Over the weekend, I did something that could, potentially, turn out to be incredibly stupid. Or it could pay off.
One of the great things about landing a contract is being able to bypass the slushpile. You just submit your story directly to your editor. This doesn’t guarantee you a yes, god, yes, I have to have this now, but it is an advantage over the other poor schmucks trying to get a foot in the door.
What they don’t tell you is it can lead to the inability to see beyond the publisher and lack of motivation to submit anywhere else.
One of my birthday goals is to secure a contract with another publisher. Not because I want to leave Entangled, but because diversification is a good thing. I never wanted to be one of those authors who only had books available with one publisher. Doing so meant I would be subjected to their pricing schemes, release schedules, and parameters for marketing and publicity, without the opportunity to branch out and try other things. Since I want to keep learning, it makes sense to go elsewhere to be published, to see how the process differs from house to house.
When I made that goal, I had something specific in mind – I have an urban fantasy I’ve stalled on (which frustrates me to no end, but that’s a different story) that I’d planned to submit and hopefully secure a contract for. When it became clear there was no way in hell I’d have it in submittable shape by spring, I sort of gave up. I didn’t have anything else complete to the point I’d feel comfortable submitting it. I had one project I’d hoped to revise and maybe submit by the end of the year, but it was at the bottom of my priority list as far as projects went.
So I went on my merry way, submitting two more projects for consideration to my editor, both of which he likes.
This is where the potentially dumb and/or brilliant thought comes in.
One of those projects is something that could very well fit another publisher’s needs. It never occurred to me to submit elsewhere, because in my mind, it belonged to my editor. I’d told him about the project before I’d even written the first word. Also, where would I submit it? Samhain’s been making waves recently with some of their contract language, making me leery of submitting to them. Harlequin’s been bought by HarperCollins (the sale goes through at the end of the year), so who knows what will happen with them and Carina Press (whose parent company is Harlequin).
But there are other options. Avon Impulse still accepts unagented submissions, as does Random House’s Loveswept line. A few other digital first publishers (Swoon Romance and Crimson Romance) are viable routes. And in my eagerness to have as many books as possible come out in a short period of time, I’d forgotten about them.
On Saturday night I hit submit on my query to Random House. They’ve taken a lot of flak for the way their contracts are structured, but in the ensuing chaos, they’ve also reworked them. Plus, hello, it’s Random House. It’s a different house. It’s a Name in publishing.
Now begins the waiting period. Their query process is a bit different from other digital-first imprints. You submit your query letter and they respond in 2-4 weeks with a yes, we want to see your manuscript or a no, thanks for playing. Will they want to see this project? I sure as fuck hope so.