Pub Credits in Hell

Dear Miss Snark,

I have a question I hope you might consider. I sold a short novel to a small, royalty-paying print publisher. Naturally the sale became a credit in my query letters thereafter, although the book hadn’t been published yet. The book is presently still listed as ‘to be released’ on Amazon… but the publisher has folded.

I’m thinking it is safest to revert to using short story sales as credits. Yes, an editor read my work and liked it… but perhaps her opinion isn’t going to be too highly respected now. Also, once the book disappears off Amazon, there will be no accessibly evidence that this sale ever happened.

I would of course mention the episode if I reached a stage of discussion with an agent – and I mean discussion about new projects, not trying to resell the old book.

Have I truly and forever lost this credit?

No. You can mention it exactly as you did to me. "I sold novel Kiss of Death to Pestilence House of Publishing which promptly folded before the book reached the retail market."

It's not exactly a pub credit, and it will help a LOT if there's trade news about the publisher folding, but if it's the only or best "pub credit" you have, ok. The thing to do is get cracking on filling up your quiver with slings and arrows of publication fortune so you don't NEED this one anymore.

And if you think this is the first time any of us have heard this tale of woe, you'd be wrongo.


Kit Whitfield said...

It sounds like a perfectly valid credit to me. The fact that the company folded was probably not the editor's fault, so it's no reflection on her judgement. It's bad luck that it happened the way it did, but from your point of view, it proves that at least one professional thought your work was publishable. That's a feather in your cap.

So, congratulations on getting accepted, condolences on the unfortunate timing, and good luck with getting more success in future!

Anonymous said...

2006 saw lots of small press horror anthologies and magazines fold. I had a short accepted to an antho that folded and I felt silly that I used that as a credit. Some author only use actual publishing as credits, not sales. I ditched that credit as soon as I strongly suspected it was on its way down. But then, I have other credits too (only two in fact, but that's still not none). There's a bit of a backlash going on in the small press horror genre at the moment because of how many markets collapsed last year. Ultimately poor planning of and editor shouldn't count against the author.

And for the record it's annoying as hell that blogger forces me to change to beta, then forces me to sign into beta to post even when the blog I'm posting on isn't in beta. I cannot count how many times I've lost my post!