Sunday, 26 January 2014

Dilemma of An Aspiring Writer: #Help

Have you ever been in that phase of your life when you so desperately wanted to do something and no matter how hard you tried nothing worked out in your favour for whatever reason and when you shrunk back into your cocoon, something out of the blue happens which gives you a chance to achieve that one thing you had fought so hard for and you dance, dance and dance like a lunatic in your bedroom, on the terrace, under the shower and just when you were all set to go for the kill, something even more wonderful happens, a better chance, a better opportunity comes your way and now you are in a position where you are stuck between an opportunity which can make your life wonderful and an opportunity which could make your life even more beautiful, better and totally fantabulous but which also comes with T&C. What will you do then? Eh?

Well something sort of happens to me just like the above described situation. Exactly a year back I had written a chick-lit novel (yes! I did) and sent it to almost every publication in the country (yes! I did) and then I waited for the rejection letters to arrive. They did arrive, one after another. Few of them were summed up in one line while some of them came along with positive feedbacks and one actually come along with “Rejection Letter” written in the subject box. Though I did nearly secure the literary agent but at the end of the day nothing worked out. So I did what most of you would have done, shoved the manuscript deep down in the drawer of my night stand and forgot about it. Completely.

10 months later, I received an email from this very small but fairly good publication house where I sent my manuscript but totally forgot about. They liked it. They want to see more and by the tone of their emails they are pretty excited about it. This email completely jerked me out of the trance I had been living in for months. Once again I was happy, excited and very positive about my novel. I dig it out of the drawer and star to polish it off. And just when I was all set to mail it, all of it to this fairly good publication house, I received one more email, nope it wasn’t from them. It was from someone else and it was regarding this competition by Harlequin India. Harlequin has invited the publishing proposals not only in romance genre but for the very first time in chick-lit genre as well. AND here this big dilemma has born. What now? Should I send my entry to the competition and wait for the result or should I send it to the publication who would probably publish it by the time Harlequin will announce the winner. Though I am not very lucky with competitions, never had been but what if, just for once, once the fate decides to be in my favour and if I get the publishing opportunity with them? Wouldn’t it be awesome? Or On the bases of my past experiences with competitions I should just believe that I am never going to win it so why not give up and go for this fairly good but small publication. Should I take one last shot with big traditional publication house or should go for this independent one?

What if I lose the competition and by the time I get in touch with this independent publication house, it’s too late and they are no longer interested? In that case I would lose on both ends. It would be nothing but a lose-lose situation for me. I am really confused, sleep deprived and drinking dangerous amount of caffeine at the moment. I have to make the decision and I don’t have much time.

Would you like to help me?


  1. Before submitting anything to Harlequin for a competition, look at the rules. The contract they give to the winner usually is non-negotiable, with lots of strings attached. My general theory about that kind of contest is that if they'd pick your manuscript as a winner, they'd probably buy your manuscript if you just submitted it to them, and then there's some negotiation on the contract (though not much with Harlequin). Have you submitted directly to them, without going through a contest? In general, Harlequin does a rights grab -- they get worldwide rights, plus film, audio, etc., and then they hold onto those rights, even when the book is long out of print, by doing random short-run "reprints" or through e-books. The way the contract is written, if it's been published at all, the rights don't revert to you. Compare that to whatever other deal you've been offered. Look at the rights reversion terms, look at the rights they're taking. Harlequin has great people, and they really know what they're doing in publishing books, but their contracts are pretty one-sided. I'm not sure I'd give up an offer from even a smaller house on the hope of winning a Harlequin contest. (I've had books published by Harlequin and by other houses.) I hope this helps. Good luck!

  2. Absolutely agree with the first post. Look over the Harlequin competition rules as well as the publishing offer you've received from the smaller publishing house, and pick them apart until you absolutely know what you're getting into.

  3. Thank you Shanna. Your suggestion is very valuable to me. I hope I can make the right decision.

  4. Hi iloveveganfood, Thank you for your opinion. xx