A Ballet Novel and a Tale of Publishing Woes

An aesthetic for TENDU, a ballet novel by Ailish Sinclair
Aesthetic for Tendu

The Ballet Novel

I am now editing my ballet novel, a dark contemporary romance, TENDU, having pulled it from the proverbial drawer where it’s been for the last three years.

I’m LOVING it. I’d forgotten quite how much FUN this book this. It also feels as if I’m connecting to a different version of myself. Me before illness took hold. Me before doctors and medication and pain. It’s doing something to me, current day me. Something good. The book is funny and witty and SO naughty. I am slightly concerned that no one will be able to look me in the face again after reading it. But, hey-ho, life’s too short to worry about things like that, and I intend releasing this novel and the rest of the series in the near future.

It’s had a tumultuous publishing journey though. And I’m sharing that today.

pointe shoes, a ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair
Lovely Porselli Pointe Shoes


I sent TENDU out into the world of publishers and quite a large one offered on it quickly. However, they wanted me to change something fundamental about the plot of the series (three titles) as a whole. And I couldn’t. Or, more correctly, I wouldn’t. I am always willing to make changes that will improve a book, but this was just to make it fit the guidelines of a particular romance line. It would have become formulaic. So, much to that publisher’s astonishment, I turned them down.

Time went by.

MERMAID got accepted by a British publisher (not to be confused with the ones I’m writing about here. GWL are very organised and always on the ball), and then along came an offer from a small American press for TENDU. It came with amazingly generous royalties, and no big requested changes, and I accepted it.

And more time went by.

After 18 months (the time, according to the contract, by which the book should have been published) I emailed the publisher and asked when things might get going. There was no reply.

Writers Group

Into the writers group I went. This was an amazing resource. All the writers from that publisher, chatting together and, as it turned out, sharing the same tales of woe. Through the group I learned that the woman who owned the publishing house had become too ill to continue working and she had sold the company. I had huge empathy for that. The new owner had a large backlog of books waiting to be published and it was all taking a very long time. The slowness of publication didn’t really bother me. I was rather busy being ill, after all.

But then the stories began to change. Already published writers were not receiving royalties or statements. Cheques were bouncing. So, three years after signing the contract, I asked for my rights back. And I got them. Very politely. Very apologetically. So there are no hard feelings, and I’m not going to name the publisher. They are still going though…

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

And that’s where I am.

SISTERS is back with the editor. I’m working on a press release for it and delving deeply into TENDU. I’m loving being in the castle again, yes the same one from the other books. It’s a dance school in the modern day. I love the characters. I love the stone circle and the dancing and the chocolate and the London bits and the romance. And I love the story of this ballet novel, dark as it sometimes is.

And it all feels good.

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair


The whole series, A Dancer’s Journey, is available to pre-order now!

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

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Sisters at the Edge of the World

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character, and some rather complicated romance.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

The Mermaid and the Bear

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

Taking place mainly in a fictional castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland 

Fireflies and Chocolate

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle, and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society Editor’s Pick

Ailish Sinclair stares out to sea

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53 Replies to “A Ballet Novel and a Tale of Publishing Woes”

  1. May you stay strong and keep writing these stories, it seems publishing is in a woeful state these days, but there are so many ways its done now, and lots of people like me, still read books. I’m looking forward to Sisters.

  2. I had a publisher who got sick and eventually shut up shop. All I had with her was a short story in an anthology but the people who’d published a novel or two with them were hard done by.
    Glad you’re feeling good about Tendu.

  3. I’m now SO wanting to read Tendu! And of course Sisters. Such a publishing journey- glad you stayed true to your self and your story! Much joy comes from hearing that you are getting out on adventures,too. Love from Dallas to Aberdeenshire❤️

  4. So sorry to hear of your publishing troubles, but you’re not alone. My latest book was to have been published nearly a year ago, but the release date kept getting pushed back. The publisher assured me that June 28 would be the definite release date, but the 28th came and went–and nothing! Long story short, the person in charge of it, whom they had thought was working on it all along, left the company–and had done absolutely nothing with it! And I’m STILL waiting for its release! They had earlier accepted another of my manuscripts, but it’s not even scheduled for editorial yet. I’m trying to learn patience. I hope that your book and mine soon see the light of day! Best wishes and continued health!

  5. Okay first of all, congrats on your book! I am also working on a ballet romance at the moment so I feel slightly unoriginal now haha. But I’ll definitely be looking for updates on yours because now I so want to read it! Best of luck to you, xo

  6. Nice to hear you keep on writing. Setting different timelines around one central castle is also something intriguing. Good you got your rights back. I hope it comes out on eBook. I would be happy to read it.

  7. Glad you have no regrets about not complying with the de facto order to change something fundamental. When a well known publisher required a fundamental change, I couldn’t do it. Also, as your account suggests, I could have let myself down, and achieved nothing –

  8. Wow..the story of TENDU’s journey and your own is a lesson in patience, but also the frailty of small publishers. My first ever book chapter (in an academic area) was delayed by the death of the wonderful man who was a ‘one man’ publisher, much loved and trusted. Small publishers bring that risk but their commitment and personal investment mean a lot.

  9. As someone who is just now braving the publishing world, my heart goes out to authors when I hear these stories. It makes me worry about all of the conversations and decisions I have yet to make when (if) I reach that point. I wish you the best in finding the right publishing home for your book so the world can hear your story the way you intended it to be heard.

    … I can totally relate to your comment about whether or not people will be able to look you in the eye after they read your work! But those scenes are the most fun to write, right?

  10. I can really connect to what you said about going back to the book and finding how much you love working on it again. I have a book that I really want to revisit and do what I like with it. I think you were also right to stand by your own vision of your book when it came to the first publisher. I hope TENDU finally finds its audience.

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