Today and lately I especially thankful for my publisher, Dreamspinner Press. Why today? Well because I received an email letting me know that they are offering me a contract on my latest submitted novel, Blue. I was high all day, despite having to work a twelve-hour shift at “the Evil Day Job.”
Why lately? Well believe it or not, because awhile back they turned down my recently submitted novel, Blue.
At first I was stunned. My mind was reeling. I haven’t had a piece turned down by DSP in something on the order of five or more years. I remember one of the main staff telling me once that, “Oh come on Ben, you know we are probably going to buy anything you send us.” So even though I had the common nervousness of any one who submits a story (I understand that even famous bestselling authors still have this happen to them, and I am not famous!) I was pretty sure they would want the book.
There was some drama when I got my turn down. I am a gay man who can have spells of drama-queeness after all. But then Lynn West, editor in chief of Dreamspinner Press, was gracious enough—even though she was quite sick—to talk to me on the phone and explain the stance of the company. They told me their concerns. Explained that I had pushed some major hot buttons for fans with my tale. And she said something to the effect that the novel, “just wasn’t up to my standards.” She explained that this was my first solo novel since my tome-like Seasons of Love series. It needed to be my best work. People would be looking at it carefully.
Especially when so many people have wanted the character to have his own book.
At first all this stung a little bit. But I decided rather that get hurt or angry or put out, I would look at the critique from the reviewers carefully. Dreamspinner Press had never failed me before, and certainly been nothing but fair. I knew they wanted only what was best for me, and of course to the company.
And guess what? I came to see that while I didn’t agree 100% with everything they said, I knew that on almost every point … they were right.
As I went through the novel page by page I saw that they were indeed right. It wasn’t my best work. Subplots weren’t explained (as to why they were even there). Secondary characters seemed to have no real part in the story—were just distractions rather than enhancements to the story. There were a ridiculous amount of grammatical errors as well as misspellings. A subplot or two wasn’t resolved in any way. There were places were sections seemed to be nothing but padding.
And I knew all of that wasn’t what I wanted to write or give my constant readers.
So I spent a serious week going through the book, ideas and critiques at hand, page by page.
And when I was done it was a much better book.
All because of Dreamspinner Press, and their amazing staff and high quality production values.
I could have just churned out a story. A publisher could have let me. But that isn’t what I wanted to do, it isn’t what I wound up doing, and Dreamspinner made sure I did my best. And heck! My wonderful editor hasn’t even had her shot yet!
This morning I received an email telling me that Dreamspinner now would like to offer me a contract.
And I am so happy and so proud I could laugh and cry—and I’ve done both.
Today I am thankful for a sale and a contract. But most of all, I am thankful to Lynn West, Elizabeth North, Andi Byassee and so many people at Dreamspinner Press. I stumbled upon them quite by accident…
…or did I?
Thank you Universe! I have so much to be thankful for!
Ben / BG Thomas