The Tower Has Fallen

This week I received some terrible if not wholly unexpected news: my publisher, Torquere, is closing. Yes, it was a small publisher. Yes, it was once a lot better than it became. Yes, there was drama. However, they were always good to me (under both sets of owners), and so it is sad to see a once good publisher with a good reputation crumble into nothingness.

I started my publication journey reading other gay novels and finding them somewhat lacking — to me, at any rate. I read two that were, in fact, so terrible that I absolutely knew I could do better. I wrote something I still think is far better than either of the trash novels I had the misfortune to read.

I shopped it to agents, naively thinking that anyone would want to represent a long novel about gay werewolves. I was turned down with form letters in almost every case. One agent said that I have talent and (I think) that the story was good, but it wasn’t what she was looking for. Still, personal feedback from an agent on a book I had no business searching for an agent for was and remains encouraging. I think I went through 8 or 10 agents before I wised up.

I made a list of publishers from most wanted to least desirable. Torquere was, at the time, the first stop on my list…and the last, as it turns out. They accepted the novel, and I got to brag (if only to myself…and here, I guess) that the first publisher I tried wanted my novel. That road was rocky and I ended up writing only two short stories more for them.

Life hurled curveballs at me for a long time, and I started writing more, telling myself that I should diversify, that I should write for other publishers and establish relationships with them, even though there was no indication that within three years Torquere would be closing. I did not do this and I regret it now.

Soon, I will have my rights returned to me for my novel (which I just signed another three year renewal contract on, alas) and the one short story I didn’t already get back. I am eyeing several opportunities and other publishers. One is a very attractive option, but they don’t take previously published work or series without special dispensation from their editor in chief. So, my wolves would be out unless I managed to get in there or send them a letter persuasive enough to make them change their minds. Another publisher was actually my first choice originally, but they didn’t print books over a certain word count, and mine was definitely over that. Having my book in print was, at the time, very important to me. However, this latter publisher nearly shut down earlier this year, and I really don’t want to go through this crapola again. However, I do know someone who publishes with them, so I just might bug her.

There is, of course, always the possibility of self-publication. I dislike this option because it lacks legitimacy (to me), but also because I suck at marketing myself, and would prefer a professional company do this for me.

Yet there is something in me that has grander plans. Gay novels and short stories are fun and easy for me (yes…that is bragging and I am sorry to have subjected you to it). It was never my intention to stop there. My intention was to gain experience and then break into mainstream fiction, possibly under a different pseudonym. I still want more experience, but why not try? I have enough non-gay-centric stories to fill roughly eleventeen tomes. Why not start now, still write my gay werewolves (because I love them), and edit for a year if I have to in order to get the mainstream feel I want? I will likely never not have a gay storyline or characters, but I don’t see the need to make their sexuality or romance the only story. Hell, my wolves were about more than all that anyway.

My future is uncertain, my writing habits are shaky, and my heart is heavy. But I have possibilities. Lots of them. I’m sad Torquere is closing, but this is not the end of MY journey.

In fact, I suspect my journey is just beginning.

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~ by Darren Endymion on December 15, 2016.

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