This is the problem with authors: we are too empathic to give up on people, and we consider our characters people. This means, we can’t give up on our books, not even after dozens of rejections and many long nights of beating our heads against the keyboard. RELUCTANT CONCUBINE, my March fantasy romance release, was 12 years in the making.
I began writing Tera’s story over a decade ago as a project for college. When I finished, I sent it out to a few publishers, and amazingly, they even got back to me. This does not happen a lot to unpublished writers without agent representation, so as I was dancing in the street, I envisioned a fat publishing contract, followed by a straight journey to the top of the bestseller lists. Or just someone who would be willing to print maybe a hundred copies of my book. Seriously, either way I would have been deliriously happy. I just so wanted to see the story in print and hold my very own book in my hands.
Reality brought those dreams to a screeching halt. The editor-in-chief at a major NY publishing house told me it wasn’t exactly what they published, but referred me to other publishers and even let me use her as reference. Another editor at another house told me she wasn’t sure how to sell it to her marketing people, but she loved it too much to reject it. To this day, many years later, I still haven’t received a rejection letter from her. Another editor at a big publisher read the first three chapters, loved them and requested to see the rest. By the time I sent the full novel, she moved on to another job, and the new editor wasn’t interested. I’m guessing you have picked up on a pattern here: lots of love, no contract.
In the meanwhile, I wrote other projects and became successfully published in a whole other genre (romantic suspense). But I couldn’t forget Tera’s story, and neither could some of my friends who read it. From time to time, I would receive emails, people telling me they were still thinking about the characters, asking when the book was going to be published.
Well, with the advent of direct publishing, I finally did get the book out there under the title THE THIRD SCROLL two years ago. The reviews were fabulous.
“It’s impressively easy to become immersed in Marton’s fantasy world. Readers will find it impossible not to care what happens next…” Kirkus Review
An ambitious, vividly imagined epic fantasy. Marton has created a promising and immersive world that is, at the same time, darkly brutal… the splendor of the author’s vision cannot be overlooked.” RT Book Reviews
Aaaand… crickets. By then, I was firmly established as a romantic suspense author. My readers were romantic suspense readers, hesitant to pick up something different. Fantasy readers didn’t know me from Adam so, needless to say, I was making no inroads into that market whatsoever.
BUT, a few readers did somehow miraculously read the book, and left amazingly lovely reviews. Can I just say how much I LOVE those readers? They spent the past 2 years writing me, asking for book 2. So, a few months ago, I finally sat down and wrote it, with no hope of success whatsoever, but because this is a story that comes from my heart, and I can’t stand seeing it unwritten.
About to release book 2, I decided to update and repackage book 1 and change the title to RELUCTANT CONCUBINE. Today was my release day (I’m writing this on Tues, March 2nd). I had great plans, but I’ve been sick as a dog and managed to do no release day promo whatsoever. Amazingly, enough people remembered the book and kept track of my progress via Facebook and my blog that they went out and bought this story for the second time, even though they already had the original version. RELUCTANT CONCUBINE spent it’s first day on Amazon’s top 100 fantasy romance list. I’m blown away. Does this mean that after only 12 short years, I’ve been able to break into the fantasy romance genre? We’ll see. I remain optimistic. Book 2 is coming out in a few weeks.
If you are the type of reader who takes a chance on authors new to you and you interact with authors, recommend them to others, do know that YOU are what makes it possible for books like this to be born. THANK YOU!
To escape punishment, Tera, a maiden healer sold to barbarians must hide the truth: she has not yet come into her healing powers. Born into a much gentler world, she struggles to survive in a land of savage warlords and their cruel concubines. When ancient prophecies begin to come to pass, can the healer-slave save the realm and awaken the High Lord’s heart? RELUCTANT CONCUBINE, March 2015
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