Land a house in June 2015, fifteen days after my birthday. And I’m out of one on the day Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow.
Easy come, easy go.
Well, landing a book deal isn’t ever easy; losing one is, though, go figure **she says, New Yawk accent still intact.** Sorry for being blasé about that; that shit was a slog some sixty rejections later (and of those, a good third were never-to-be-heard-from rejects) to land. But I thank you for permitting me a little gallows humor.
Still . . . I think the bigger slog was having no say in what my book would look like in the end: in formatting, in paragraph indents, what edits stayed or didn’t, in the cover, and other architectual layouts of said design. Just because I give my rights up for the story, doesn’t mean I don’t have say how said story should be presented to the waiting, reading-buying public.
Liken this to you, the new owner of a one-of-a-kind portrait. While the artist doesn’t have license to tell you where his or her fantastic opus should hang on your walls, you, the new painting owner of said effort, can’t deface that artwork to suit your tastes. If you did, don’t be surprised if that artist stalks you months after the breech.
This was the case with my former house, sans the stalking. Had I known the contract stated heretowith that:
“Due to the following sections, we regret that we must terminate your contract due to reasons of conflict in formatting and editing. We have a set standard of formatting for all authors at our house. The formatting changes you are demanding will create issue with our conversion process. Covers are graphics and what shows on a cover will not always show in text, most often when converted to some formats.”
I would’ve never signed in the first place.
Somebody part of the indie interstellar system told me they wanted writers who weren’t argumentative, who were compliant, who were nice, agreeable, easy to work with, amicable. Y’know, the opposite of you, Missye (I’m agreeable, to a point–I really am. Ask anybody!). But, erm, how can I put this politely? Oh, right: they wanted sheeple! Sorry, I ain’t one of those. Yet, for doing the brunt work of marketing, promotion; I loathed the house’s original cover design for JERSEY DOGS; they insisted I use Track Changes when that MS Word feature isn’t outfitted for legally blind users like me (and I told them so); the house’s editorial staff knew zilch about writing on a higher level past she blew my nose then she blew my mind they’re accustomed to . . . all for a paltry 40% gross? The hell with that. Time to jump. Never mind the week prior, the pub owner dismissed my editorial concerns via writing to the editorially trending–wait, wait . . . conferences say ad barfium don’t chase writing trends; does that not apply to editorial ones, too?–citing not only was I arguing with them in my pointing out where the house rules were factually wrong, but she called what I sent a rant.
I got myself sacked via dickering once too many on formatting, but that I called their formatting lazy via their blaming technology as an excuse they couldn’t do what I suggested. So, here I am . . . a lone Captain in her battered starship venturing into the universe of indie publishing. Saved myself some dough by not being sued by that house’s lawyahs in failing to deliver a product. Well, good. I’ll need it for food, water, and oxygen rations while I’m on this star voyage of the unknown.
There’s SO MUCH to learn in this indie publishing galaxy: cover design, vetting an editor, always reading on craft, to formatting for ePub, .mobi, and other platforms, marketing, promo, social media, getting a website name, updating this blog, which marketing schemes work over others, writing, writing, writing, and did I mention researching for writing?
And always, always, not second-guessing myself. Ugh. Like with seemingly never-ending editing, that self-doubt is like getting the flu without taking the shot–you get the damn virus and feel like hell. but you do get better. Over time. Minute by minute. Eventually. But you do get better.