It’s official, I am taking the plunge. I am moving out of the self-publishing game and under the umbrella of a small publisher.
Yes, it’s true. Just a few years ago I was very hyped and excited about the self-publishing trend. While I didn’t necessarily believe that the big print publishing industry was doomed, I believed that it was definitely in decline and would shrink to a more manageable size.
I realize now I was looking at the world through the rose-colored glasses of ignorance. I had just barely published my own first book and, with a bit of marketing knowledge, believed I could make things happen. I was jazzed.
And I was naive.
Now don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t think self-publishing is a waste or that you’re crap if you’re not picked up by one of the big five mega-publishers. Far from it. There are a whole lot of indie writers who are fantastic with or without a big (or even small) publisher. For me, though, two years of self-reflection have helped me to see things on a much broader and much grayer scale.
I’ve had some shitty things happen over the last couple years. From working a job I was very unhappy at to being unemployed, these events have made me really stop and think about what I want. At one point I thought it would be great to help other writers get a leg up and establish themselves. I flirted with the idea of starting my own small press. Of course, I know NOTHING about doing that. Fortunately, before I got too well into it, I had a realization. I asked myself the cliche question often asked in job interviews, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What about 10?”
The only answer I came up with was that it wasn’t running a publishing company. It was writing. And while, sure, I didn’t necessarily have to keep doing it that long, I felt like if I established relationships with writers that I would feel like I was abandoning them by leaving at some point in the future. In my opinion, if you are attaching your name to a publisher, you should be able to expect that they intend to be around for the long haul.
Another thing I’ve realized is that I’m not an overly outgoing person. I mean, I obviously knew that. Rather, I realized that in order for me to succeed at being a self-published author I would have to be very outgoing. I would have to sell myself. And while I may be pretty good at talking and “selling” I cannot sell myself. It’s just not in my nature.
So, when a friend announced that he was picked up by the small publisher Creativia, I started to seriously take a look.
I’ve known Patrick Hodges for a little while now from our writing critique group. He’s a pretty good writer and a genuinely nice guy. It took some time before I felt comfortable, but eventually, I asked him a few questions about how Creativia was working out. Patrick’s science fantasy novel Pawns hadn’t even come out yet, but the company had decided to represent his two previous middle-grade fiction books as well.
My biggest issue was what they did for him, I wanted to make sure that if I’m giving up a huge part of my royalties, that I’m getting something for it. While we did not get into specific numbers or details, our discussion served to further my curiosity and interest. I ended up having an email conversation with Miika Hannila that encouraged me a little more.
To be honest, my biggest fear was that I knew very little about the company and did not want to have the banner of a vanity press on my writing resume. It did not take me long to discover that Creativia is not a vanity press. This boosted my interest even more.
But I was worried about giving up my “self-publisher” freedom and royalty rights. Eventually, I came to the realization that I wasn’t really selling any books. So a percent of zero is still zero. If Creativia can help me sell a few books, then that’s more than I would have sold before.
The more important part of working with a small publisher like Creativia, is it will free up more time for me to actually write. I won’t have to do quite as much marketing on my own. Not that I won’t have to do any, no publisher does it ALL for you—the days of writers just writing are really, actually dead and gone.
Creativia and I ended up partnering together for the entire Scarlet series. All three books. What worked out well for me was the fact that in getting ready for the sequel to Scarlet Angel, I getting ready to release a new cover for that first book in my trilogy. (That’s my new cover right there above. Smexy, ain’t it?)
So, as of just a few days ago, my new cover for Scarlet Angel was released under the Creativia banner. Even better, I’m—hopefully—just a few days away from sending them my draft of the sequel. Even better, I’ve just finished my first plot-run at the final book in the series.
I still believe in self-publishing. Now, I just also believe in small publishing, and maybe even a little in the big publishing.
The idea of being a professional, living-living-off-my-writing author feels a little different now. I feel a little bit of a weight off my shoulders like I’ve got a little bit of help in this journey. And that feels nice.
You can find Scarlet Angel on Amazon here.