First, let me admit that no one has ever offered me a publishing contract and probably never will! However, I’ve been catching up with my reading, especially of my favourite romance authors and logged on to Mary Balogh’s website to see what’s new. The last time I visited, aeons ago, the author had mentioned that she intended to write a book about Gwendoline, Lady Muir, a secondary character in the books of the Bedwyn series. I was thrilled to learn that the manuscript was almost complete, but was totally flabbergasted when I read that the hardback would be available August, 2012! It’s probably because I want to read the story so much, but for the first time the incredible length of time between the completion of a manuscript by the author and the time it takes to appear in print was brought home forcibly to me.
Mary’s books are flawlessly edited. I can only recall just one tiny error, ‘blues eyes’, in the twenty or so books of hers which I’ve read; if there were more I was too engrossed to notice. I know great care is taken in ensuring that her books are perfect, so I appreciate that the book can’t be available the day after she finishes writing it. But surely by writing the book she’s done the hard part of the publishing process? Why does the rest of it take so long? It may be that there is a need to space the publication of her books—there are several planned in the interim—but call me impatient, I want to read that book now!
Mary also mentions on her website that one of my favourite books by her, A Summer to Remember, was almost not written because a previous editor didn’t like the heroine of the book. I’m even more flabbergasted by this fact! An editor deciding what I can and can’t write! We would have come to blows for that. Another favourite of mine, A Precious Jewel, almost didn’t get written, but this time because it was unlike the traditional Regency romances being written at the time. Luckily, the story compelled Mary to write it and thank God she gave in to that inner voice because it’s a wonderful book.
So, I will remain an independent author. Traditional publishing is too long-winded a process for an impatient person like me. I was a disobedient child and I’m no better as an adult—I could not have anyone tell me what to write. I go with my instincts and never worry about how unpopular my choices are. None of these attributes makes me a good candidate for a three- or five-book deal from a traditional publisher, so it’s safe to say that we will avoid each other like the plague.