In recent months, friends and readers have asked me this question, and I appreciate their concern. Behind the scenes, I know the answer, and I figure if I share it, you’ll understand a bit about the nature of the publishing business.

I have been like the groundhog lately, not sticking my head out of my house because I’ve had editing to do with a deadline looming. I’m thankful people understand that I’m not being anti-social or a recluse.

Teaching was so much easier!

Small Publishers Closing

Another small publisher closed its doors recently—Midnight Ink, leaving many of my fellow authors bereft and cut loose from a publisher who had, in some cases, published them for years. Add this to the casualty of my own publisher, Five Star Publishing, that stopped producing mysteries in the middle of my series. Now, I hear that Seventh Street Books has sold its mystery line to another publisher, but no one knows yet what that will mean.

The publishing industry is changing, and with those changes, writers like me are getting shut out. Self-publishing is always a possibility, and in the future the industry may end up with a handful of large publishers (who require authors to have agents), and only self-publishing as choices. I have self-published two novels and a novella, and that was enough experience to know I’m not interested in doing that again. Large publishers are not within the reach of anyone who doesn’t have an agent. Agents are difficult to acquire, and only a small percentage of all writers have agents. And that, readers, in a nutshell, is how the publishing industry works.

An Update on My Books

I self-published my last Endurance mystery, Death Takes No Bribes, after Five Star closed its mystery line, and then made the decision to go in another direction. I began a new book, had it edited, and started looking for an agent or publisher. This entire process—writing, editing, and searching—took almost a year and a half. The result is that A Death at Tippitt Pond will be published in paperback and e-book June 15, 2019. A mystery with a cold case from the early 1970s, it is about a researcher and genealogist who discovers she knows very little about her own true past. I am grateful to my editor, Lourdes Venard of CommaSense Publishing, and to Encircle Publications—the publisher—for agreeing to publish this new book. They, too are a small publisher, just getting started in the last few years. Before next June, we’ll do more editing, they’ll design a cover and an Advance Reading Copy, and I’ll count on wonderful friends and fellow authors to help proofread those ARCs and provide advanced reviews. I am eagerly anticipating this new story.

Back to the Future

In the meantime, I’ve written yet another book with a new setting and characters called Death in a Pale Hue. This setting is an art center in a small town, and the possibilities for artistic themes and threads are endless. The deadline to send it to my editor is next Monday. Then it will return to me a couple of weeks later with more edits to do. After that, I go back to square one, looking for an agent first, and then a publisher.

In forthcoming months, you’ll see information about A Death at Tippitt Pond prior to its birth next June. I am grateful to the readers who have stuck with me during this crazy, intense, and slow process. Thank you so much for your support, kind comments, and reviews.