Almost Published to Unpublished, Just Like That

So, last week I got some news about my debut novel that was due to be published by an indie publisher in Colorado. My editor decided to resign from the publishing company, and they said they simply had no other editors with room on their plate to take on another project. The publisher sent me a document returning the book rights to me and wished me luck.

Well, shit.

I’m really curious if anyone else has stories about something like this happening to them. So many thoughts have gone through my head! To quickly recap my experience with the publisher:

My manuscript was accepted for publication. I signed a contract and an editor was assigned to me (or vice versa?). Aside from a brief introductory email, I heard nothing from the editor for a very long time. When I did finally hear from them, they said they needed to withdraw as my editor due to health issues.

My new editor suggested revising my book in a way that would greatly change the feel of the book (taking out any other POVs but the protagonist’s). I said I was open to making the changes to see how it would work, but I worried the end result would be a very short book (it was already barely novel length to begin with). I was told not to worry about it, we could deal with word count later on down the line. I made the changes and sent the revised draft, only to get an email back saying, essentially, “Whoa, this is way too short. Maybe consider adding some additional POVs.” That was an extremely frustrating email to get, however I did have some pretty good ideas about how to reincorporate other characters’ POVs in a different way than I had in the original version of the book. I was pretty close to getting started on that new version when I got the email that I was basically being dropped from the publisher’s roster.

Did they just not like where the revisions were going and decided they had a good excuse to cut me loose? Did the editor tell them on the way out that the book didn’t have the promise they may have thought? Were they really just that swamped that they couldn’t agree to take on a book that still had at least one more revision to go through before it was ready?

I’ll never know for sure. A lot of potential for self-doubt there. Good thing all us writers are so confident in what we’re doing not to worry about stuff like that, am I right? Sure.

So, I’m going to go ahead and start that revision I had been brainstorming and when it’s done I’ll see what I have. Back to the drawing board for the most part. Sorry my first post in months is to complain, but if I figured if anyone could understand the frustration, it’s some of you out there. If you have any horror stories from a publisher, I’d like to hear them so I know I’m not alone.

One quick note on the reading front, I’m almost finished with Jordan Harper’s debut novel, She Rides Shotgun. It hits the ground running and doesn’t really let up. No flowery prose, no excessive descriptions, just a down to business crime thriller that I will be shocked not to see adapted into a film someday. Check it out!


Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

One thought on “Almost Published to Unpublished, Just Like That

  1. Ah man, that has to suck. I can’t imagine being so stoked to have a book out, then being told such news. Well, if you found someone to publish your book, you’ll definitely find another. Wishing you all the best!

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