I’ve been burning the candle at both ends these days.

First thing in the morning, I write my two pages of the new novel. Then when I’m done that, I’ve been coming down to my other computer and revising an old work of mine.

Way back in 1999 I wrote my first novel Dahling if You Luv Me Would You Please Please Smile.

I hadn’t read it for years. It received three award nominations and out of the three nominations it won the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Honour Award in 2001.

That means the kids in Manitoba liked it so much that among 17 novels it came in second.

It was a pretty big deal for me.

Then I had some pretty bad luck.

When I was first getting Dahling published, I actually had a choice of two publishers.

I remember sending the story out on a Wednesday or something, a few days before we were taking the kids camping. It must have arrived in the publishers’ offices by Friday. I came back from camping to hear a frantic message on the phone from the head of Scholastic Canada. She’d read it the same afternoon she’d gotten it loved it and wanted to buy it, but…with changes.

Dahling  was considered just a touch too risque for Scholastic tastes. They wanted me to ‘clean’ it up a bit.

Pretty soon after that I had another offer of publication from a smaller publisher: Stoddart. Stoddart was willing to publish it as it was.

I chose Stoddart.

Everything happens for a reason. I don’t consider it to be a mistake, and yet knowing what I know now, I probably would have gone with Scholastic.

The book did great in Canada! Sold over 7500 copies, which is considered a very good, if not bestseller, up here.

I firmly believe that Dahling was the reason my New York agent took me on in the first place. (She also represents Lemony Snicket and Christopher Paul Curtis.)

And then things went south for Stoddart and within a short period of time, Stoddart went bankrupt.

This is about the worst thing that can happen for a book!

They call this process ‘orphaning’. Well actually orphaning a book refers more particularly to when the editor who acquired a particular book, up and leaves for greener pastures, and the book is left on the list as an ‘orphan’. With no one to really push for it, because you know the new editor isn’t going to push his/her predecessor’s accomplishment!

When a publisher goes belly up, what often happens is that another publisher will buy all the back stock and try to get the authors to sign over rights.

That’s what happened with Stoddart. All it’s stock was purchased by another company.

It can be in an author’s best interest to just sign over the rights, but it feels like you’ve been put upon, forced into a relationship with this new entity.

The advice I received was to actually let the book go out of print and then hopefully sell it later when my profile rose higher.

For over ten years it’s been languishing and now with teen suicides in the news, it eats at me that this book needs to be out there!

I can’t count the number of people who have begged me for copies of the book and all I can say is that sometimes copies become available on Amazon.

At the urging of my hubby I’ve been preparing the book for epublishing.

Now, here comes the bit about comfort zones!

I have to confess that I’ve always been a bit prejudiced against epublishing. It just seems a bit like self-publishing.

There’s a little voice inside my head that says, “If it was good enough, you bet a publisher would plunk down money for it!”

My hubby’s foray into the epublishing world has been positive.

He can’t understand my reluctance of putting my work out there.

And then of course, I’ve been following the adventures of Art Slade’s epublishing experience. Art has been absolutely forthright about how well his ebooks are doing, right down to financial details! He declared a little while ago that he’d finally earned enough from ebooks to make a mortgage payment (I’m not sure if he’d earned it in one month’s time).

 But I just picture my ebook out there in the ethernet, being shunned and worse, having it out there making it unattractive to any publishers to take on.

I really feel like I’m in a quandary.

By and large, children’s books are still published the old fashioned way. And what I didn’t understand when I was first starting out and chose Stoddart over Scholastic, is that an author rides on their publishers’ reputation to a certain degree.

It’s like a stamp of approval.

When I published Wanting Mor with Groundwood, that was a HUGE shot in the arm! They’re known worldwide for the quality of their books!

Publishing with publishers is within my comfort zone.

Epublishing is not.

But that said, this is a book that has proven its salt.

And I suspect the only reason it’s not with a publisher is because of the orphaning process. Most publishers won’t take it on because it was previously released.

Basically publishers figure it had it’s kick at the can.

So hubby got my son to type it out over the summer holidays. It was my job to just make sure there were no typos.

But of course I couldn’t help myself.

I was very worried about rereading Dahling after so long!

I had written it more than thirteen years ago! My writing must have improved since then.

I was worried. Had it aged well? Was it dated?

Would it make me cringe?

The biggest problem I found with Dahling is that it’s written in first person past tense. Nobody writes in first person past any more. It reads ‘old-fashioned’.

Yes, there were a few moments when I cringed at my turns of phrase but what really surprised me was how much it made me laugh out loud!

And there were moments when I said aloud, “Oh, poor Zainab!”

It really is a shame to let it hide from the light of day.

I went through the whole novel and changed the tenses, making it in first person present. And while I was at it, I tweaked a few scenes.

Cosmetic changes really!

Hubby thought I was dragging my heels. I told him no, that if it were a dress I was updating, I’d really just removed a few tacky frills and adjusted the hemline!

Tomorrow I’ll print it up and go through it one more time.

I’m still tempted to send it to an editor. I really think it’s good enough to be published! But only if I can keep my ebook rights.

I doubt any publisher will agree to that!

Traditional publishers seem to finally be getting the message that ebooks are here to stay.

It’s out of my comfort zone, it’s venturing into new territory, but hey, if I can navigate the London tube system and train systems, this should be a piece of cake!