Friday, November 10, 2017

Time Travel: How times have changed! by Jan Scarbrough

I found an audio diskette from the 1996 Romance Writers of America (RWA) convention in Dallas, Texas. I was younger then. Eager. Unpublished. I remember rooming with a couple of ladies whom I met on the Internet. The Internet? eMail? OMG! The world was changing fast.

The diskette is entitled “In-Depth Look at the Contemporary Market.” I wonder what I’d hear if I played it again. But I won’t listen to it. Times have changed and big time. Two years after that convention, I sold my first book to Kensington. Then my second. Then when my agent didn’t work out, I contracted with a small publishing company that sold their books first as ebooks.

Today I publish my books myself—with the help of a techy husband, a fantastic editor who keeps me honest, and a variety of cover artists. I no longer have to worry about what some faceless editor will say after reading ONE page of my manuscript. No joke. I heard an editors’ presentation once where the two editors agreed in front of all of us wannabes that they “read to reject.”

We fooled them, didn’t we? We are our own captains of our ships now. We always had to do marketing and promotion. Now we publish our books, set our prices, make our own decisions.

Times have changed. For the better? I think so.


  1. Good post, Jan. I can't say I like all the changes, or even most of them, but I'm glad for all the people they're working out well for.

  2. Jan, I like the changes. I've always been a midlist author. I used to be a midlist author happy to make four figures a year. Occasionally five. Now I'm ecstatic to make six figures for six straight years by taking charge of my own career. Like you, I keep good editors and a techie husband. Lucky us.

  3. Oh, and I have to share that the ms. my Harlequin Historical editor rejected in 1998 (My Lord Wicked) won Best Historical in 2012 after I self published it. And readers love it. So it just goes to show those snooty NY editors can be wrong.

    1. I agree. I was always shocked they "read to reject."

  4. I like the changes. I like being in control of all elements of bringing a story to life. My income increased dramatically when I became a self-publishing indie author.


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