Thursday, February 01, 2007

Survival of the fittest

Thankful Thursday sees me with plenty to be thankful for.

In August 2006, Silhouette announced they'd cancel the Bombshell line of action/adventure novels. Sales weren't as high as expected, and the company thought it best to shut the line down. The last Bombshells were released in January 2007.

For many authors, Bombshell had promised the chance to tell a bigger and yet more focused story: A story in which a heroine's goals and obstacles challenged her sense of self, and the Happily Ever After could be hers, and if necessary, hers alone. But Bombshell seemed to be the right stories in the wrong time. Or maybe the wrong format. Who knows?

Those of us who'd made our publishing debut within Bombshell wondered where and when we would ever publish again. Our books seemed ill-suited to publication elsewhere, and yet these were, in many ways, the stories that drove and thrilled us. So what were we supposed to do now?

People have asked if I regret beginning my publishing career with the short-lived Bombshell line. Well, I don't believe in looking back. When I stop to consider what I would have done differently, I'm essentially trying to guess whether a decision I made three years ago might have produced better results for me today. But in my experience, regretting the past and projecting into the future serves only to make me dissatisfied with the present. It makes more sense to me to remain here, now, facing the page that's before me.

Last week I received a call from the editor now in charge of the orphaned Athena Force continuity, a Bombshell series going into its third year. The Athena Force novels were quite popular, consisting of an ongoing storyline of graduates from the Athena Academy for Young Women. Readers -- of all ages -- wanted more of them.

So starting in August 2007, the third Athena Force series will be released monthly as a stand-alone continuity. My book, HUNTER, about an Athena graduate working for the U.S. Coast Guard and possessing a very special gift, will be the March 2008 release.

For the action/adventure fans who wrote to us, upset about the line's closing, we have 12 more books on the way. Hooray!

And for authors who fear the closing of lines and imprints and publishing houses, only this: We are here, now, and what else is there, really? The page in front of us, the story burning in our hearts, and the care we can take of ourselves and our gifts.

Tomorrow can fend for itself.


JoAnn Ross said...

Sandra, I'm so happy for you!! As are my Cajun Dancing Boys who love any reason to celebrate, and this is a great one! How wonderful that HQ actually listened to their readers!! (Note to self. . . tell all the readers who are upset that A Woman's Heart has gone out of print yet again -- sigh -- to write directly to Mira.)

One of the mystery writers on the Authors at Sea cruise I was on last spring (or maybe it was Dean Koontz at the cocktail party the night before the ship sailed) claimed a writer has to reinvent his or herself every five years.

Now, I'm not sure that five years scenario fits all, but given that inertia is probably one of the most dangerous bogs we can fall into -- in writing and in life -- having things shaken up from time to time might actually be good for us creatively. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL

Sandra K. Moore said...

Thanks for posting, Joann, and sending out the Cajun Dancing Boys!

That reinvention idea is a pretty good one, I think -- avoid stagnation and keep moving forward (or sideways, or in whatever direction calls to us). Five years? Maybe. I seem to naturally cycle in 7's, but you never know.

I don't believe in wasted efforts, so every endeavor, no matter how seemingly "stupid" or "backwards" or whatever, has a great capacity to teach me something new.

And check it out -- we've got 12 more books!

Nancy Morse said...

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. If you've been in this business long enough, you're bound to have experienced:
1) publishers going out of business
2) lines closing
3) editors being removed or going to other houses
4) proposals being rejected after editor loves/adores it
5) option books not picked up
6) all of the above

Each one just adds another scar to the tough-as-nails hide you have to acquire to stay in this business. But I say the more scars you accumulate the wiser you become and the more you learn. And there's something about being told no that makes you want to go out and prove the world wrong. Just repeat this mantra - There are no wasted efforts.

JoAnn Ross said...

Agree with the no wasted efforts mantra. Also, every single bad thing I've experienced over 25 years (and boy, there are very few that haven't happened to me!) has always brought me to a much better place. Sometimes it takes a while to find the window after a door slams shuts, but if you look long and hard enough, it's always there somewhere.

Cheryl Bolen said...

I'm curious, Sandra. Did the Athena Force editor ask you to do another besides the one you're just turning in?

Hey, folks, Sandra K., is a fantastic new talent.

Colleen Thompson said...

Congratulations, Sandra. I'm thrilled as a reader, too, because I love your books!

My first book was quickly followed by the closing of the line, too, and it's terribly scary, but as Nancy pointed out, it's one of the Inenvitables that most experience when in this business long enough. If we can't avoid them, we'll just have to survive them - at least long enough to officially Show Them. (Whoever "Them" might be.)

Sandra K. Moore said...

Thanks for dropping by, ladies!

Nancy, I know I've personally scared some prepubbed folks because I've been honest about my experiences. But the way I feel about it is that if I'd known then what I know now, I might have done things a little differently. And I don't think it's my job to take that same option away from anyone. So yes, say it again, and again, and again!

Cheryl, this is the same book for the same continuity. Athena Force 3 went on hold for a while, but is kicking into high gear now. We don't know yet if there'll be another continuity after this one, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Colleen, thanks for sharing your own experience and for the kind words about my work. (Thanks to you, too, Cheryl!)

Samantha Hunter said...

Sandra, I'm so happy to hear it, and so moved by your post.

The Orchid Hunter is on the shelf directly across from me as I write this, because I loved that book so much. I remember when it came out being outraged about Dan Brown, because I thought your book was so much more worth of the fanfare than his! LOL Seriously loved that book, and can't wait to see more. There's always more, as long as we keep writing, and I don't think you could have shared a better message with us.