The term “traditionally published” took some getting used to when I first began hearing it. Back when my first novel, Garden of Lies, came out in 1986, there were two kinds of writers: published and unpublished. Those who were self-published didn’t count.
The digital revolution changed all that. In today’s world, not only is there no stigma to self-publishing, there’s valor in it. And money to be made. Statistics from two recent surveys on self-publishing show that indie authors dominate eBook bestseller lists by a whopping 54%. That’s more than all the traditionally published authors from the major houses combined! That said, I had to be dragged into the new reality even though my indicator lights were blinking, warning me I was in danger of being crushed by the old ways. My reluctance was understandable. Like an adult child living at home, I was spoiled. For my fifteen women’s fiction titles that were traditionally published, I’d had other people doing the work of bringing each book to the marketplace. I didn’t need to concern myself with pesky details such as editing, cover design, distribution, marketing strategy, and promotion. Continue reading “How I Went from Traditionally Published Author to Indie Author (With the Scars to Show for It)”
Going independent–lots of authors are doing it, and now I have, too.
It was not an easy decision, complicated by the lucky fact that my track record–seven cozy mysteries put out by a major NY publisher–still garnered interest from agents and editors. But since my series character is pretty much a smarter, braver me, when my contracts were fulfilled, I welcomed the chance to live in somebody else’s head for a while. Shunning the “Write what you know” advice teachers hand out with your first yellow pencil, I chose the less-heard and infinitely trickier “Write what you fear” route. I wanted a heroic woman this time, and to my mind nobody is more heroic than a person who has endured cancer. Let’s make her a cop before she got sick so she has skills, even if she doesn’t expect to need them again. Now remove her resources one by one for no apparent reason, and the plot for CURED is in motion. I just didn’t figure on Lauren Beck’s second major life challenge taking up so much of mine. Yet we both toughed it out, and I’m happy to report that CURED is finally finished. Continue reading “Declaring My Independence”
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”