Monday, January 27, 2014

Paths to Publishing: Melissa Snark || A CAT'S TALE

A Funny Thing Happened on my Path to Publishing by Melissa Snark

My path to publishing began with REJECTION.

Thereafter, I began inserting a warning label and a disclaimer on the title page to limit liability and protect myself from negligence lawsuits.

The stack of "Thanks but no thanks" letters was a mile high, cluttering every surface and making my home uninhabitable. Being an ecologically conscious person, I struggled to find new and inventive ways to reuse/recycle the letters. For a while, our TP bill plummeted but the Snark men complained about roughness and rashes. However, it was the epic toilet flood that truly dealt the killing blow to that particular experiment.

As a writer, the most common (and maybe most valuable) advice received is: develop a tough skin and learn to take rejection well.

Through the years, my rejection letter collection expanded until it rivaled the government for paper waste. I endeavored to maintain a positive attitude. I learned to take rejection well. I welcomed it.

I wrote letters thanking agents and publishers for having rejected me:

Not to boast, but my brown-nosing grew so eloquent that Hallmark offered me a gig in their cards department. Unfortunately, I had to refuse. I am simply incapable of confining my effusive prose to just one line.

Years passed. Publishers continued to reject me but I kept right on writing. Some personal stuff happened and I stopped chasing the pot of gold for a few years. Then Miss Bear's arrival in 2010 left me with some time on my hands. (The tyke slept a lot back then.) 

I began writing and submitting again. Research into the evolving ebook market brought small presses to my attention. In March 2011, I submitted a query to The Wild Rose Press.

In April, I received an email from the publisher marked "IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUIRED" in the subject line. This, naturally, created some confusion on my part. No publisher had ever required an urgent reply to their rejection. (Talk about demanding!)

Dubious, I opened the email and discovered that one of the senior editors had been trying to reach me for a while regarding a full manuscript request. Further investigation revealed that Gmail's dutiful spam filter had swallowed the original request. A little panicked, I shot the story off and returned to thumb twiddling.

A while later, I received a request for revisions, which I made, and then in August 2011, the impossible happened.Through some huge mishap in the publisher's office, I received an offer for a contract for A Cat's Tale. Stunned, I attempted to draft an appropriate reply.

Following the discovery that the offer was, indeed, legitimate AND intentional, much shrill shrieking followed. Mr. Snark lost all hearing in one ear. A cat filed a restraining order.  And the Snark family got subjected to my exuberant performance of the Dance of Joy in full view of the neighbors.

So a funny thing happened on my path to publishing--I got accepted.

* * * * *

Alpha werewolf, Jared Kohl, wakes up in a vampire’s dungeon, swearing revenge upon the wily Siamese werecat who lured him there with her sultry lips and the sweetest tail. To escape his undead captor, all he has to do is seduce the skittish puss and show her that trust is often a hot and hard lesson to learn.

Enslaved feline shifter, Josephine Young, has learned the hard way not to believe in anything or anyone—not men, not love, and certainly not the blood-sucking mistress who tossed her into the cage with the hungry beast she’d betrayed. But Josephine does what she must to survive, including tempting the dominant werewolf to give her more than promises.

Imprisoned for their blood, Jared and Josephine fight for survival and discover a passion that neither can walk away from. Can these two predators survive long enough to prove that cats and dogs can be more than enemies?

Available for purchase:
The Wild Rose Press

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  1. You make me laugh as usual, Mrs Snark.
    A dance of joy to you for hosting this wonderful series.

    1. Charlotte,
      Thank you! I've had a blast with this series. I'm really enjoying hearing everyone's stories. :-)

  2. I loved the rejection letters. They brought back many memories of when I started on my own path to publication. Helen

    1. Helen,
      Me too, me too. Especially in the golden days before email when rejections arrived on a form postcard. *G* Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Oh, yes, been there and done that! Love your letters and your humor. There is nothing quite like that moment of acceptance after the long haul along rejection road.

    1. Robena,
      Thank you! It's probably sweeter thanks to the difficulty and distance traveled. ;-)

  4. I was just as stunned when TWRP accepted my first book after years of rejections and "almost but not quite"s. I expected another NO to add to my glittering collection. My celebration was quite subdued - I think I was afraid to jinx the deal.

    1. Alison,
      I was also stunned but I whooped it up pretty loud. My Snoopy Dance was pretty spectacular. *G*

  5. I also had a request for a full from Wild Rose caught in my spam filter. The editor rejected that story, but they did take another of my efforts. And like Alison, I didn't celebrate too loudly, just in case they changed their minds. Thanks for the laughs!

    1. Ashantay,
      You have to wonder how many prospective careers have been sidelined by that spam filter. I had another email sanfu also due to my name being misspelled. :D

      Thank you for commenting!

  6. What a fabulous story, Melissa, told with wit and style. You had me laughing out loud, but I know there was a lot of pain underneath.

    Congratulations on persevering - and succeeding!

    (And I've got to get a copy of A Cat Tale. I adore cats, especially Siamese!)

    1. Thank you, Lisabet! You're too nice. And not too much pain. I'm tougher than I look. :D

      The heroine in the story was based on our pet Siamese. They're such amazing cats. :-)

  7. Enduring rejections and holding on to a sense of humor is everything in this biz. Thank God for Wild Rose, a publisher who welcomed so many of us 'rejects' in 2011. That was a very good year for you, me, Robena...on and on. Congrats on your successes. I've enjoyed your Path to Publisher have this blog thing down, I'll tell you! Rolynn

    1. Rolynn,
      I think you're right. WRP does seem more willing than some other publishers to give new authors a shot. That's a great observation.

      Thank you for reading and commenting! :)