Okay, That Didn’t Work, Now What’s Plan B?

Late last night I learned Eating Bull was not selected by Kindle Press for publication. (Note to self: do not check your email before bed…)

Of course, I’m disappointed. The book was “Hot and Trending” for a good percentage of its month-long campaign, and many people voiced an interest in reading it. So naturally, I hoped it would get picked.

Well, I didn’t cry, but my face kind of looked like this. (Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art)

Well, I didn’t cry, but my face kind of looked like this. (Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art)

Had I not sought reviews for the book, I would’ve worried Amazon’s passing meant it wasn’t ready for publication. But the novel has received good reviews with comments like:

“A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy’s coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder.”—Kirkus Reviews

“I can honestly say without a doubt that I have never read anything like this before…The one of a kind plot is accompanied by beautiful character depth and background writing…Carrie Rubin is a very talented writer and I can’t wait to read what she thinks of next.”—Samantha Coville for Readers’ Favorite

“Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin was a surprise and a delight…Eating Bull will help people as well as entertain them with a great story.”—Mary DeKok Blowers for Readers’ Favorite

So with these reviews, I have confidence in the story and the writing. But I’m becoming increasingly concerned the subject matter is holding me back. I’ve received positive feedback from the few agents who requested a full manuscript, but the final word has been discomfort with representing such a sensitive topic.

Yes, Eating Bull deals with obesity. Yes, it raises issues of the food industry’s culpability along with society’s role. It’s a topic I’ve researched and studied for years. But at heart, it’s a story about a boy struggling to find his way, and a headstrong public health nurse determined to help him do so.

So at the risk of swallowing sour grapes, I’ve come to the following conclusion:

  • John Grisham can take on Big Coal.
  • Robin Cook can take on shady areas of alternative medicine.
  • Unknown Carrie Rubin should not take on the food industry.
Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

But I did, and my boxing gloves merely jab where Grisham’s and Cook’s clobber. (Though, of course, the book and its specific references are fictional.)

Or maybe the Kindle Scout reader assigned the book found it too violent or just didn’t like it. Who knows?

So where does this leave me?

  1. I could go the small press route again like I did with my first book. I have no quibbles with my publisher and enjoyed working with them. But even after their recent acquisition by a larger company, I still shoulder the bulk of marketing. Plus, as a mostly e-book publisher, the POD paperback price is hefty.
  2. I could keep querying agents in hopes of finding one who’s not hesitant to take on the subject matter and try to snare a larger publisher. The problem is, Eating Bull involves a timely topic, and I worry it’s time to move things forward. So that takes me to number three.
  3. Independently publish the book, a thought that makes me tremble since I have no experience with that route.

I’m not sure how I’ll proceed. I guess I need time to mull it over. Meanwhile I’ll continue to work on my third novel, because that’s what writers do.

But before I go, I want to extend a huge, huge thank you to all who nominated the book and spread the word on social media. The first step of any book’s publication is getting the word out, and you’ve all helped me do that. I am so appreciative of your support.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Do you think unknown authors should tackle social themes? Do you like learning something from a novel, or do you just want the story?

Update 8/15/15: I’m happy to report Eating Bull has found a home and will be published by ScienceThrillers Media in the fall!

*     *     *

Rubin4Carrie Rubin is the author of The Seneca Scourgea medical thriller. For full bio, click here.

323 Responses to “Okay, That Didn’t Work, Now What’s Plan B?”

  1. LivingsTheDream

    Sorry to hear it…but good luck with the exciting new development! x

    Like

  2. Andrea Stephenson

    So sorry to hear this didn’t work out Carrie, but I’m sure that you’ll find the route that was meant to be in the end.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you. Something else has already come up so I’m pretty excited. Just not mentioning it publicly yet in case it doesn’t pan out. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Audrey Kalman

    My face looks like the panda face on your behalf :-(.

    Now, on to Plan B. What about connecting with some of the big food activists/writers or others who have popularized some of these issues (i.e., Michael Pollan, Morgan Spurlock)? Or start doing some writing for Aeon Magazine online, which seems to have quite a bit of (thoughtful) coverage of obesity? (http://aeon.co/magazine/health/david-berreby-obesity-era/). Maybe these would somehow lead you to a traditional publishing deal, but at the very least they’d help you get some publicity if you decide to go the self-publishing route.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Oh my, you ended up in my spam folder. You certainly don’t belong there! But I’ve rescued you.

      Those are great suggestions, thank you. But no need for a frowny face anymore. Something new has come up. I can’t go into it publicly yet–don’t want to jinx things–but let’s just say I’m no longer frowning. 🙂 Happy Fourth to you!

      Like

  4. moylomenterprises

    Sorry, things didn’t work out.
    Hugs. Those reviews were great! I too am surprised Kindle Scout passed. Were you given an actual reason why they passed?

    Like

  5. butimbeautiful

    I think it depends what you want. If it’s important to you to sell well, you have to tailor your product. If the message is more important, then say what you have to say. But of course, it’s all important, isn’t it. Your reviews sound great, so why not just try putting it out there!

    Like

  6. Lucky Wreck

    I think all of these options sound good. You made such a good point about the controversial topics a few other authors chose to address, so, whichever one you choose, I’m so glad you are sticking to your guns and not changing anything to be less “political!” 🙂

    Like

  7. Vanessa-Jane Chapman

    It seems I’ve missed two of your posts lately! Really sorry about this, bad decision on their part. As you say, probably a decision around fear because of the issue you’ve tackled. It will get published somehow, and I’m sure will be a great success! Very much looking forward to reading it 🙂

    Like

  8. L. Marie

    I also was disappointed when I heard your novel was not chosen. I’m glad so many people said what I was going to say: don’t give up. Also, I think an unknown author should be able to tackle an issue same as an established author.
    P.S. A friend heard no from some agents. She persevered and now has an agent.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you, and no, I won’t give up. I enjoy writing too much. It can be a long road, and I’ve got my seatbelt fastened. 🙂

      Like

  9. frederick anderson

    From one who already gave up, don’t give up! As stated above, J.K. Rowling took a lot of rejection before she hit the button, and if you’re prepared to go that road, I’m sure you’ll find a way through. Indie publishing, though? I’m not so sure, Carrie. To break through you need a volume of sales, and I can’t recall, aside from certain pamphlets published during the siege of Paris, a case where that has happened. If you’re young enough (without doubt) and fit enough, my solution would be a publisher’s doorway and a tent.

    Like

  10. Rhoda Baxter

    Sorry they didn’t pick up your book. I guess it depends on the competition too – what they would have had reject to take yours. It’s a commercial decision in the end.
    Regarding writers taking on social issues – I’m all for it. Fiction does a great job of making us notice things we otherwise allow to happen in the background.
    someone suggested UK agents. It’s not a bad idea. There are a number of Brit writers who tackle social issues in the background of their stories. Most of the crime/thriller writers do. On the lighter side, Ben Elton writes a good polemic wrapped in a cracking yarn.
    whichever way you choose, good luck!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! It probably just wasn’t a good fit for what they’re trying to do with the new program. And it was the only book I saw that included a social theme. Maybe that’s just not what they’re looking for.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Joanna Aislinn

    Having read The Seneca Scourge I know first-hand the quality of your work. It’s top-knotch. As per tackling “charged” subjects, I believe everyone should have an equal voice. As you have on other occasions, Carrie, you’ve inspired me (at a time when I’m in great need too, lol). I’ll link you up.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks, Joanna. I appreciate your kind words. I guess it just wasn’t a good fit for their program. I can dig it. 🙂

      Like

  12. Gail Kaufman

    Obesity is a very important topic and I fully support you in taking it on. I agree the food industry needs to take some accountability, but if I can be honest here…I believe the medical profession has some explaining to do as well. Given your background, perhaps that could be the topic of your next book?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. earthriderjudyberman

    I voted for “Eating Bull” and was disappointed Kindle did not select it for publication.

    Some authors – like J.K. Rowling – click right at the starting gate. Others take time to be recognized. I don’t think you should shy away from writing what you’re passionate about. It’s just a matter of time before it catches fire. Best wishes to you, Carrie.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you. I appreciate your supportive words. And actually, I think Rowling toiled a while before she had a taker for her work. That’s okay. I’m a patient gal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Diane Henders

    I’m sorry Eating Bull didn’t get chosen – judging by the first chapters, I thought it had great potential. Obesity as a social issue needs to be discussed, but I wonder if the selection committee got that far, or whether the fundamental prejudice against obesity kicked in before they even considered the story. I have several obese friends, and it’s shocking and scary how society writes them off without even considering what they have to offer. I wonder if the real reason was a knee-jerk “nobody wants to read about a fat protagonist”. Or maybe, since obesity is so widespread, the thought of a serial killer targeting the obese was simply too threatening.

    In any case, I’m glad you’ve already bucked up and moved on. If you decide to go the indie route, I’m happy to help you navigate through it – just drop me an email.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you, Diane. I appreciate that. And it’s interesting that you mention about a prejudice kicking in. When I first pitched the novel to agents at a conference two years ago–back before it was finished–one agent mentioned how the only ones overweight people have to blame are themselves. I figured she wouldn’t be interested in the subject matter after that. But she was the only one who brought that up. The other agents were very nice and open to it.

      Like

  15. Melanie

    Silly question maybe, but have you considered a UK publisher? They may be more inclined to accept a “politically charged” book tackling American obesity.
    I’m sorry you didn’t get selected. You have a good book. Someone will realize the value of your story and share it with the masses.

    Like

  16. August McLaughlin

    I’ve learned that before bed rule the hard way, too! Wishing you the best of luck with your decision. I’ve no doubt you’ll know what’s best.

    Like

  17. Celine Jeanjean

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Kindle Scout campaign. It’s a real shame they wouldn’t take what I guess they’ll think of as a risk, and take on something a bit different. It’s a double shame because I really think the issue of the food industry and obesity is seriously important at the moment and something people need to be more aware of!

    I’m obviously biased, but I do think publishing independently is a fantastic option, especially in your case when you have rave reviews from reputable reviewing websites, and the support from all of us. I’d definitely buy a copy, whichever way you publish it, as I think it sounds really interesting (and as you say, oh so timely!). Speaking from very recent experience, it’s a steep learning curve going independent, but it’s really rewarding. The main thing I’m loving about it, is that it feels really empowering to move things ahead on the back of my own efforts. And every pre-order I’m getting is all the more exciting because I know it’s completely down to me 🙂 Of course there are the big girl pants to wear, but you’ve already been wearing them for a while with this campaign so you’ll take to it like a duck to water I’m sure 😉

    If you decide to go down the indie route, or if you want some info on the specifics of the publishing side of things I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned these last few weeks 🙂 Just give me a shout.

    Good luck either way, hope you find the right path for your book!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks so much, Celine. I appreciate your support, your insights, and your offer to share what you’ve learned. I agree indie publishing would be very rewarding in the sense I can make things happen on my own time. I’m thinking some things around. I might query a bit more now that I have the reviews, but if there are no strong bites, I’ll probably go ahead with the indie route. With the cover, the reviews, and a professional edit behind me, I’m a good chunk of the way there.

      Like

  18. Nicole Roder

    Ugh, that totally sucks. If you still want to find an agent and publish with the Big 6, my advice is to keep writing more books and try again. You can hang onto this one. If you get a 3 book deal, Eating Bull can be book #2. I know some writers who were very happy with small presses, but I had a pretty bad experience. It’s too long of a story to go into here, but it turned me off for good. Good luck to you, whichever route you choose!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you. I’ll keep plugging away, and in the meantime, I’m making good progress on book #3. A less controversial subject this time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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