February 7, 2015 by Renee
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.