Lessons From a Published Author: It’s Never a Sure Thing

A couple years ago I blogged about a young adult (YA) book that I really, really, really liked – and the author honored me by leaving a comment to my post. Since then we’ve shared a few online interactions, with her offering careful communication and me trying hard not to come across as a creepy fan who is cyber-stalking her.

Ever since reading her first book, I’ve clamored for her next YA one.

Since then she published three junior (mid-grade) titles – all are on my Christmas wish list – and a fourth book in the series has a 2015 release date. She also has a children’s picture book scheduled for publication.

The long awaited YA follow-up is written and waiting.

Despite success with her junior titles, her publisher declined the new book, citing too low of sales on her first YA title. Her agent showed the book to other publishers, but none were willing to move forward with it.

To my dismay, the book I long to read is languishing on her computer hard drive. Understandably discouraged, she is considering self-publishing it as an e-book.

I think her publisher is making a huge mistake. In a few years the fans of her junior series will move on to YA books. Though she currently has one title waiting for them, two (or more) would be better.

Aside from my distress over not being able to read this book, I see two lessons in this.

First, low sales on just one book can hurt our chances of another one being published. That’s a sobering thought. Today’s publishing world is increasingly risk adverse, and it doesn’t take much for them to say “no.”

Second, I think every author should pursue a dual track of traditional publishing and self-publishing, that is, to be a hybrid author. If one option doesn’t work, perhaps the other will. If both options bear fruit, all the better.

I encouraged my writer friend to self-publish her YA book. I hope she does.

[Update: Robin Mellom did indeed self-publish her YA book. It’s called Perfect Timing and is now available,]

What do you think? Please leave a comment!