Well, it's mine. It's been 15 years since my first book, Bands of Gold, was published. 15 long years. Despite the $2000 advance I got with my first contract, I knew that my debut on the New York Times bestseller list was right around the corner. Well, it's been 15 years and I still haven't turned that corner.
It's not all bad though. Actually, I was really popping for the first four years (1994-1997). During that time I wrote seven books--two for Silhouette and five for Arabesque--along with an Arabesque novella. I was "cooking with gas" as we say in the South.
The gas turned out to be carbon monoxide as I went off the publishing radar for three years and my next book, Awakening Mercy, didn't see the light of day until 2000. Now I wasn't gassed up for those three years. Instead, my career took a turn as I moved from writing general market romance to Christian romance. The change also resulted in a new agent and signing with a new publisher, Tyndale House.
Tyndale and I lasted for two books and then I went off-radar again until I came back with my first mainstream Christian novel, this one negotiated without an agent. The move from Christian romance to mainstream Christian fiction was relatively painless, but it took some time. My mainstream Christian fiction title, The Amen Sisters, didn't arrive in bookstores until 2005, a full four years after Tyndale published my second (and last) Christian romance, Abiding Hope.
My story doesn't end there. My next book, Up Pops the Devil Avon A, August 2008, $13.95), came out three years after The Amen Sisters. The deal with HarperCollins to publish Up Pops the Devil and Sins of the Father Avon A, September 2009, $13.95) was negotiated by my third, and hopefully, last agent.
So that's my story. Now let's evaluate it for the good and the bad.
1) Every time I changed publishers, I experienced a gap in publication that effectively slammed the brakes on any momentum and name-recognition I was building in the marketplace. This was a big loss. As a result, my new publishers have had to re-launch me to some extent so that readers know that I'm back. It's much easier to build a reader base if you publish regularly. My goal now is to publish regularly and to keep in touch with readers between books.
2) Every time I changed agents, I lost some control over the books they sold for me. Old agents aren't really receptive to taking care of business for authors who are no longer on their roster. So forget about getting help with rights reversion.
3) I don't have a long history with either my agent or my publisher so there is no depth to our relationship--yet. Right now, I'm only as good as my current book.
1) Every time I changed publishers, I got a significant bump in advance, significant but fair. My advances tend to equal the royalties earned on my last book.
2) Every time I changed agents, I had more clarity about what I wanted from my writing career so I did better with agent selection. An agent is only as good as your books and your vision for your career.
3) I have been able to follow my muse by moving from genre to genre. As a result, I feel I've found my niche, or voice, as a writer. My stories can now be characterized as inspirational family drama.
4) Readers have stuck with me despite the publication gaps and the genre changes. Many of the folks who read me today also read my first book, Bands of Gold.
5) The back-to-back publication of Up Pops the Devil and Sins of the Father marks the first time since 2000/2001 that I've had books come out in consecutive years. I'm really excited about that accomplishment. I hope to keep it up in the coming years.
15 years, 12 books, 5 publishers, 3 agents, 4 genres -- what kind of career is that?
It's mine and, right now, I don't think I'd change it. I'm not sure I'd recommend my path to anyone else though. What do you think?About the Book – Sins of the Father
Successful media mogul Abraham Martin has great wealth, an elegant wife, Saralyn, and a rebellious son, Isaac. He also has a secret: a second family that no one knows about. Now, after thirty years—driven by the urging of his long dormant conscience—Abraham is determined to do the right thing by finally bringing his illegitimate children into the light…and into the family fold.But beautiful, manipulative Saralyn will never accept the proof of her husband’s indiscretions. Isaac the heir, shaken by his father’s revelations, will fight mercilessly when his world is threatened, and may lose everything that matters as a result. And while Abraham’s forgotten daughter Deborah is open to the undreamed-of possibilities suddenly awaiting her, son Michael cannot forgive the man who cruelly abandoned them to near poverty. And he’s driven by only one desire: revenge!
Angela Benson’s ">Sins of the Father is a powerful story of a house bitterly divided—a rich, multilayered family saga of betrayal and redemption, rage and compassion, faith, forgiveness, and ultimately, of love.
Follow the blog tour at http://bitly.com/SinsoftheFather.For more information about Angela, visit her at AngelaBenson.com.