Just over a year ago I started the DRAWER NO MORE! series on this blog to record my journey on the path of self-publishing (SP). That jaunt led to the creation of two books—an achievement both thrilling and frustrating—usually, in that order. At the time, like so many contemporary writers, I had struggled for over a decade to get a foot in the door of traditional publishing, honing my craft, perfecting query letters, researching markets, and pitching my work to agent after agent. All to no avail.
So even though SP was not my first choice, I embraced the option and gave it my all. Of course, the “vertical learning curve” presented a challenge. Like all independent authors, I grappled with the ins and outs of ISBNs, e-book formats and conversion, design, POD, marketing and distribution—enough new concepts to fill a dictionary.
My head was spinning for months with no comfort zone in sight. But in the immortal words of Édith Piaf, “I regret nothing!”
True, my SP journey brought disappointments. In the beginning, I was planning to launch three books with more to follow. Instead, I’ve called a halt after the first two. That’s because an unforeseen development has now occurred along the publishing path—a very exciting development, but one that entails its own new concepts and challenges.
I’m back at square one, but this time, it’s a whole new world.
My old dream has come true at last: I have a publisher! Two of my books have been accepted, and one is already in production.
Isn’t there a proverb about wishes coming true when you finally give up striving? That’s more or less how it happened. Within weeks of saying, “No publisher? No more self-pubs? So be it. Back to the drawer…” I received an acceptance from Booktrope Publishing of Seattle. No, the news didn’t fly out of a clear blue sky; I had submitted work and gotten a recommendation from one of their long-time authors. But I had trained myself to harbor so little hope for good things that the acceptance knocked me over with the proverbial feather.
I’ve featured discussions of Booktrope here on the blog before, but—truth be told—I didn’t understand how it worked until I signed my contract and found myself admitted to the online inner sanctum of Teamtrope, where authors recruit managers, editors, and designers to help bring their books to fruition. This process is complex and can be confusing. I have yet to master all of the details, but already I can energetically dismiss the most common misperceptions—
BOOKTROPE IS NOT A VANITY PRESS. REPEAT: NOT A VANITY PRESS.
In other words—
Booktrope does NOT require or accept upfront fees of any kind from authors.
Booktrope does NOT keep an unduly large share of net revenues. In fact, at 30%, they keep far less than traditional publishers.
Booktrope does NOT allow poorly edited books to go to press. Nor do they accept every manuscript that comes over the transom from writers unprepared for the publishing process.
Some of my fellow self-publishers may ask, “But why give away almost one third of the proceeds when you could run the show yourself and keep it all?”
The answer, of course, is that I get something valuable in return: an imprint, a reputation, a well-informed and readily available staff, an advertising budget, and access to media opportunities I could never dream of on my own. Does this mean I’ll sell exponentially more books than I did as a self-publisher? I have to admit the answer is, “Hopefully, yes…but not necessarily.”
Now, however, I’ve got my team all invested with me and ready to navigate the rough seas of marketing. None of us will make a penny unless we all make sure the book finds readers. Even more important, I’m no longer alone on the daunting journey of self-expression. Experienced professionals have considered my work and said, “Absolutely! We want to bring this to the world.”
No guarantees, but no regrets. I’m still at Square One with Booktrope, head spinning as I adjust to new procedures. No one knows how the venture may unfold. Even so, as the Russian saying goes, I like the “feel of a shoulder” beside me. I’m not alone, and that feels like a whole new world.
Full speed ahead, my dear!
You are SO kind to stop by and share the good wishes! Thanks for keeping an eye on my wacky doings–
I’m thrilled for you Anesa–Congratulations! There really is nothing like that feeling of a shoulder beside you. Enjoy your new journey! 🙂
Wonderful to hear from you again, JB. You offer such a refreshing voice of calm and positivity. I’ll do my best to take the steady-on message to heart–
It has to be said.
You have that indomitable spirit and a confidence in your work which was bound to pay off eventually and, indeed, it has. Many congratulations!
Writing is hard enough but getting published by a reputable house can sometimes seem like a journey of a thousand years, in these times, but you’re on the way to doing it in little more than a decade.
I hope you sell well and become well recognised. In years to come I hope to be able to dine in London off stories of the old days, when I used to swap exchanges with Anesa Miller, American novelist !
Fred! Your thoughtful encouragement is truly a gift. Readers of this blog must imagine I pay you handsomely to tell me such fine things! BTW–your check is in the mail from my Cayman Islands account (yes, folks, that’s a big LOL).
All visitors to this blog are encouraged to visit http://www.fredwebster.co.uk/ where the intricately embroidered tales of an excellent humorist can be found for your edification. Never a dull moment–Fred’s work is as energetic as Morris Dancing….whatever that is!
The very best of success to you and your Booktrope team, Anesa! I’ll be eager to hear more about your involvement with this new publishing model as the process continues.
It’s so good of you, Sarah, to stop by the blog with well wishes. That means a lot to me. Will do my best to offer positive updates as the process goes forward–
What absolutely fabulous news, and the beginning of a fresh adventure! Looking forward to the next installment!
congratulations, Anesa! I am so glad to hear this. Your writing has been very inspirational to me.
Congratulations Anesa! All the best with Booktrope! Being part of a team is a wonderful thing. Looking forward to learning more about your publications.
The encouragement is music to my ears. Guess it’s not so hard to find someone to be happy for you when you make good, after all! Thank you Sarah, Antonia, Cathy and all who stopped by. You make my day!
I learned today that there are vacancies for membership of The Mutual Admiration Society. Do you care to make an application whilst there are still vacancies ? :-))
New one up this week. ‘A Short Guide for Travellers…’. (forgive the English spelling). Go to the link http://bit.ly/1yinxuS
Very entertaining, Fred! I especially enjoyed the description of newspapers and their ideological slants. Highly recommended to all and sundry.
This is pretty wonderful! I’m sure it’s a positive and powerful reason not to retreat to the drawer once more!