Saturday, June 30, 2018

Persuade Dissuade Lemonade

I’m in the independently published camp all the way, but that’s  because I’m me and this method of publishing suits my needs. There’s no one right answer for everyone so I’m not going to try to persuade, dissuade or make lemonade here today.

When I decided to work toward being a published author in 2010, I was focused on traditional publishing because that was really all I’d ever heard of. I wasn’t tied into the author community – it wasn’t as easy as it is nowadays with Facebook author groups and author loops and twitter and etc. So I submitted a story to Carina Press (a Harlequin imprint) over the transom as they used to say, in response to an open call on their part for ancient world romance. I wrote a paranormal romance set in 1550 BCE Egypt and the rest is (a modest footnote to) history. Published author here, as of 2012!

I learned so much from my experience with Carina and really enjoyed the association. They gave me a beautiful to die for cover from Frauke of Croco Designs, I loved my editor and she really ‘got’ the book, I lucked into a wonderful community of Carina authors (which is where I met Jeffe) and things seemed good. As a long time romance reader, I was thrilled to be part of the extended Harlequin family as an author.

Carina acquired the second book in the Egyptian series. Although everyone was again lovely to me and professional to work with, I got to see a different side of traditional publishing – the cover by someone other than Frauke was not my favorite, shall we say. My editor left and while I was quickly assigned to a new editor, they didn’t really seem to resonate with my story or me. I couldn’t believe how much time was elapsing between book one’s release and book two’s release. Which to be clear wasn’t an inordinate amount of time at all for a trad published book (although Carina was primarily ebook at the time and my two titles never made it into print with them), but for impatient me, it was an eternity!

One of my "woke up in the morning
 with this plot" books
 I discovered I didn’t like working to a contract, in terms of what book to write next. My Muse is a flighty being and likes to work on what appeals to her most. Looming schedules make her tense. Some mornings I wake up with an entire book plot in my head, out of nowhere, and if I don’t write that book right now, forsaking all others for a while, I’m making a serious mistake. My biggest sellers have been those books. They certainly weren’t anywhere on even the gauzy schedules I keep for myself.

Oh and did I mention Carina decided to leave the ancient world romance genre at that time (they may have gone back into it since for all I know) and didn’t show any interest in acquiring my scifi romance, although they were venturing into SFR then. I’m extremely glad they passed now of course. So I couldn’t have continued with them, not writing the only two types of novels I wanted to write. They were open to me experimenting with other genres but my Muse and I were not.

My first self pubbed SFR
"Titanic in space..."
Conveniently, I had also self-published my first scifi romance two months after the initial Carina book released. I LOVED everything about self-publishing. I picked the cover, the price, the distribution channels, whether to make certain edits or not, the schedule, the promo…the royalties came straight to me me me with no extra % taken out for a publisher in between me and the seller’s platform…

I’ve written my entire life and been seriously pursuing publishing since 2010. I had a long career in the business side of the house at NASA/JPL so once I was able to become a fulltime author (which didn’t happen right away – took three years) I was ready to step right into the multitudinous tasks of being a small business, publishing and managing my own books. And I’ve been a happy clam ever since.

I admire authors who can be hybrid and work within the traditional publishing framework and self-publish as well. I think there can be advantages to having a big, successful publisher behind you. I can’t envision it for myself at this time, but I wouldn’t necessarily say no if the right offer came along. I would negotiate the heck out of the contract to keep my intellectual property rights and to make sure there were no issues or constraints on my continuing to also self-publish.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


My latest indie published titles!