Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Never Give Up…Never Surrender! Guest Blogger Mari Mancusi

STATUS: Sorry about no blog entry on Friday. The whole day got away from me.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? A KIND OF MAGIC by Queen

No doubt, I’ve been on a ranting streak for awhile. For a nice change, how about a blog entry on a midlist series getting a second life. Let’s talk about something positive today rather than more of my righteous indignation. Grin.

Here is Mari Mancusi. Author of the YA BLOOD COVEN vampire series—originally started years ago, before the craze, but now have new covers and a new floor display in Borders.

Never Give Up…Never Surrender!

I know I can’t be the only author who mutters the Galaxy Quest creed every time the publishing industry throws me a curve ball. This particular time was three years ago, when I got an email from a fellow author, published by the same publishing house that did my Blood Coven Vampires series.

“They’re not picking up anyone’s options!” she lamented.

Shocked, I frantically called Kristin and she started to do some digging. Turns out, the author was right. My publisher was basically fading out their YA line and concentrating more on their core business of adult romance.

My series was basically DOA before the third book had even come out.

I was devastated. Though I’d written other books, none meant as much to me as my little vampire series. And I hated disappointing all my loyal readers who, after Book #3 – Girls that Growl – was released, kept begging for more. But what could I do? Kristin went back to the publishing company to ask again and again, but they kept saying no.

Of course, I could have given up then and there. After all, I’d just gotten a new children’s publisher and was under contract for two hardcover books at a much higher royalty rate. I could have easily moved on and said goodbye to my blood coven vampires. To my twin heroines, Sunshine and Rayne.

But the series meant too much to me for that. And it meant too much to my readers who kept begging to know what happens next. So I kept pushing. I started a “Save the Blood Coven” campaign in which I got readers to help spread the word and get bookstores and libraries to stock it. I did videos, I enlisted a street team, I encouraged my readers not to let the big corporations decide what they got to read.

And so the sales continued, slow but steady, over the next two years. And every day I’d have new teens write to me and say they’d just recently discovered the series. But though the publisher kept reprinting the first three books, they also kept refusing to buy book #4.

Then, out of the blue, something strange happened. My editor from Germany wrote me an email, asking about book #4. She said she didn’t care if the US published it or not. Would I consider writing it just for them?

I decided to do it. Namely because it allowed me to continue writing my beloved series. And Kristin and I schemed for alternative ways to get it to a US audience. Maybe a small publisher would see the Bookscan numbers and see it as an opportunity. Maybe we could sell it POD since I already had a fan base. Or I could give it away as an e-book. Somehow – someway – I was determined to get that story to my readers, no matter what!

But before pursuing those more drastic options, Kristin decided to go back one last time to my US publisher, to see if they’d changed their minds. After all, the Twilight movie had just swept into theaters and vampires were hotter than ever.

And low and behold, they said yes. Not only yes to a fourth book, but also that they would reprint the first three books as well, with shiny new covers for a whole new generation of (vampire hungry) fans!

I think I cried when Kristin told me the good news. She, in return, said that the sale, in many ways, meant more to her than ones she’d made for six figures because this particular sale was a victory. The result of a two year battle that seemed hopeless until the very end. But we didn’t give up. We didn’t surrender.

And sometimes, even in these bad economic times, a story of publishing can actually have a happy ending!


Visit the series at

46 Responses

  1. DebraLSchubert said:

    Love this! Thanks Kristin for posting it, and congrats to you, Mari, for having the perseverance and faith in your work to keep it high on your priority list. I wish you both continued success. Must go now to tweet this good news to my writer friends. 😉

  2. Valerie Geary said:

    I love this story! Thank you for posting it! There is something so encouraging and refreshing about this author’s passion and your willingness as her agent to fight for her! Way to go both of you! 🙂

  3. Annette Lyon said:

    This post made my day. I’ve banged my head against enough walls to reach the point of almost abandoning the Galaxy Quest slogan at times, but in my heart, I can’t.

    I LOVE success stories like this. Way to fight!

  4. Natalie Aguirre said:

    Thanks for the great, inspiring post. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one repeating to myself “Never Give Up. . .Never Surrender!” because I do all the time. I’ve been revising my first novel for about 7 years now & am almost done with my last revision and that quote has really kept me going sometime. Good luck with your series.

  5. Barbara's Spot on the Blog said:

    Before reading the blogs I thought the hardest part was getting published. Boy am I ever getting an education now. Congrats on book #4 being published. As an aspiring author of a children’s series of 5 books, your story is very encouraging. It must be very satisfying to see your hard work and tenacity paying off. Best wishes.

  6. r louis scott said:

    A nice break from all of the doom and gloom stories from the publishing industry. Perhaps there is still hope for those of us willing to try.

    Congratulations on the fourth book and the hot looking covers!

  7. Marie Lu said:

    Wow–what an amazing story, Mari! In these times, it’s so nice to hear that good authors can still have happy endings to such battles. I’m thrilled for you (and will be picking up the Blood Coven series the next time I’m in a bookstore)!

  8. Kayla said:

    I am so glad you kept pushing Mari, because I love your books! I’ve read your adult and teen books, but this particular series I always loved and I cannot wait for BAD BLOOD to come out!!

  9. Xandra Gregory said:

    By Grabthar’s Hammer, what wonderful news! I found the first one in the library (with the old cover) and really enjoyed it. I hope they’ll see electronic editions as well. Wishing you the best and looking forward to seeing more.

  10. Catherine M. said:

    Such are the blogs that keep our hopes up and our pens flying. Thank you, and a heartfelt congrats to Mari! Three cheers to anyone who writes vampire fiction!

  11. ann foxlee said:

    Definitely inspiring! Thanks for posting this!
    Writing my novel took over 2 years, and so far the editing process has taken another 2. Boy have I ever had days where I was ready to throw in the towel!
    Every time I get discouraged, I take a week off, do ‘normal’ things, and then with a big sigh, turn on the computer and plug away again.

    To Natalie Aguirre: you’re my hero too for sticking with it! Next time I get ‘editor’s block’, I’ll think that if you can do it for 7 years, I can stick it out until I’m done too!

  12. therese said:

    Perseverance and persistence on top of passion and professionalism.

    Maybe there’s another p – oh yeah – PERFECT! The story & readers win!

  13. Amanda Ashby said:

    Mari – you and Kristin are such an awesome team. I’m so pleased that all your hard work has paid off (and of course very happy since I get another fab book to read!!!!!!)

  14. Ellen B said:

    Mari, that’s a wonderful story! Not just of a triumph against the odds, but of a writer’s commitment to their fans and to their story.

    Just the thing for a cold Tuesday morning in November!

  15. Christina said:

    This came at a great time! I have been struggling with finishing my own novel and needed this extra boost. I have a friend finishing her book about teenage mummies (Don’t laugh! It’s brilliant). She would leap at the news. She will leap at the news! Hear that Ms. Roentz? You go, Steph! 🙂

  16. Tabitha Maine: said:

    LOVE! IT! I’m not a teen, but I’m going to run out after work and buy your books. Every little snip mentioned makes me want to read them.

    Odd as this sounds, I don’t ever remember seeing these books in the bookstore. Of course I must be mistaken.

    Looks fun!

  17. Kelly Bryson said:

    I must be tired or discouraged or something bc I would have cried if I’d blinked. Good job hanging in there, Mari. Two years is a long time to persist. Makes me want Kristin as my agent:)

  18. Sarah said:

    Awesome awesome awesome! Good for you! Those covers are friggin cool. And Kristin, you’re definitely an agent a writer wants in her corner 😀

    This reminds me a bit of LJ Smith for some reason…her Night World series was publishes in the 90s but was never finished. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but suddenly publishers decided to resell the entire series and publish the final one (either next year or 2011). But I’m not sure if it’s the same case here.

    There are probably so many authors whose series have never been finished because publishers wouldn’t buy the last book (which is written and ready to go). I’m still hoping that book 5 of Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted Inc. series gets published one day too!

  19. Dara said:

    What a wonderful story! It just goes to show that you should be strong and committed when you’re passionate about your stories.

    So happy that it was a bappy ending! And thanks for sharing!

  20. Indigo said:

    Mari’s story alone makes me want to read the entire series. It also let’s me know, I should never give up on a series I think has more to give. Thanks! Indigo

  21. Marianne Mancusi said:

    Wow – thank you ALL for your congratulations and well wishes!! One of things that kept me going over the two years of strugle was the wonderful community of writers – both published and aspiring – who were always willing to lend an ear or offer an encouraging word.

    Writing and publishing isn’t easy and I know I still have a long uphill battle to go. But we have to celebrate the small (and large) victories when they happen. Thank you all for celebrating this one with me.

    Stephen King once said that if his wife Tabitha had ever asked him, while they were living in poverty, if he would give up writing and get a “real job” he would have done it. But she never did. She believed in him – and look what happened.

    It was the same for me and Kristin. She never once suggested I give up on the series, even when it seemed hopeless. And that’s what makes her an agent beyond compare.

    Thanks again everyone!

    PS For the person who asked, the books are now available in e-book format! Yay!

  22. Tamaryn Tobian said:

    Thank you for posting this Kristin and Mari. I’m going through my own “battle” and while not even remotely the same…it’s encouraging to see that people can be successful if they keep trying…and trying…


  23. Bee said:

    That was lovely *wipes a tear*
    I’m so happy for you are such an inspiration. I, for one, am never going to give up on my writing. Ever. Perseverance pays off.
    Keep writing!!

    PS. The covers are so tempting..I have to read them!

  24. Wendy said:

    Aww, Mari! You made me teared up! I’m so happy for you and now, I really can’t wait to read the Blood Coven series! The new covers rock!

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