I was contacted by a publisher yesterday who would like to publish both of my Westerns, “Coyote Courage” and “Coyote Creek,” as well as any future Western novels I write. He went so far as to send a contract, which is being reviewed now by my son, who is an attorney, and my daughter, who is currently a law school student. Their initial reaction to the contract and the publisher have been positive.

I’m writing this note now, before the deal is signed (which it hopefully will be!), and well before they will actually publish anything, in order to capture my feelings today, during the process.

First, it is extremely flattering. Westerns are, sadly, a dying genre, with a hard-core group of fans and supporters, but not many new ones. Maybe this will change with time, but for now, Westerns are not quite as popular as a good vampire story or a superhero yarn. That doesn’t change that it’s my favorite genre, just that agents/publishers are hesitant to take on new Western authors with no track record or following.  An understandable, but deflating business decision.

Before I published “Coyote Courage,” the first in my Western series, I contacted the 15-20 agents left in the country who handle Westerns. I was turned down — sometimes politely, and sometimes ignored — so I went the self-publishing route. I was still thrilled with the books being published and sometimes I still can’t believe it when people come up and talk to me about the book, the characters and the town that I created in my mind.

And while I’m proud of the books I wrote and was happy with self-publishing (which grows every day to be a larger and larger percentage of overall book sales), I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I love the idea of a publisher, even a small boutique publisher, wanting to publish my books. Editing, designing the cover, promoting the book and seeing my name listed along with other Western authors that I respect is a dream!

And so, I will work my way through the process over the next few days, and keep my fingers crossed that the publishing firm is legitimate (there are quite a few con artists who prey on frustrated writers), so that we can finalize a deal to share my books with an entirely new audience that I have been unable to reach on my own. I’ll keep you posted!

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