Dodging a Bullet at the Cost of a Dream – An update on my children’s book

Last year I was elated when I got the email I had been waiting for my whole life.  The email telling me that my children’s chapter book had been accepted for publication.  The process from query to acceptance had taken over 2 years, but that moment on that day was worth the wait.  I immediately called the Editorial Director to say I would accept their offer of publication and we began talking about moving forward, with spring 2013 as the timeframe we were looking at for a launch.


I was overjoyed to share my news with family, friends, co-workers – many of them as excited as I was.  My family took me out to dinner to celebrate and I splurged on a beautiful piece of jewelry with the intent that it would be worn at my book launch.  My sister-in-law brought me a congratulatory gift and an old friend from high school who lives in Ontario popped in with her beautiful daughter to give me flowers.  The next year was going to be the most exciting of my life.  Or so I thought.

Instead of a book launch this spring, in May I was informed that my book was never coming out of editorial.  The publisher was facing financial problems, my book would not be moving forward, and I was free to seek a new publisher.

I could very easily have rolled up into a ball and died at that point.  Not only had my personal dream been crushed, but I felt like I had let everyone down – my kids, my husband, my friends, my family.  EVERYONE.  I was (still am) humiliated, embarrassed, devastated.  I couldn’t bring myself to speak of it.  I was going to look like a complete fool and failure to everyone and the haters, you know, the people who pretend to be happy for you, but really hope you fail miserably, they were going to be beaming when they heard this.

Then in June my 12 year old daughter had a medical emergency that threatened her life and landed her in the IWK Children’s Hospital for 16 days hooked up to a heart monitor.  I was reminded very quickly that in the big scheme of things losing my book deal wasn’t really the end of the world and it was time to move forward.

The following blog post written by author, Deanna Foster, pretty much sums up how I and many others I’m sure feel.

There has been a lot in the news lately about Bryler Publications and the impact their financial woes have had on local authors, the majority of whom are first time authors like me.  The reports getting the most media attention have focused largely on authors who were asked to contribute financially towards the production and printing of their book and in exchange were offered significantly higher royalty rates, which was one of 3 models they operated under.  They offered traditional publishing, joint publishing, and self-publishing.

I take a bit of offence to some of the comments that have been made in response to the media that I’ve seen floating around cyber space implying the authors should have researched the company better, etc.  While I can only speak for myself, I did research the publisher and found it to be very reputable.  I purchased a lot of their books to ensure the quality of their product, they had at least one book featured in a very reputable parenting magazine, their authors were often interviewed by Global and CTV, one of their books became a National Bestseller, most made NS bestseller lists, and I believe at least one was optioned for film.  In addition, they ran a program in the schools to develop young writers.  All this within 3 years of opening their doors.  I think we all believed we were in good hands.

So, despite the disappointment, I believe I dodged a bullet and probably came out better than most.  I did not contribute anything financially and while my book didn’t make it to print I got tremendously valuable editorial feedback and have really learned a lot.  My ego and pride has taken a beating, but the only real thing I have lost is time and knowing that when it eventually makes it into print it won’t be relevant to either of my kids anymore.  Their friends and classmates will be too old for it.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out my next move.  Should I start from scratch and re-submit to other publishers and likely wait at least 3 years to see it in print or do I take charge and self-publish?  OR do I do something even more crazy and establish my own place in the publishing world?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned and see.  I don’t know the answer yet.


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