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. Doug

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

    I’m not sure if unknown authors should tackle social themes directly. I’m thinking perhaps satire</b might be a more insidious way to intrigue a reluctant reader. But I'm not sure. I'm exhausted trying to finish my novel and it doesn't look good. I doubt, often, that I'm making any point about anything. A story about love and power…and its abuse… I don't know for sure. I think I want to finish before I do MORE editing. I want to finish so I can find out what happens and how everything is resolved. I’m beginning to think I hope that I write that the world ends, but maybe it won’t if the characters can figure out a way to avoid it. I’m thinking whichever way is easiest. For me, it’s endless now reaching over the 300 page mark, I’m getting very tired of myself…
        I don’t mind learning something if the character must know it to survive or if some machination requires it. I guess if they’re going to sail, they must tack and turnabout, raise that sail, (whatever that is).


    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks so much for weighing in. I like what you said here: “I don’t mind learning something if the character must know it to survive.” I think that’s a good way to go about it so the message doesn’t come off too preachy. Best of luck with your own book. It’s never an easy process, is it?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. Matt

    I love a good story. A good story that gets me thinking? All the better. This is the first time that I’ve taken the time to leave you a comment but your novel has me intrigued and I look forward to reading it.


  3. claywatkins

    Sorry to read your news, but sometimes a when a door is closed, another opens – which might explain your current (7/7) post.

    Sometimes I want to read a story, but the teacher in me wants a lesson or a main point to learn from. Right now, I am reading a book – The Ship Breaker, but I am not really sure what the lesson is, but the book is getting interesting. Enjoy your break, it’s summer! Have a wonderful week.


    • Carrie Rubin

      Another door did indeed open, so I’m quite pleased. Thank you. And I am enjoying my break away. Writers’ conferences are always a nice, reenergizing getaway. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. reocochran

    You are getting lots of advice and good suggestions, Carrie. So sorry and don’t want to touch a nerve, but there are a lot of famous authors who have had rejection letters. Hope it all works out even better, the next time!


      • reocochran

        Social commentary and subject matters about life have always lent books a “voice,” Carrie. They give the books meaning and relevance. Crossing my fingers on this book. It will also be put on a library recommendation request paper at my local library. I have tight quarters so have limited my books. I make weekly request since I have “met” so many authors here. ☆☆☆☆ You have my endorsement.


        • Carrie Rubin

          Thank you. 🙂 I’m a big fan of the library too. Trying to cut down on all the new books I bring into my home.


  5. Roy McCarthy

    Coming late to this post with its 307 comments already Carrie! But my two cents is that I’d be staggered if there was any ‘closing of the ranks’ due to the subject matter. Though I’m not inclined to go through the traditional publishing route I think that you really want to. I think that you stand a good chance of this being picked up as it would strike a chord with many and any publisher should be considering it with interest. Persevere.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: