mental health, book reviews, medical, writer, writing tips, author, author interviews
The Dangers of Indie Publishing . . .
I didn't get my regularly scheduled blog out last week for a couple of reasons. First being that it was the Fourth of July weekend. And second being the bombshell that came the following morning. My publisher announced it was officially closing its doors.
Because my book had not yet been published, my contract termination and the reversion of my rights came with the announcement. Although I am starting at square one, I am free to query other agents and publishing houses. Others were not so lucky. A friend of mine launched her book with our publisher only three weeks ago. There is a giant question mark hanging above the promised pre-ordered copies (Not the ones from Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Those are still good to go.) and author royalty payments. Other authors state they have not received their royalty payments in months. Will these fund be wiped away after the company declares bankruptcy? Who knows?
Then there comes the question of author rights. According to the contract, if the company goes bankrupt, rights revert to the author. If, however, the dispute ends up in bankruptcy court, such things can be tossed out the window. Book rights can be considered assets to the company and the courts may order them to be retained by the publisher so the publisher can pay back their debts. Obviously, many of the burned authors are seeking legal counsel immediately.
So what shall we then do as authors? How do we protect ourselves from these problems?
Well, that's a Catch-22. Because if you don't trust anyone with your manuscript, you will never be traditionally published. If the only ones offering to publish your book are untried, tiny houses, what is an author to do?
If you look back at my previous blogs, you will see an article written about my decision to go with City Limits Publishing and my hesitancy regarding the company. It was a small company with limited social media presence and had only been open for a little over a year. At the time, the number of authors was few, but their covers were beautiful. Oh my gosh they are still beautiful. I'm hoping to get permission from the artists to show my proposed cover on here some day it's so pretty.
After speaking to a couple of their authors, all who were enthusiastic about the company at the time, I signed a contract with them. And a couple of months later, tunes started changing as things slid downhill.
Do I regret my decision to sign that contract?
Honestly, not really. Because I wasn't relying on this publisher to make my career: I was relying on me. Any extra boost my publisher would give me was great! But ultimately, I was the one I trusted to sell my book, not them. While I waited on the book to launch, I redoubled my efforts at building author connections and relationships, building my social media platform, and continued writing more books.
Publishing is an extremely competitive business and getting a publishing deal, any publishing deal, is a huge accomplishment. Even if the publishing agency is small and untried, your number of sales might be enough to intrigue another publisher or literary agent in the future. I knew they were small. I knew they could go under--small businesses often do. So, taking the information that I had, I signed a publishing deal.
Am I thrilled about re-entering the query trenches? Hell no. And I can't say I'm not immensely disappointed that this venture did not work out. But if I hadn't tried I would never have had a chance at success. So I'm picking myself up and getting back out there. I'm querying the hell out of my book, because I still think it's worth it. And I'm going forward with eyes wide open and chin held high. Because, in the end, that's all we can really do.
RW Hague is a registered nurse with over eight years of experience within the medical field. Using her medical expertise, she writes stories that are gritty and compelling.