This is my second part to the series of “Write the Darn Book” and before I go into each of the points I made in part one (Nov 15th), I wanted to enlarge on some of my remarks in the introduction.
In 2006, when I signed my first contractor with Wild Rose Press, I admit to hyperventilating with excitement for having been blessed with a contract. I couldn’t sleep for dreaming of what I was going to do with all the money I would be making in my new career. This small e-pub had just recently opened their doors and they were learning the business the same as myself—beginners who braved this new frontier together. And they were wonderful to me and the other authors who signed with them. We all had great experiences with these ladies because most of us had tried the traditional route and had nothing but rejections to show for our efforts.
Now you might think those rebuffs happened because our work was inferior. Well in some cases you’d be right. But in many circumstances the publishers rejected the work for reasons like there were too many characters, the work was too long, too short, not enough romance, too much narrative, the genre wasn’t selling and on and on.
In my case, and at my age, I didn’t think I had the time to ride out years of the type of treatment many of my colleagues had experienced. Send away work, wait months and months to get an answer, if you were lucky enough to even hear from the agents or publishers at all, and then have to try someone else just to get the same results. So to win a contract on my first try with Wild Rose gave me a huge burst of confidence. Being a person who easily accepts change, I could see the way of the world, the new future of the ebooks, and I had no problem with this route. No one could take away my joy or trample on my success just because I would follow a different pathway to getting my work in print.
In those days, the contracts were for two years, and the time flew by as I kept producing more books to add to my series. But there was one thing that did irk me big time. Every three months when the royalties were to be paid, I would get a notice saying that unless I’d earned over $25, there would be no check. I think it took almost a year before I finally got reimbursed and if I remember correctly, it was around $35. I told myself I needed to get more books out there to earn more money.
So time moved on. Once I had written five books for the series—3 novellas and two full-length, my frustration had peaked. I will admit that in the beginning having my name on a lovely cover did turn me on. And for a while it was enough to satisfy. But those chintzy checks kept coming and not for each period either.
By now I had it figured out. I needed another series…something different than the spirit-time/travel stories I had loved writing so much for the Vicarage Bench. Maybe the readers didn’t appreciate this kind of tale as much as I enjoyed writing them. So I wrote the first book of my next series called My Cheeky Angel and tried to garner interest with some of the traditional houses and even with agents. Again the waiting was intolerable and rejections eventually forthcoming. The overall consensus was that I had too many characters and they wanted vampires, not angels. Meanwhile, way too much time had passed.
Over those years, I had gotten to know a lot of other writers and I’d heard more and more stories about the ones who had decided to try the Indie route. Many were crowing about their successes and I wanted to crow also. So I bit the bullet (as they say in my neighborhood) and got involved with the yahoo loops. I asked so many questions, they must have groaned when they got the daily notices and saw my name there many days more than once. Then I lucked out and found a local group where a few of the members had already started down this path. From them I got invaluable hands-on help and support.
Once I started down this path nothing was going to stand in my way. I knew there would be some expenses involved but I’d already gotten used to paying out money for promotions that never produced any returns. I would just use that money for my new strategy to finally sell my books and see a profit. (Yeah – right!!??)
As you can imagine, what sounds easy can be a nightmare when a person actually puts the plan into motion. Along the way, I learnt many vital lessons and tomorrow I will start to share those with you.