Posted in: Laura Resnick aka Laura Leone
Laura Resnick a.k.a Laura Leone left a very interesting comment on my review of Fallen From Grace. It was such an interesting tale that I’m going to post it on here for you guys to read:
Laura Resnick (a.k.a. Laura Leone) here. How nice to see someone discovering this book!
It was the last romance novel I sold (my fourteenth), and it was VERY hard to find a market for it. The agent I had at the time castigated me for writing the proposal. Other agents whom I approached declined to handle it, telling me that “women aren’t interested in reading about this.” Eight or nine publishing houses turned it down, all of them saying it was “too left of center,” “too wild,” and “too dark,” etc. I believed they were wrong, but I set it aside for about a year while I tried to rethink how to break through that market barrier (and meanwhile kept writing fantasy, which–due to years of having precisely this kind of problem when marketing my romance novels–had by then become my full-time genre).
Then one day a male science fiction and fantasy editor who happened to be temporarily acquiring romance for a small press was chatting with me, and he asked, out of idle curiosity, why I had left romance. And, having recently come off this experience, BOY, did I give him an earful! He was curious and asked to see the book. The upshot was that he loved it and was determined to acquire it; and although I had originally hoped to sell the book to a house capable of much wider distribution, I was by then just so glad to find an editor who was enthused and “got” the book that I was delighted.
This book that EVERY major romance program assured me that romance readers WOULD NOT WANT to read… became a Rita Award finalist in comtemporary single title romance; was named a Desert Island Keeper by AllAboutRomance.com; and was recently listed on DearAuthor.com’s list of the Top 100 Romance Novels.
However, my last two sales in the romance genre, which occurred years apart and only after the books had been rejected everywhere else, were BOTH sales I made to sf/f editors who temporarily happened to be acquiring romance novels for small programs that didn’t last. And I can’t build an audience or making a living that way.
I also tried to sell these same two books (FALLEN FROM GRACE and FEVER DREAMS) to a mid-size romance reprint program about 18 months ago. Not only did the editor reject the books… she actually telephoned me to tell me (at excruciating length) just how bad she thought they were and how sure she was that romance readers would hate them, finding it too much of an “effort” to “wade through” my turgid prose.
Meanwhile, I’m heavily contracted in fantasy, where the only thing editors want from me to that I write faster, because they want to release more of my books. (At the present rate of my fantasy publishers’ demands, I may be able to take a weekend off some time in 2014.) Personally, I think I’m a reasonably good romance writer… but in more than a decade of marketing my books, I never once found a romance editor who thought so. So I’ve been a full-time fantasy writer for quite some time now, and this seems likely to be a permanent situation. I’d -like- to write more romance… but barring a substantial change in how romance editors think of romance fiction, it doesn’t seem very likely to happen; and I am very fortunate to have a lot of commitments in fantasy, a genre I love writing.
However, thanks to new technologies, the out-of-print situation with some of my old romances will soon change. As soon as there’s a let-up in my fantasy writing schedule (currently, I’m coming off one killer deadline and immdeiately entering another), I’ll get these books into affordable e-publishing and POD format. That’s vaguely on my To Do list for this year. Updated information about that will be on my website!
Anyhow, thanks for reading and reviewing this book!
I find it hard to believe that so many romance publishers refused this book. The criticism about it being too left of the centre makes me wonder if the majority of romance publishers at that time had right-wing leanings?
Anyway, I found her story totally fascinating.