The Publishing Journey of a Ballet Novel

An aesthetic for TENDU, a ballet novel by Ailish Sinclair

Below is a post that was originally written in February 2022 when I started working on my ballet novel TENDU again. It seems fitting to pull this to the front of the blog now as that novel is finally out!

See a recent review here: “Very atmospheric, I could feel what the characters were feeling, feel their pain, it broke my heart and then healed it and made it sing.”

And the Wee Writing Lassie’s 5th pretentious question for me can be seen here: “They deviated far away from my planned plot in CABRIOLE, the second book in the series. I have to admit that what they did has made the story more unusual and interesting. Writing it any other way, as one publisher tried to get me to do, proved utterly impossible.”

Back to the Ballet Novel in 2022

I am now editing TENDU, having pulled it from the proverbial drawer where it’s been for the last three years.

I’m absolutely LOVING it. I’d forgotten quite how much FUN this book is. 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, 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.

Note: You can find out what that notorious plot point was in CABRIOLE, out now.

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 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

A Dancer’s Journey

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Series on Goodreads

Page with blurbs and quotes

Diabolical reading


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Ailish Sinclair stares out to sea

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13 Replies to “The Publishing Journey of a Ballet Novel”

  1. That’s quite a journey, Ailish. After reading “Sisters,” I feel sure that things will go well for you. I would say “Good luck,” but don’t feel a lady with your skill doesn’t need luck.

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