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Shattered Update, or Jumping Into the Deep End

I received my cover for Shattered from Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs last week. Here it is. All I can say is squee! I think she captured the mood of the story very well and produced an elegant, classy design.

So, I’m going to be self-publishing this one. The print book block is ready to go, and I’m waiting to get the formatted e-book files back from Lucinda Campbell, who’s doing them for me. Then it’ll be time to take a deep breath and upload them.

I feel a bit like I did at eight when I snuck up the ladder of the high diving board at the pool when no one was watching, and jumped. There’s a sea of what-ifs below me. What if the book doesn’t sell? What if I end up feeling that, by opting out of the months or years of querying and waiting that goes with searching for a Big Six publisher, I’ve sold my story short? What about the companion book I’ve already started writing, and the two others I have planned?

Yesterday, a very high-profile Harlequin editor visited my chapter of RWA, spoke to us and heard pitches. She was kind enough to read the first chapter of Shattered, and had some very positive things to say about it. She called it ‘a page-turner,’ but was very direct in telling me during my pitch session that the story wasn’t suitable for Harlequin. Am I jumping the gun in believing that it isn’t suitable for other Big Six publishers either?

I guess I’ll never know. Finding out would mean risking months during which the publishing industry will continue to shift, opening new doors and closing others. Months in which I could have been selling books and building a readership. Taking the route I’ve chosen simply involves different risks. I’ve had enough feedback to be confident that I have a good story to sell, with an attractive cover. I have a writing community to turn to for input on marketing. All that’s left is to take the leap and have faith that what’s meant to be, will be.

Sort of like falling in love. We all need to take a leap of faith now and then. I guess that’s what romance is all about.


  1. Julia Smith
    September 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Jennie, I'm positive you've made the right move on this one. A Big Six publisher is never going to be interested in a WWI story about the Halifax Explosion. My Ontario-born husband had never heard about that event until he met me.

    But as you noticed, your writing was not the issue the editor had with it. The marketability of the subject matter was the show stopper. Just ask Bev Pettersen about which Big Six publisher wanted a book about horses – LOL! And now ask all of the readers gushing about Bev's fantastic horse books how much they love a book they'd never been able to find in the stores.

    You are making the right decision for this story. At this point it's a niche market book, and self-publishing gets those stories into the hands of readers who are starving for them.

  2. Jennie Marsland
    September 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I think you're right, Julia. I'm excited about getting the story out there. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. sara
    September 18, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Jennie, I am sure your story will sale just fine once you publish it and start marketing. Congrats. You are a fantastic writer and your fans will love your story no matter how you choose to get them out there. Good Luck!