Goodbye Strange Chemistry

So a while back, I mentioned that one of the places I had submitted Lady of Darkwood happened to be a small press. I was really excited about this potential opportunity, because this was a publisher whose work I’ve enjoyed as a reader and, after reading my submission package, they had requested to see the entire of the book. Now, as rejection letter after rejection letter was rolling in, I was subconsciously putting all of my hopes in this small press.

Only, it was taking a long time for them to get back to me. Probably close to eight months.

So a little while back, I sent an email to submissions asking for an update. This morning, I got an email from their editor letting me know that the reason that I haven’t heard anything is because the press was shutting down.

That small press was Strange Chemistry. Hearing this news was doubly painful. Not only was I hoping that they might take a chance on my book, but I’m also a big fan of the Pantomime series by Laura Lam. I’ve since heard that books that were supposed to come out as soon as August won’t be hitting the shelves as a result of this closure. Since Strange Chemistry is part of Angry Robot, I can only hope that some of the staff and writers will find places there, because it would suck if a lot of people were put out of work. Granted, there are rumors that Osprey (Angry Robot’s parent company) is looking to sell Angry Robot, so who knows what will come of that.

One thing I’ve taken from this is just how fragile small presses are. Yes, they’re sometimes willing to take more risks then the big guys, they’re more open to new authors, and they’re a nice alternative to the big-business feel that larger presses give off. But at the same time, they can fall apart. We saw this recently with Night Shade, and now we’re seeing it with Strange Chemistry. Granted, the alternatives aren’t perfect. The bigger guys typically won’t let you in the door without an agent. Self publishing comes with no support at all, and requires a financial investment to start up that not everyone can handle. There’s no perfect option.

I have no idea if Lady of Darkwood was seriously considered for publication. They may have take one look at it months ago, decided against it, and just didn’t get to me about it. Maybe, they never even got to where I was in the slush pile. Regardless, this means I’m going to have to make some big decisions over the future of the Lya Darkwood trilogy that may be hard to swallow. I can only imagine how difficult it is for writers who were supposed to have books coming out (some as soon as August!) that are now caught up in limbo. I also know a lot of readers are frustrated as well, especially those who are two book into incomplete trilogies.

It’s a tough time for a lot of people right now.

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7 thoughts on “Goodbye Strange Chemistry

  1. I feel sad about this too. Strange Chemistry has only been around since the end of 2012! That is not long at all. Barely a year and 3/4. And I liked the books I read. Another imprint I will mourn forever I guess.

  2. I like the fact that you got SO CLOSE to getting published, but I’m bummed it’s not working out and I’m bummed that this imprint is closing. I hadn’t read any of their stuff (though I’ve been meaning to get around to Laura Lam’s stuff….. maybe I should download for my Kindle?) but I liked what I heard about the imprint.

    • I don’t feel like I’m all that close to getting published! I feel like I keep on getting pushed further and further back. It’s just the nature of the beast but I guess it helps me understand why some people get so damn bitter about the traditional publishing process.

      Pantomime is quite a good book, and I think the ebook was pretty affordable if you want to check it out.

      • Have you had any luck submitting to agents? Having an agent, even if you were signed with a small press, would be a very good thing to make sure you get a fair shake when it comes to retaining your rights and whatnot in contracts. 🙂

        My friend Jen Brooks had an interesting game plan for getting herself published and how she would proceed if it didn’t work out. If you want, I can see if I can get her to share that with me (it may be on her blog, but I’m not sure).

      • I’ve actually submitted to a lot more agents then publishers. Just want to cover all of my bases, you know?

        And if you can find that game plan, please do share!

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