So many of us reinvent ourselves in the New Year, so we're asking authors who are rebranding themselves - through choice or necessity - how they go about a writerly reinvention.
As part of our special PHS Rebranding Edition, Angel Smits is talking about bittersweet endings and starting out for new beginnings...
Change is inevitable in our world, and while at first it creates confusion and frustration, eventually—I hope—it brings new opportunities. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.
Last spring it was announced that Harlequin’s Superromance line would be closing in June of 2018. At the time of the announcement, I had three books contracted with that line. Two were a part of the A Chair at the Hawkins Table series and one was a “blind” book that I intended to work on once the series was completed. With the announcement came assurances that all contracted books would have a home, and that they’d do everything they could to put them in a slot that would be appropriate.
But I’ve heard about books that are orphaned, Part of the blessing and curse of being connected to the writing community is that you hear the horror stories as well as successes tales. It made me nervous.
My editor assured me that my deadlines were firm and to keep working toward them. So, I’ve done that. I turned the first book, Last Chance at the Someday Café in last August, and it was released this November, and just this month I turned in the final manuscript for the series. It’s the last of the series, and Harlequin has been awesome in allowing this final book of the series to also be one of the last four books in the June 2018 release.
It’s a bittersweet place to be.
What that leaves me with is six more months of promoting a line that’s not really a line, and a series of books that will be complete—but will they all be available? I’ve got lots to learn. But I love these books and I’m not abandoning them. I’ve worked too hard to just give up.
And that also leaves me with another book under contract. It won’t, of course be a Superromance. I’m not sure where I’m heading, though my editor has given me some suggestions and direction of the other Harlequin lines she thinks I should aim for.
Several of the other Super authors have found new “homes” and I’m thrilled for them. They seemed to have been a bit more farsighted, but I feel like I’m just throwing a dart in the dark trying to decide where I want to go with my writing.
So, right now, I’m studying the various lines that my editor feels are my best options. I trust her judgment, and her knowledge of both sides of publishing with Harlequin, so I’m starting there.
When I first decided I wanted to write for Super, all those years ago, I spent a year reading every single book in that line. It was an amazing experience of study. I don’t feel like I have that year to wait this time, or to give to that level of study, but I’m going to do as much as I can.
It’s a bit scary, and I can’t help but feel a sense of injustice in the situation. Why did they have to kill this line, why did they not publicize it more, why…why…why?
But—it’s not like this is the first time I’ve had to reinvent myself. I started out writing paranormal romance years ago. Two novels came out of that before the whole subgenre fell apart. And look where that got me? I’ve loved everything about being part of the Super family.
One of the double edged swords of Super Romance has been the length. I love writing, and reading longer books, (Supers are 80,000 words) but they also take longer to write. I think this could be good for me. Shorter books will help me write more stories, of which I have dozens already swirling in my head. I’ve always joked that I’ll be long dead before I can write them all. So, this could be a good thing. Instead of two books a year, I’m hoping this will allow me to write three—or more—in that same time frame.
The series I just finished was six books and an anthology. It’s taken five years for all of them to be released. That’s a long time for readers to wait. And in this fast paced, constantly changing world, maybe this is a blessing in disguise.
Angel's latest release, Last Chance at the Someday Cafe, is out now. For more information about her and her writing check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.