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, Carolyn Hector is talking about branching out and rebranding after the closure of Harlequin Kimani...
I feel like my career is ending before it’s even gotten off the ground.
In December I celebrated my 5th book published with Harlequin. I started my career off on a weird mash-up with Harlequin’s Happily Editor After and So You Think You Can Write. With Happily Editor After, I pitched a story in the late summer and they requested the manuscript. I never heard from them (by never, I mean they didn’t contact me in my imaginary perfect world where they fly down to meet me and throw money my way).
Since I didn’t hear from them right away, I entered SYTYCW. I made it to the top ten. Then the winner was announced—spoiler alert—it wasn’t me. It was a well deserved win to the fabulous author, Amanda Cinelli.
Shortly after Amanda won, the others in the top ten list began receiving phone calls and offers. The day after I cried and assured myself that I didn’t care and that it just wasn’t in the cards for me to be an author, I got “the call”. HQ wanted to publish the book from the contest AND the one I pitched prior.
Here we are five books later and heartbroken because Kimani is ending.
In case you didn’t know, Kimani is the only line for African American characters. Kimani was the only Harlequin line to accept me. And trust me; I’ve submitted other books to their other lines.
I write fun, flirty, small town, glitz and glamour, and dabble in a little action adventure. You may find a bit of this in my Once Upon a Tiara series. In my mind, Harlequin Kimani is my perfect home. I have the world’s most perfect editor (Carly Silver).
I have a “vault” filled with novels that received their fair share of rejections from Harlequin in the past. I’ve gotten the “No” or the “please send manuscript” and then a… “thanks-but-not-quite-the-right-fit rejection” letters. Sure, these were from years ago but it still stings. Did they reject me because I suck as a writer or did they reject me because I did not fit in their bubble and by bubble I mean my POC characters? These are the doubts this POC author has.
This brings me to rebranding.
Is rebranding another form of reinvention? I feel that means I have to change who I am or change what I write. I write romance novels. Romance publishing companies publish romance novels. Sounds like a perfect match to me. Maybe it’s naïve for me to ask, but if I am rebranding myself, am I changing myself? I’m pouting here… imagine me with the epic eye roll and arms folded across my chest.
Alright now that I’m done with my moment, I realize this is a perfect opportunity to branch out and show the world there’s more to me than beauty queens from my Once Upon a Tiara series. What’s wrong with an undercover vampire beauty queen on the run from the alien mob? I’m kidding.
So I guess to sum this up, I don’t have a plan on what to do in the future in writing but then again I am a panster by nature. Stay tuned.
Carolyn's latest release, A Tiara Under the Tree, is out now. For more information about her and her writing check out her website, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.