Well, This Sucks

Some of you may recall that I spent the spring of 2021 writing a book about the Underground Railroad in Ohio, and I'm sure many of you were thinking, "So, where is the book, Lissa?

After my publisher, The Writer's Coffee Shop, closed in 2017, I found myself adrift. I didn't know what I wanted to do. Self-publishing didn't seem to be the right fit for me, but I have a thing about rejection and didn't want to go out and try to sell myself to trad publishers. I didn't feel like writing a book because it felt like sewing curtains when I didn't have a house.

My first publishing deal fell into my lap. I kind of just decided to drift and see if the Universe would drop something else on me. 

And then it did.

An author friend introduced me to a small publisher here in Ohio. I was familiar with them from some of the books we had in the gift shop of the museum where I work. They were looking for someone to write some non-fiction books for them, and one of them was a guide to Underground Railroad sites here in Ohio. Given my passion for history, it seemed to be a perfect fit. I signed the contract and started working.

Until I came up with a title, I called it "The Underground Railroad Project."

I traveled all over the state, photographing and gathering information on the publicly-available sites. I drove hundreds of miles, perhaps over a thousand -- I never added it up. I searched cemeteries and cities for markers. I went to museums and historic homes, some of which were still closed because of Covid, but I made do as well as I could.

The tomb of Horatio Cyrus Ford

In August, I turned the manuscript in and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I finally called the publisher, unable to take the suspense any longer, and was assured my book was up next. I had agonized for weeks, waiting to hear what they thought and they hadn't even read it yet!

I waited.

... and waited.

I spoke with the publisher a few times and was told there had been some delays, but work would begin very soon.

I waited.

I kept hoping the situation would resolve.

I sent a few emails. Heard nothing. I called a couple of times and no one answered.

My book was supposed to come out in January of 2022.

I finally contacted the author who had introduced me to the publisher and the author checked with their contacts. The publisher was having health issues which aren't improving. I asked for a release so I could take the book elsewhere. I haven't gotten one.

I suppose I could technically go on and take it to another publisher since my publisher is in breach of contract. But it could still be the subject of a lawsuit. I wanted to do things the right way.

And, well, the book is outdated now. I could travel around to the re-opened sites and take new photos of the places which have been renovated in the time since. (Ohio's creating a new Underground Railroad heritage trail.)

But I'll admit to being dispirited over the whole thing.

So that's where I am, gentle readers. In limbo again. I haven't made up my mind what I'm going to do. But I wanted to let you all know why you haven't seen the book I spent all that time promoting.

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