Today, I received one of the nicest rejection letters I've ever gotten for my novels, Gideon's Dawn & Waymaker. It was from one of the best agents in the business. He used to be my agent, actually, but has gracefully declined to take on representing Gideon's Dawn & Waymaker (and The Word Within, or whatever the third book ends up being titled) because...well, let him say it:
"It is extremely hard to get an out of print book to be reintroduced into the market. Even if everyone knows the whole story behind it, there is still a cliche' that says, 'It went out of print for a reason'--implying that the market has already voted."
The "story behind it" he's referring to is the death of the my father, which forced me to step away from completing the second book on schedule, which in turn (and understandably) forced my previous publisher to drop the project and take the first book, Gideon's Dawn, out of print. The agent goes on to say that "without an in-house advocate who is willing to put their job on the line for your book there is little chance that it would get a hearing."
This agent is a smart man, and he's talking straight about this. What he describes really is the nature of the publishing world I'm dealing with in this effort to bring the whole Pearlsong Refounding trilogy to the marketplace. So am I just beating a dead horse here? It's challenging for sure, and I confess this agent's words land with a heavy thud in the center of my hope. But I really don't believe the journey for this trilogy is finished. If I really am shut out from all traditional publishing options, I can always self publish...though because of the length of these books, that would mean the books would cost somewhere around $18 a copy--far pricier than the original $14.95. But at least they would be out.
Still, I'm not yet to that point. There are a handful of other avenues I will now pursue--editors I know, and some friends I know who know editors or agents that may be interested in taking up the trilogy's cause. I'll send new packets off today. And as I wait, just keep writing.