[This article appeared on a couple of blogs in April 2013, days after I had signed with a small press. I still clearly recall the sense of elation I felt when signing the contract. Pity things didn’t work out but, hey ho, such is life.
Besides, I came out of that contract determined to learn how to market, how to make my own covers, how to publish my own paperbacks and how to produce audiobooks. As a result, I have become completely self-sufficient and would now need to be persuaded that a publisher can do something I can’t do myself before I consider signing with another.
I could have added to the title, à la Bilbo Baggins, ‘… and Back Again.’ Funny how things come full circle: I was delighted to sign with the small press; overjoyed to be free of them.
On with the article…]
Thank you for kindly allowing me to hijack a space in your blog to share something with you.
My name is Sam Kates and I have been writing fiction for nigh on fifteen years. I had some short stories published in small press magazines and accumulated a pile of rejections for my novels from agents and publishers. There are probably many other writers who have trodden a similar path.
Then the e-publishing revolution came along. I didn’t even notice until I received a Kindle for Christmas in 2011. It still took me until August last year to appreciate the opportunities now open to writers with a bunch of scribblings accumulating cyberdust on their hard drive. So I bundled together ten short stories and published them on Amazon under the title Pond Life.
Going against accepted wisdom (‘Never publish the first novel you write’), I rewrote my first novel and published it in December as The Village of Lost Souls.
Life then took over (in particular, I faced the threat of losing my job, now thankfully averted) and I haven’t found time to rewrite my second novel and publish it. But in the meantime something remarkable has happened.
Around two weeks ago, completely out of the blue, I received a message from somebody representing an independent publisher, Smithcraft Press, saying that they felt my books should be selling more than they are and that they would be interested in publishing and marketing them.
My initial jaw-dropping astonishment was tempered by a certain wariness. We’ve all heard the horror stories: authors paying through the nose for marketing and editing services from their publisher, e-books being offered at ridiculously high prices so nobody buys them, authors being invited to buy-out their publishing contracts for more exorbitant fees. I waited to receive the contract with a knot in my stomach, dreading that it would contain all those things and that I’d be compelled to reject it.
Much to my relief, the contract did not contain any unconscionable terms. With one slight amendment that the publisher was happy to agree, I felt that the contract was fair for a complete unknown like me. So I signed.
I’m still coming to terms with being able to drop ‘self’ from self-published author. I had no idea that my work was even under consideration until the publisher contacted me. Of course, I hoped to one day attract the attentions of a publisher, but never dreamed it would happen so quickly.
So is there some sort of moral to this tale? I don’t know, except perhaps for this: if you too are a self-published author, hang in there; good fortune can strike when you least expect it. It may happen to you. Best of luck!
[When next my blog is due, it will be Christmas Day and so I’m taking a break. Apart from posting the obligatory Merry Christmas post, my blog will return on 8th January.]