write, whether that's current novel 3 or the psychological thriller. And maybe you can find another agent who'll do better for you.

Jenny Beattie said...

Crumbs it's a bugger of a profession isn't it? I absolutely believe you will get there. I think you should write what you want to write because you're right, it sings loud and clear when you're writing the wrong thing for the wrong reason.

And big hugs.

Sue said...

Hi Karen. So sorry about what's happened. As a fledgling short story writer who after many years has had her first short story published I'm in awe of all you have achieved. Never give up. And wow. What a great lot writers are. When my first short story was accepted all my writer friends were SO thrilled for me and the string of support, love and encouragement sent to you must go some way to helping you through this. I'm proud in a very small way to belong to such a super crowd of people.:-)

Susie Vereker said...

Oh Karen, just seen this. How depressing, but you must carry on. I am sure you will be published eventually and I will definitely buy your books.

Lydia said...

Hi Karen. Coming late to this one, sorry. Just wanted to send a hug and echo everyone else really. You have to write what you want, or there is no point to it. And why not try Kindle? Yours wouldn't be the first novel to be picked up by traditional publishers after being successful by self-publishing - in the present market more than ever publishers would be more likely to take on something that had already proved its market.
But please don't doubt yourself and stick with the short stories because at least they can give you satisfaction in the knowledge that thousands of people will read and enjoy your well chosen words.
Chin up, kid and come and visit my blog - I miss you! (Not that I've been blogging much lately!)
Take good care of yourself. x

Karen said...

What a lovely lot you are.

suzanne - Thank you, I really hope so too :o)

teresa - I suppose I've had a while to get used to it. No luck yet with other agents but have approached a few publishers directly.

kath - That's a very good point worth bearing in mind - thank you :o)

debs - Thank you, I do hope so :o)

dumdad - The whole process has been a bit of an eye-opener, but I can't really help carrying on - for now!

mama j - That's worth bearing in mind too - thank you :o)

chris - Thank you :o) I get down in the dumps for a bit, but then seem to bounce back!

joanne - I'm still enjoying writing novel 3 and am determined to carry on with it. I suppose only time will tell whether it was the right thing to do!

gaelikka - Thank you :o) Selling a story here and there certainly keeps my spirits up!

rosemary - I think the most frustrating thing was being told several times that '3 years ago, it would have sold by now'!!

caroline - I'm not giving up - for now, anyway!

evelyn - It does seem to be in a bit of a bad way. I'll just have to be patient for a few years longer!

anna - What a lovely, uplifting comment - thank you so much :o)) It's good to get to a place where you're happy with what you're doing and for now I've stopped looking for another agent and have approached a few independent publishers on my own instead. One is interested so it's fingers crossed - but I'm not getting my hopes up too much!

Karen said...

pat - I think that's half the battle - if you stick to what you enjoy it definitely comes through in your writing. At least that's what I keep telling myself :o)

denise - I'm SO looking forward to clutching a shiny German copy I can't tell you! I'll be going over there and buying one from an actual shop and everything :o)

diane - I don't think I can give up, but sometimes I pause and wonder why I'm bothering! It must be in my blood thought because I can't stop writing. Not yet, anyway :o)

tommo - Where ARE you??? I need to look at some of your lovely pictures xxx

liz - I've tried writing to a 'formula' and it just doesn't work for me. Following my heart it is then ... :o)

helen - Thank you. I hope so xx

shirley - I've decided that's the best thing for now - to carry on with novel 3, which I'm enjoying, and hope for the best :o)

talli - Thank you for all your help :o))

lorna - Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I have to say that I (quietly!) thought that too about my agent, but I guess business is business and that's that - she's moved on to bigger and better things. There are so many other options when it comes to publishing these days, and I'll definitely be looking closely at them all. For now I'm going it alone and approaching independent publishers instead, as most agents have told me the same thing about my genre. One publisher is interested, so we'll see what happens next :o)

amanda - Aw thank you, that means a lot xx

jean - You're so lovely, I really appreciate your support :o) I suppose it's a case of 'keep calm and carry on' for now.

anna may - Thirty years - that kind of puts things in perspective :o) It's hard to be patient, but I know I haven't got much choice. Looking forward to reading your book.

jayne - Thank you so much. It's so hard to keep going in the face of rejection I don't blame you for giving up! I keep reading that perseverance is everything, so I suppose I'll just have to carry on and be patient :o)

womagwriter - I've had similar comments from other agents, unfortunately, so for now I'm going it alone and approaching some independent publishers :o)

jenny - It certainly is! I was lulled into a false sense of security by the German deal, so it's been a wake-up call. Patience, patience. They say good things come to those who wait. I hope it's true!

sue - The support from other writers (and readers) never fails to amaze me - I couldn't ask for more :o) And congratulations on selling a story, I hope it's the first of many.

susie - It is a bit depressing, but I'm definitely not giving up - not yet anyway! And bless you for saying you'll buy my books x

lydia - Thank you :o) The stories are a blessing really and do keep me going when I get fed-up with the novel stuff. There are plenty of options regarding publishing these days and I'll hopefully get my book out there eventually, one way or another :o) I haven't been blogging much either, but will pop over to yours x

Thank you all so much for your support, I feel quite embarrassed for whining and you've been very patient!

DAB said...


I'm over 'ere (not many words or twaddle is spoken though!) ;-)

Tommox (AKA DAB)

Karen said...

tommo - Thank you :o) xx

Kirsty said...

Hiya Karen,

I've only just seen this and wanted to send hugs. I love your blog and was so excited when I read about Future Husband. Keep the faith. I really reckon that there'll be another upswing in a short while. Keep writing so that you have a book ready for when it happens.

Love Kirsty (Novelicious)

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