Back to the Drawing Board: MEMORY THIEF Canceled

Well, folks. What can I say? The publishing gods giveth, and the publishing gods taketh away. Anytime your agent calls you and the first words out of his mouth are “I’ve got bad news,” you know the conversation isn’t going to end well.

I found out this morning that Egmont, the publisher that was going to print THE MEMORY THIEF is being shuttered by its international parent. Why? Beats me. I knew they were looking to sell the American arm of the company, and they’d been trying to sell it for the last few months. In the end, it appears they decided it wasn’t worth trying to sell it anymore, and they were better off just closing shop. It doesn’t seem like the world’s smartest financial decision to me (Egmont USA has been doing just fine from a finance standpoint, and was bringing in money, but maybe I don’t understand the ins and outs of international business enough to make sense of it.)

First off, my thoughts go out to the fine people who work at Egmont, and for whom this has a much more immediate impact than it does for me. This is their livelihood, and they’re all about to lose their job. Having seen that process happen at my workplace, it’s an awful, terribly upsetting experience–made even worse by how non-sensical this was.

Then, there are other authors whose books with Egmont were much closer to publishing than mine was. That’s got to be a tough blow. Getting close enough to hold the galleys in your hand, see the cover, and really be able to picture the book coming out in less than a year . . . and then to have that snatched away. It’s a real Lucy and the Football sort of feeling. And the authors whose books are coming out this spring from Egmont . . . I have no idea what sort of a situation they find themselves in. How the marketing will be handled. How the future of their books will be dealt with.

And then there’s me. I was beyond pleased Memory Thief had found a home with Egmont. They seemed like a great company, and I was very excited to do business with them. Jordan (my to-be editor) was nice and has a bunch of experience, and I was looking forward to working with her to make the book even better. But it’s not to be.

Where does this leave my book? Back at square one, more or less. Once we get the letter making everything official, we’ll be submitting the book to other editors and hunting for someone who’s ready to bring it into their fold. We’d sent it out to a fair number of editors back when Egmont bought it, and perhaps some of them will be interested now that things with Egmont have fallen apart. Who knows?

I can’t say I’m not depressed about this. It’s a real bummer. But it’s important to view it in context. It’s a bummer for me, but not a life-changing catastrophe. My thoughts are with the others who are losing their jobs in the middle of January. If it’s any consolation, from what I’ve seen in cases like this, the people involved usually end up in better places than they were to begin with. (Though typically things like this happen when things are really bad at the workplace. To have it happen to a place that’s successful . . . Sheesh.)

I’m also not as down about it personally as I thought I would be. This isn’t dominating my day. I think part of that is that in a way, getting that book contract was very validating in and of itself. I realize that the actual selling of the book is out of my hands in many ways. All I can do is focus on writing novels that other people find worthy of buying–editors particularly. The Memory Thief has passed that test. All this other stuff? Out of my control. That doesn’t mean I’m a worse writer, or the book is no good. It just means I’ve had a bit of bad luck at the moment.

And that’s about all I have in me to write at the moment.

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