It’s been a while since I posted here on The Edge. I apologize. I was busy circling the poor me drain and wallowing in misery and self-doubt. But it’s okay. I’m over it now. Well, mostly. I’ll explain.
I’m not an organized person. I don’t make plans too far ahead, because if they change, I get loopy, and if you walked into my house, you’d probably think, “Well, this is a tad chaotic.” However, there is a very definite order to everything I do. Others might not see it, but it’s there. I don’t like change or unpredictability. They make me itchy, and when things suddenly veer off the course I’ve set for them in my head, I fly off the rails a little bit.
This is why I don’t like unannounced visitors. Those always put a wrench into my day, even when I’m doing nothing. I don’t make major decisions without a lot of hand-wringing. I don’t change jobs or move to a new place without first pausing to think about all of my options. Funny I’d choose a career path that forces me to deal with a roller coaster of changes and unpredictable moments, eh? Perhaps I’m also a masochist.
When I went into publishing, my first goal was to do it “right.” Find an agent or a small publisher and be professional about the whole deal. I plugged away at this for about five years before I even considered publishing myself. When I did consider it, I did so for about a year before taking the plunge.
Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever said: I did not want to be an Indie author.
I know, this is shocking to some of you, but it’s the truth. I wanted to be taken seriously, and in my eyes, that meant the respectability of a publisher had to stand behind my books.
Of course, I know that’s not true now. Okay, so it does help, but a publisher is not the be-all and end-all of a writing career. You can do this shit alone, and you can be extremely successful at it. My books, while not making me millions (or even thousands) or climbing up the bestseller lists, have done well, and still do reasonably well.
As I published my first couple of books, I still queried agents and publishers, because I decided hybrid was the ideal type of author to be. You get the boost of a publisher’s loyal readers to help push your Indie titles along, and you get the freedom of Indie publishing to release whatever the hell you want. I got a few nibbles from traditional publishers, but the contracts weren’t right. Correction: they weren’t anywhere near fair. So I turned them down. I can’t even tell you how hard it is for an author to turn a contract down. Even if it sucks, a small part of you whispers, “But what if you never get a second chance?” You have to smother that little bastard or you’ll go crazy.
Anyway, then, I got the “big” bite. I was elated when the first book in my gods series was signed by a small, but respected press. I was over the moon when book two and book three were signed late last year.
I had the next couple of years mapped out in terms of my books and publishing. It was going to be awesome. 2015 was going to be the year of great things for me.
Well, it turns out, not so many great things have happened so far.
I’m not sure if I’m “allowed” to share this, but the letter I received didn’t say I couldn’t, so here we are. The publisher that signed my books is closing down. My books’ rights will revert back to me on March 31st and it will be like the publisher never existed. To say I feel blindsided by this development would be an understatement, but if I’m honest, I’ve wondered several times in the past few months if something was up. I won’t get into the details, but tiny clues had my hackles rising before Lucky’s release. Now, I see why.
Anyway, when I got the email, at first I was all,
And then I quickly shifted into,
So where do I go from here? I’ll admit, there were tears. Sad, angry, frustrated, even hopeless tears. I’m a bit of a drama queen, so there was also a little, “Why can’t I catch a fucking break?” and “I quit. I’m done.” Maybe a little,
I’m sure there will be more later, but for right now, I’ve stood up, dusted myself off, and (with the help of certain friends) I will focus on bigger and better. The reality is I have caught a few breaks. I have been lucky. I’ve met fantastic people, I have supportive and loyal readers and friends, and my books are selling, even if I have taken a couple of steps back with this publisher fiasco.
And you know what? Self-publishing has never let me down. So there’s that.
There is never any certainty in publishing. Hell, there’s never certainty anywhere. Your plans will always change, and shit’s always going to go bad at some point. You will work and work without reward, and sometimes, even when you do achieve success, something will come along to rip that shiny feeling of achievement right out of you. I sound pessimistic, but I’m not. This is just reality. The secret to being happy instead of cutting your wrists is to move forward. Say “Fuck it” and find another way, a different goal, a new focus.
2015 can still be the year of great things. I will re-release Lucky myself, and I will follow soon after with the second, third and fourth books. However, before that, I’ll be publishing Sex, Peanuts, Fangs and Fur: A Practical Guide for Invading Canada (the plan is to publish in March). Watch for it. This one’s a fun ride.
14 thoughts on “So Far, 2015 Sucks Balls”
And also on the upside, the publisher evaporating has nothing to do with you, your talent, or the quality of your work.
Good point. The first few days, that’s all that kept me going.
I can only imagine the stress of the whole situation, and I know from the suck moments of my life there’s little that can be said that will make you feel better. It’s interesting how a year ago there was still a giant “stigma” around being indie. At the start of the year I saw a big shift in talk, blog posts, and articles where even published authors were saying they wished they’d done it indie instead. It’s like those who have made it onto the publishing track are shouting back at the aspiring saying, “DON’T DO IT-GO BACK! SELF PUB!”
Any stigma around self-publishing is in the authors’ minds now (at least for the most part). However, I think it’s important to experience the traditional roller coaster. First, you’re forced to perfect your skills, and it helps to thicken one’s skin. You need that for Indie publishing. And if you can snag a publisher, there’s a lot you can learn. My experience, although disappointing, taught me things I wouldn’t have learned on my own.
But yeah, if I had to give any advice to new authors, it’d be to try EVERYTHING, including Indie publishing.
*hugs* That just sucks monkey balls. Your a good writer, don’t EVER forget that. You’re one of the few I actually like to read.
I have another friend who ended up in the same boat, so you’re not alone. I think this is one of the pitfalls of the new digital age; all these new markets open up, but for whatever reason, they fold within a couple years. Even some of the more successful ones like Strange Chemistry (an Angry Robot imprint) and Ellora’s Cave are victims and I don’t think we’ll ever know why.
I still tinker with the idea of a Traditional contract too. Every now and then the idea pops into my mind and I look over my WIP’s to see if any would meet their criteria. Possibly, but I don’t think I’m ready to try again. Not yet.
Things will look up. 🙂 This is just the first couple months. We still have another ten to deal with.
Thanks, Darke. It means a lot that you enjoy my stuff. 🙂 And you’re right. It’s a pitfall of the awesomeness of the digital age. Crescent Moon had been around for a while, so I figured it was a safe bet. Alas, there is no such thing in this big bad world. I like publishing myself, and I don’t think I’ll be venturing into traditional waters for a long time. Even if I wasn’t self-publishing, my ego can’t handle it at the moment. 😛
All the markets are trying to adjust. Look at Ellora’s Cave. They’ve been around for 14 years and they went down in a blaze of fire.
That post up there was me.
I intended to go traditional right up until I finished my first book. I had actually committed a big no-no before I was finished by contacting the receiving editor at a publish I thought would be a good fit. I just wanted to open the lines of communication. Evidently, I impressed the dude, because, without seeing any actual pages, just going off my description of the book, he requested a full when I was finished. About two months later, I sent him the manuscript, and he read it immediately. Within a couple of weeks, I’d heard back. He said it was the best example of magical realism he’d read since he started with the publisher eight years before. They offered me a contract. Just like that. First book. WHAM!
Then, I read the contract.
It was a horrible deal. I didn’t really know much, yet, about the state of the publishing industry, but I knew it was a horrible deal. I said I couldn’t take it. Minimally, they would have to improve several things about what they were offering. He said they couldn’t do that. He said I should feel free to shop it around and compare and that they would wait and still be willing to take the book. That’s how much he liked it. He also said I wouldn’t find a better deal anywhere else. Not a first time author.
So I did the research… and he was right.
My response was pretty much, “Screw that!” and I’ve been indie ever since. It would take an incredible deal to get me to go with a traditional publisher, at this point, even though I don’t make enough as an indie to count as making anything.
Yeah, the deals offered via traditional publishing, unless you get a big fat contract complete with movie deals and such are pretty shit-tastic. My contract wasn’t awesome. It was better than others I’d been offered, but a long way from awesome.
Renee, as an “old soul” who went through hundreds of query letters (and pink rejections) in the 90s, just be happy–because now, you are IN CONTROL girl! And you get to keep 70% of your royalties. Just keep writing (even those fab articles about sticking it to trolls!) I loved it.
Thanks. 🙂 I think, in the end, recent developments will be for the best.
Sorry to hear your contract disintegrated into thin air. 😦
On the upside, it’s not YOUR fault. It says nothing about YOUR future, only about some company’s, and it doesn’t mean THE END to any of your publishing endeavors.
it’s just a company closing down. The readers who would’ve bought Lucky from them, will buy it from you, because it’s never the publisher’s name who wins readers. It’s the book. And I’m more than certain you’ll do well, because you write fucking well, and your stories are awesome.
Thanks, Veronica. 🙂