I'll admit I was incredibly shocked that Dreamspinner opted not to publish "The Swan and the Seal," my sequel to "Surprised at Nothing." Especially since the storyline was stronger, and the world-building equally so. Due to word length, I submitted it as a novel according to their own word count guidelines, though perhaps that's part of what made it less desirable. This is what I received:
While we felt your story had potential, it isn’t ready for publication at this time. The story just isn’t long enough, and we felt it read like a few chapters from a full-length novel. It needs the space to grow, both so readers can glean a greater understanding of the unique universe you’ve created, as well as to establish conflicts for the characters to face and then see them through to their logical conclusion. As is, issues are established but never allowed to find resolution. It reads as though a sequel will be coming, but it would be a much more successful story if readers are allowed to see at least some of the plot threads wrapped up. Many of the world building elements are unique and interesting, and they will be even more engaging in a longer work. The characters, while appealing, will also be able to reach their fullest potential within a story arc with a firmer beginning, middle, and end. If you ever expand this into a more developed novel with a stronger plot and greater conflict and resolution, please consider resubmitting it for our consideration.
This reads not only like generic boilerplate, but also as though whoever did read it somehow didn't recognize the fact that this was a second story in a series. I did note that, to be sure. Not only that, much less than the first story, this one has one main plot event that occurs and the resolution is presented at the end, pretty much with a bow tied on it. I'm quite baffled, but after a couple of days of wondering WTF, being angry, not eating or drinking healthfully, I got over it and self-published it anyway. I'm not in this for the money, but I would like the work to be out there for the 40 or so people who did read and enjoy the first one. Who knows- maybe there'll be some Reggie/Kelp fanfic someday! :)
So if any of you are interested, it's on Lulu and will (over time) appear on other e-book platforms like Amazon, B&N, etc.
E-book and print version form (which I went ahead and did since I know several people were interested in the first one being available beyond an e-book) is here:
I'm sorry it didn't get professional editor's eyes on it, but that's how it goes. I now feel free to start thinking seriously about the third and final story in this trilogy, which I suppose should have a name! My contract with Dreamspinner for 'Surprised at Nothing' lasts 3 years, after which I can have it back and may decide to put the three works together somewhere.
After all of that, today I finally have begun making edits to 'Defender of the Way' in the digital document from the printed out version in a 3-ring binder, which is what I've been working from since I printed it out in 2012. Well, I didn't start working on it again until about 6 weeks ago— but I'm excited with the new plot line and writing new material after so long.