My Publishing Journey
I’ve been writing fiction and non-fiction for over twenty years. I’ve had a lot of material published during that time including books. Getting a book published is quite different from getting an article or a guest blog post published. This article is about my book publishing journey.
Quite a while ago, I wrote a story about the Rhinegold, the myth Richard Wagner used to compose his Ring Cycle of Operas. My version was humorous rather than dark and I change the ending to a happy one. After sending it around to quite a few publishing houses, I was surprised and delighted to hear back from a small indie publisher who wanted to published the story. Naturally, I said yes and signed a contract. Things went downhill after that. The fact that I was almost completely ignorant about book publishing didn’t help matters.
Less than a year later, the same publisher agreed to publish an anthology of my short stories.
Since I was still a novice about book publishing and snce my first book wasn’t out very long, I signed another contract.
Once the first book was published, I anxiously awaited my initial quarterly sales report to see how many books I had sold and what my royalties would be (I did say earlier I was ignorant about book publishing!) Despite being a contract item, the published resisted sending me a sales report until I had sent her numerous emails. When I finally got one, I was shocked at the results; one ebook sold and no print book sales. Royalties of less than a dollar. My initial enthusiasm took a hit.
I knew I was responsible for marketing the book, but upon reflection,I realized I had no idea how to do that. The publisher “helped out” by sending flaming emails to all her authors demanding that we get up off our collective backsides and sell more books. It occurred to me the publisher had a defective business model. Just because someone is smart enough to write a book doesn’t mean they know how to market and sell that book. To me it seemed the publisher had a vested interest in providing at least some minimal information on marketing to get her authors started on a path that would lead to more sales. She was having none of that however.
Quarterly sales reports continued to be classified as top secret and were only grudgingly sent out, months late. By the time the anthology was published, I was a disgruntled author. My primitive marketing efforts operated in a vacuum since I couldn’t determined if they were effective or not without seeing a sales report.
These experiences led me to consider self-publishing for my next book. It was another anthology of humorous short stores and novellas. I found a great cover artist, did a lot of research on packagers (after I figured out what a packager was!). Eventually, the book was published and I was able to note the quality of my print book and ebook were both higher than the books the publisher put out.
With that book successfully launched, I decided to start my own imprint to publish my future books. Thus, Strange Worlds Publishing came into being. Right now, SWP (as I call it) and I have 24 books available on Amazon.
I want to caution readers to take my discussion about my indie press publisher with a grain of salt. My experiences represent a sample size of one and a sample that small can’t be extrapolated. I know authors who have had a good relationship with their publishers so maybe my rants can be classified as sour grapes. On the other hand, I don’t regret my decision to self-publish. It’s a lot of work and marketing is still a bear.
But I’ll save my marketing journey for another day.