Periodically a new blog post or article surfaces that complains bitterly about the proliferation of indie authors, the inundation of the unwashed that is swamping Amazon and muddying the waters for the traditionally-published. This almost always boils down to two major points: (1) just ANYbody can self-publish (which obviously is very true but sounds suspiciously like sour grapes to me) and (2) indie books sometimes (maybe more than sometimes) need more editing than they get. Very often these posts bleat about the fact that if authors wait and work to be picked up by a traditional house, they will have the benefit of thoughtful, detailed, professional editing and will, therefore, produce better books.
I beg to differ.
My first book was published in 1984 by a New York house. The book was complete when they optioned it and they never suggested so much as a comma to me. The fact that they accepted the manuscript verbatim and had zero editorial suggestions seemed like a silent nod of approval, and on good days I could believe that if I wanted. On bad days, I might just believe they deemed the book “good enough” and were not interested in spending time polishing it. When I got a letter from them saying I needed to add 70 pages to get to the proper page count, there was no hint of what the content should be. Story line, plot points or character development all seemed to be of no concern whatsoever. I duly added the pages, resubmitted them, and the book went to publication without any other changes. Even my few typos went in exactly as my fingers mangled them. Continue reading “The Editing Myth”
Once upon a time, there was a lovely author. She was smart, and sexy, sassy and…okay, okay, I said it was a fairy tale, remember? Anyway, she’d been writing her whole life, and finally finished her first novel. Now, this gorgeous author was alive back in the days before there was internet. Yes, I know, that was a very long time ago. You probably weren’t even born yet! But such a time did exist. Ha, ha, very funny. Yes, there was electricity. And typewriters. You’ve probably never seen one of those, have you, smarty pants?
This voluptuous writer, her dream was to have her book represented by the William Morris Agency in New York City. She sat in their waiting room when she was 15 years old, just watching the goings on. It was a magical afternoon in the city that never sleeps. She believed it was her destiny. How could she be denied?
Fast forward to the 1990s. The author’s first manuscript was complete. It was an action-adventure novel which would rival Ian Fleming and definitely kick Clive Cussler’s far-fetched ass. She was ready. She contacted William Morris. They wanted it. Months went by. The vice president had taken an interest. Three readers read it. Things were happening, indeed. Continue reading “A Frustrated Fairy Tale”
I hope you saved room for a nice juicy steak. Part two of my post will cover the meaty reasons why I am self-publishing and building my virtual shelf. Point #6 deals with publishing industry contractual terms—something I didn’t know before I sold, but am dealing with now years later. Don’t get me started on Rights Reversion language. Oh, wait. That’s exactly where we’ll start. (If you missed Part One, you can read it here.)
6.) Control of Your Book Rights –Subsidiary Rights, Foreign Rights, and Reversion Rights. Retaining control of your digital rights (for e-books) and not have them tied up for years after your book is released is a HUGE benefit. The current contract language for e-books is lumped in with print book definitions. Makes no sense that digital books would have ANYTHING to do with print books, but most publishing contracts have these definitions lumped together in one clause or another (ie. “out of print” definitions and rights reversion language). Some of you may not know this or realize the impact until you try and get your backlist rights back, only to realize your house can keep rolling their rights to your work for years. This can be a nightmare. This is a HUGE reason for an author to self-publish, or at the very least, push to define e-books separately and not link the contractual terms to that of print book definitions. Why can’t e-book rights be limited to 2-3 years and stop? Why must an author ask for permission for rights that should automatically revert back to them and undergo a lengthy process over another 12-18 months where their digital rights are tied to royalty statements and definitions of books in print? Foreign rights can be lucrative too if your agent works this angle and shops them aggressively. Who knows? Maybe you both can shop those foreign rights on your next trip to France. Road trip! Continue reading “Ten Reasons Why I am Self-Publishing (Part 2) by Jordan Dane”