We Interrupt This Five Days . . .

Just when things start sailing, you hit a speed bump. SMP did not care for Nita and does not want a Crusie supernatural, which is what Mackie would have been, so back to the drawing board. I have agents who are on the problem, and Jen and I are still good, so all is fine. It’s a marketing decision mostly, although the book was also too damn long.

Cogitating here. But no worries, nothing but good times ahead.

90 thoughts on “We Interrupt This Five Days . . .

  1. Ouch! I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope your agents find a great home for it very soon because I for one really, really want to read it. It seems to me that your writing heart is in the supernatural now, so could it be that SMP just isn’t the publisher for you at this stage, freaky though that sounds?

    1. You know, this is publishing. It’s not the first time SMP has rejected one of my books under contract. You just regroup and try again.

      1. Yeah, I just hate to think of you giving up on Mackie and all your other supernatural WIPs. Being purely selfish here. I want to read those stories.

        1. So when they rejected your other books did they get published elsewhere? I know nothing about how this works.

          1. Every book I’ve ever written has been published somewhere. At least one proposal (first thirty pages and a synopsis) was rejected and I never went back to it. I’ve started others that never got to the proposal stage.

        2. I’m not. Just having to rethink my publishing plan.

          As I used to tell my students, writing and publishing are not the same thing.

      2. OH Jenny I miss your books! I don’t know if you will remember, but I had a friend write you some years ago telling you that I learned to read braille so that I could read “Tell Me Lies”. Braille was the only way I could find that book in a unbridged version. You so kindly sent me a couple of autographed audio books. I cherish them. Everytime I open audib le I look for anything that I haven’t gotten to read by you. Your books make me so happy. I listen to them over and over again. I just wanted you to know that I enjoy every word you write and I look forward to every book. Since my last letter to you I have become computer savy for blindies and I can search the web on my own. But know this, your book, Tell Me Lies, was what got me started on my way to learning the accessible world for blind people! Forever your fan, Tanya

        1. Well, after a really bad day, I get Tanya (and Veronica coming out of lurk) and suddenly the world is good again. So glad to hear from you again. I’ll tell Mollie you wrote; she’ll be so happy.

          1. Jenny, This is gonna sound crazy,nbut by any chance do you remember getting a crocheted shall in the mail…..It was made with eyelash yarn. I had my husband box it up and mail it to you a few years ago. He forgot to put the card in it and he found the card several months later. If you remember getting it and thought what kind of nut sends something without their name in it….well, it was me. Or it was my husband. Anyway. I made that shall and I hope you liked it and remember it….LOLOLOL Tanya

          2. Yes. It was purple and shiny, right? You’d e-mailed us about it, so we knew it was you. It was lovely. Krissie came to visit and wore it around the house like a diva. I’m pretty sure I wrote back to thank you; if not, I’m positive Mollie did, she’s very careful about things like that. That was awhile ago.

      3. Yikes. I missed this, somehow. You could probably self-publish it (after revisions) and have a million fans rush out to buy it. Doesn’t solve your SMP problem, but it would give you some money coming in and something to do with Nita (which I also want to read).

  2. I think I’ve mentioned here that I would love to write a caper, but apparently the market isn’t great for them right now according to my agent. Not what I wanted to hear, but better to know now than after I’ve written the whole thing and then get told it’s not marketable. (Different issue than what Jenny is experiencing, since there WILL be a home for Nita, but not so much for my caper. Just saying publishing is tough.)

    I’m resigned to sticking to mystery, and actually the brainstorming was already leading me more toward a mystery with a caper inciting event, so it may be for the best. My girls seem to crave dead bodies these days, so I may have been forcing them along the caper path, and now they’re free.

    1. I think there’s a danger to writing what is currently popular. It takes so long to write a book (for me at least) and to get it into people hands that I could easily miss the curve. So I try to write what I like and hope the world catches up (or slows down) for me. 🙂

    2. Publishing doesn’t want any of the things I’m writing these days. (Mind you, they don’t want much of anything, as far as I can tell, except for very spicy romance, romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries, none of which I write.)

      1. There’s something screwed up with the way the publishing world works, I think. No one seems willing to take a ‘risk’ on a great book that doesn’t fit into the perceived hot trends.

        But attend any function with agents and editors and you’ll find them asking for the hot new trends…that have mostly come from the indie/self publishing world.

        They don’t seem to think readers want a great book. Sometimes they are right. There are readers that love a certain niche in romance or whatever and will devour all books with that theme. But many readers want more. They want a book they can sink into and discover a more nuanced world.

        It seems in ways the traditional publishing world is treading the quicksand, and the new publishing world is trying to find its feet by publishing a lot of dreck (and sparkly gems, too), and when something hits, they all rush for that like starved sharks.

        I know. That was a lot of mixed metaphor-type stuff.

        My point is things need to change. And Nita (and your stuff) will find a home.

        The end.

  3. Wow. That’s tough. But fortunately you have Jen who will find the perfect home for Nita. And my self-sacrifice of not reading excerpts to keep Nita fresh for me will not have been in vain.

  4. Oh, poo. Thanks for letting us know. Have a feeling someone somewhere’s gonna do an enlightened rethink.

  5. My stomach knots up thinking of your situation.

    My feeling is that it’s better that you wrote and finished Nita than to have been told to give her up part way through. I have several finished (well, not by Crusie standards) stories including one that I didn’t show anyone. I like knowing that it was done. In fact, there are parts of it that stay with me and cheer me up.

    Obviously, the situation is utterly different for you. Just trying to say something supportive.

  6. Huh? Given that they published Wild Ride and Maybe This Time which are on the paranormal side of things that seems odd but what do I know?

    I can see the length issue. I would understand the marketing if you were putting out a Regency every year and then went to paranormals.

    This is why I’m in reading not publishing I guess.

    1. Personally I prefer longer novels and would think it would need to be longer when you start crossing genres and having more subplots.

      Ah well, I have faith there is a publisher smart enough to publish Nita but I am sorry for the additional stress to you

      1. You know, this is publishing. It happens to all of us. And in the long run, it may be a very good thing. Hard to see this close in time, but at the very least, the future will be interesting.

      1. Trends come and go. Gothic, legal thrillers, vampires, women who move home to start bakeries (that one may still be going). One minute they’re everywhere and the next minute they’re gone.

        1. And as a former bookseller who worked on the front lines, some of those publishing trends confused the heck out of me. Frequently, the readers still there, just waiting for the publishers to cycle around to what they wanted to read again.

          1. This. If they published a great story, especially from an established and famous writer, they might shock themselves by sales. Same with a beautifully written book by someone else.

            Maybe the reason some of these trends cycle is a vast majority of the books are just on the trend and not well-written, so people who gorge on romance get sick of all the candy, and move to the next sub genre shoved at them?

            and the ones who genuinely like books that fall into a certain theme wait, as you said, for the good ones to come around again.

            I don’t know.

  7. So bummed to hear this. So frustrating because I WANT to read this book. I am so tired of all the rehashed 50 Shades of Grey, motorcycle club, accidentally pregnant and sports star heroes themes (sorry if any of you write these) being the primary romance books out. Not that they’re all complete garbage but IMO most are. I get daily emails from bookbubs and I keep hoping the tide will shift. Why can’t a Crusie book swing that tide?

  8. Dang. Glad you finished, and confident that Nita will make it to us readers – sorry you have to deal with bumps along the way.

  9. Well that’s a bummer. Sending big squishy hugs.
    I’m glad your agent is on it and will shop it elsewhere. Maybe Montlake and get the Amazon machine behind it, sell millions, make SMP regret their decision. Is that showing my mean streak? Ha ha.
    Seriously, Nita will find a home, but I know that doesn’t help as you still owe SMP another book, right? Might be time to dust off one of stories you’ve had on the back burner.

  10. Delurking to mention that I have read everything of Nita you posted and will buy it in any form it is published in. And possibly in multiple forms. Despite their opinion (and not having read anything beyond what you posted) I am sure it is awesome.

  11. I wonder who publishes Chuck Wendig. His novels seem more akin to Nita than SMP stuff. (of course, very high grade stuff, but so is Mr. Wendig’s stuff.)

  12. To quote Ariana Grande, “Thank you, next!”

    It’ll get published. You’ll write the novella. And more. Yay us.

  13. They do know that you have a raft of people here who are desperate to hand over money to read this book, right?

  14. Is it time to investigate self-publishing yet? It isn’t like an unknown author contributing to Sturgeon’s Slush Pile (90% of everything in there is crud), you are established and have a following and we want to throw our money at you.

  15. What I don’t understand, is why your book is too long. I always seem to be reading paperbacks of 500 to 600 densely printed pages. And enjoying them too. So why are you always having to cut your books down?
    Here’s hoping your agent finds you a publisher who publishes longer books.

    1. Sometimes books are just too long. It’s a pacing problem.
      Also Nita is practically a Dickens book in that it has a thousand characters and almost that many subplots. So if a book is long and so complex that readers get lost, that’s not good.
      But I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Actually, I won’t worry about it then, no point in worrying, just get in there and fix it.

      1. No no we didn’t get lost. I was looking forward to this so much. Muttered curses.
        I hope you find a publisher soon, good luck to you and your team, I am sure they have already sprung into action.

  16. Publishing is a totally strange world which I do not pretend to understand. And I always think that writing is the hard part. I’m impressed by how upbeat you are and your positive spin on things. I am going to try to adopt some of that attitude.

    1. The thing about publishing is that you can’t take it seriously. It’s a big Monopoly game where the rules keep changing, so you either have to love the game (that would be my agents and editor) or let somebody else worry about it (that’s me). So that’s what I’m doing.

      1. I read somewhere years ago, ‘Take your writing seriously, but not your career.’ It’s not always easy to do, but I try. So much of it is luck and circumstance. I hope this gets sorted out, Jenny. I very much want to read Nita’s story.

  17. Well hell. This just sucks.

    I don’t know squat about publishing but if you keep writing books and they keep rejecting them, at some point do you get let out of the contract without penalties?

  18. Is there anywhere we can write long raving letters about how we want to throw money so we can own this book? I don’t understand publishing at all (obviously) but I love your books.

    1. It’s a marketing decision, and it’s fine. Doesn’t mean the book is dead. Just means the future is now full of multiple possibilities. Change is good.

    1. One of the problems of have two great agencies is that they have to figure out who reps what. Once we decide who’s selling Nita, then I’ll talk to the agent who’s stuck with her about the future. We’re still in the sorting out stage since this hit after close of business yesterday.

      I’m going to be on the phone all day, but fortunately I love the people who rep me, they’s not just good at what they do, they’re smart, fun people, and I do love shiny new things–SQUIRREL!–so figuring out a new future will be fun.

  19. Jenny, I, too have lurked here for a while, and have followed you through the trials and tribulations of Nita. I think the book sounds fantastic. You’re one of my favorite writers. I’m a writer too, and we’re all being told that paranormals are a hard sell now. Don’t sweat it – it will find a home. And if you need the name of a good agent –

    1. Welcome out of lurk, Karen. I love it that so many of you are joining the Argh conversation.

      I have three agents so I’m good (g). This is just a speed bump. Nothing but good times ahead . . .

  20. Sucks that Nita’s story was rejected, but I love your positive attitude! Nothing but good times ahead! 😉

  21. I’m still waiting for the rest of Alice’s book Haunting Alice! !!! (You know, the one with the 1st chapter in which she and Ethan and Dennis/bolster are “wheels on the road” heading towards her childhood home *shudder* Archer House, to deal with selling -or, NOT selling!- it, etc., etc.) ?!

    I know! How about you just bypass the Mackie novella effort (for now, just for now…) and (instead) go directly to that book? (???!!!) 🙂 🙂 🙂

    And then you can mention things in Haunting Alice (in passing, as she reflects, or shares memories with Ethan, or whatever,) that will later be further explained/expanded/backgrounded in greater detail in the Mackie novella (which will then become the prequel?)

    Really, it might even be fun working backwards like that (I sometimes do that in real life… suddenly, as I’m trying to figure out something -and then the light bulb pops- I realize that my new discovery is also illuminating with regards to a past situation as well. Knowing something now can enlighten more than just my current puzzle, it can also enable a better understanding of something from an earlier time.*)

    * Not sure I’m explaining that too well there, I know it would help a lot if I just had a great editor sometimes, ha ha! (I wish for that frequently, in fact. In real life, on a daily basis, I mean.) 😉

    Honestly though, I (desperately! fervently! truly! deeply!) wish you would consider shifting to Alice’s book… I am frantic to get the rest of that story!

    I would “Marie Kondo” my entire book collection (o.k., so I admit up front that is a blatant Pinocchio nose statement there, I actually can’t imagine ever paring my books down to 30 total, granted, but am just saying that whopper in order to emphasize how great my desire is to read the rest of the chapters) just to read Alice’s book!!!

    And I wouldn’t mind getting to read the related book, “Stealing Nadine” either, where Alice’s brother Carter and Ethan’s best friend Nadine are having their own interactions (although for some reason, I can’t seem to find/access the “Discovery draft of first 3 scenes” for that. Nothing to click on there. Maybe the link got sidetracked?) 🙁

    But Alice first, of course!

    PLEASE don’t absolutely dismiss the suggestion (“backburner novella, go directly to Alice book?”) without giving it at least one small moment’s serious thought? 🙂 ??

    Consider this — Remember what the very first luscious and utterly delectable bite of a hot fudge sundae is like? /pause here for that involuntary shiver of creamy cold sweet sugar warm chocolate fluffy whipped cream happy taste bud hum overload sense memory…/ And NOW, think about having that sundae taken away immediately afterwards (that was it, one bite, ok, say bye now!)

    Leaving Alice there in the car with her trip suspended indefinitely is that same huge sort of wrench, like losing that sundae! (Must. Have. More. Chapters…) 😉 ??

    Meanwhile, I think I know what I’m having for dessert tonight… 😛

    1. LOL. If the problem is that they don’t want paranormal, writing a ghost story is probably not going to cut it. I full intend to finish Haunting Alice, I intend to finish all of them, just not now.

  22. I am having a “Wrinkle In Time” moment here. Glad your able team is on it, and look forward to whichever successful outcome it turns out to be.

  23. New York is not big on paranormal right now (understatement). Except for shifters, and that may have run its course by now.

    I’m sorry you won’t be working with Jen Enderlin, because I know you love to. , but I have no doubt Nita will find a loving home. And that house will reap the rewards that SMP passed on and we’ll finally get to read it front-to-back!

  24. I’m glad you’re gunning ahead, regardless of what form it takes. The world wants to see Nita and Nick.

    You’ve got the advance and other people to sort it out while you carry on with your creative work. But good luck!

  25. Drat. And bother. I have confidence in Nita (and Button) but this doubtless delays how soon I’ll get to read this novel. Hope this opens a window to new riches!

  26. OMG. You have no idea how much better I feel about my own rejections now, I know that’s not very nice of me, but it does show how totally screwed up publishing is. “We don’t want paranormals now.” But get a good book in a readers hands and they’ll read it regardless of its genre. (I’m an expert now, can you tell?)

    I’m suddenly grateful for my ghostwriting. I do wish I had time for my own writing, but at least I have the hack stuff to keep the roof over my head here in the ash heap on the hill.

    1. LOL. Really, glad this helps. I remember being at a dinner after SMP rejected my proposal (this would have been fifteen, twenty years ago) and having a writer there say, “YOU got rejected?” All the time, honey. Welcome to publishing.

      1. You know, it never occurred to me that they might reject it. Not in a million years. I thought that, like us, they would be so grateful you’d finished a book, they would pop the champagne and run with it. Clearly they missed that memo. Sigh.

        Now I don’t get Nita. Or any Crusie book for however long it takes you to write the next one and have it published. I haz a sad.

  27. Self-publish, Jennie (if it doesn’t contradict you contracts). You have so many faithful readers, you will sell very well. Bujold has several books published by her agency, not her publisher.

  28. What about the people who want to *read* paranormals but are having trouble finding good ones because of publisher trends? I was avoiding all the drafts because I really wanted to read the final book. I’m glad that you have options and aren’t conceding but I’m really sorry that you are having to get creative about it.

    1. This was me with Regencies/historical romcoms for twenty years, from about 1980, when UK publishers decided there was no market for them and would only publish sub-Catherine Cookson sagas. I found what I could in Mills and Boon, which is where I discovered Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz and Jenny. Then I spent two months in the States and bought an extra suitcase for all the books I found there. Finally I found a couple of bookshops stocking US imports on visits to London; and then Amazon launched.

      The brilliant thing now is that it’s possible to self-publish in ebook format at minimal cost. So if you’re into a subgenre, there’s bound to be someone telling those stories that you can access.

  29. I’m so sorry! I know this happens, and I know it’s publishing, and I know you and Jen are good, but still. It’s so wrong. I mean, they’re rejecting a *Crusie.* Paranormals by somebody else, fine. Reject away. (Sorry, Jeanne and everybody else who writes paranormals.) But your fans would read your paranormals or your grocery lists or whatever. Lord knows we never miss your blog. Seems too late in the day for SMP to be fussy over genre, thinking it won’t sell.

    Like you and everyone, I’m looking forward to what comes next!

  30. I’m so sorry this happened. Total bummer. I wanted to read this book! And a great writer got rejected. I am confident Nita will be published eventually, but it is an unnecessary bump in the road

  31. Add me to the list of people prepared to pay good money for Nita. In a non-creepy way, of course. Here’s hoping the near future brings a fresh publishing opportunity. Meanwhile, maybe it would help to be encouraged by the number of people here who obviously care a great deal. Hang in there, little camper.

  32. Also coming out of the lurk to say that whenever and however Nita gets published, I will be very excited and ready to read it!

    1. I should have been rejected a long time ago. Look at all these lurkers coming into the light!
      Welcome out of lurk, Gail.

    1. NOBODY. SMP is wonderful. And so will the next publisher be. Thank you for the kind thoughts, though (g).

  33. Wait a minute, do the publishers see chapters (like us Arghers) then when you’ve completed the book reject it?

    1. The first time you sell, they probably want a completed book.
      After that they’ll buy on proposal, which is something like the first 30 to 50 pages and a synopsis.
      Then when you’re established, you sign what are called no-paper contracts, which is just “Jenny’s next two novels.”
      So I wrote Nita because I wanted to write Nita and then sent it to Jen who hadn’t seen a proposal. Plus it’s been ten years since my last book was out, and my name isn’t what it used to be.
      The next publisher will see Nita as finished, plus a proposal for another book (they usually want a two-book contract).
      Does that help?

  34. I didn’t get a chance to read the comments – but if it hasn’t already been suggested, since your READERS want Nita, we can circulate a petition for your publisher. I bet everyone who reads your blog would sign, and I know half a dozen other ladies personally who would, as I bet most of us do. Say the word. We can make this happen.

    1. Nope, it’s a marketing decision. The petition would have to have a million signatures, probably with checks enclosed.
      But this is just the start. Lots of possibilities ahead.

  35. Personally, I am trending right straight towards paranormals and enjoying the hell out of them. Anne Bishop’s Others series, the Ilona Andrews Magic Bites series, the All Souls Trilogy (+1) and so on. The Rivers of London, Charlaine Harris — all these seem pretty darn successful too. Although I find myself wondering if perhaps the devil thing might be the sticking point. Darn it.

    Publishers. Driving people to heck and back. 🙁

  36. I too am disappointed because I was hoping Nita would be on the train toward publication, meaning I would get to read the whole story in its Jenny-approved completed form.

    Drat and blast.

  37. Aw I’m so sad I don’t get to read Nita any time soon! I’m glad to see you upbeat about what lies ahaead and know your fans will be here cheering you on. Good times ahead!


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