I know you’ve heard this before, but I’m going to say it again. I’m a writer. I write books. Not long ago I decided to release my work on my own. I was no longer going to pursue the search for an agent or a publisher. Instead, I was going to do what I love on terms I could live with. It seems like ages ago that I made this decision, but it was only a few months ago. There were a number of different things that went into this decision.
First and foremost, I was tired of waiting weeks on end for responses from editors and publishers only to get rejected. It might not have been so bad if the general consensus was that I shouldn’t quit my day job, but there was no general consensus. One editor would think my characters were great but my plot was weak. Another would love the same story but suggest I didn’t have strong enough characters. It was frustrating and discouraging and quite frankly started to make writing feel like a job.
I already have an established fan base. It’s small, but my readers are fiercely loyal. I’ve always said it was more important for me to touch one person’s life or reach one person with my work than one million. Why not give them what they deserve and have come to expect from me?
There was also the ability to maintain complete creative control. I’m not naïve enough to think my writing is one hundred percent perfect, but I’ve been in situations where my work was changed to the point that it was simply my characters and my story idea but not my actual story. Not only did it hurt but it was confusing. If the publisher, agent, editor liked my story enough to offer to represent or publish me then why make such dramatic changes?
Besides controlling content, I wanted to control the cover art. Most of my covers, with the exception of my first novel, have been brought to life as a result of images in my head. Those cover images are as much a part of the story as the words between them. I wanted them to represent what was inside. And anyone who knows book selling will tell you that a bad cover can equal bad sales.
I also wanted to be able to have control over the pricing. I didn’t want to be so worried about my bottom line that I priced my books out of the hands of more readers. As a reader, I can tell you for a fact that I have a really hard time paying the same money for an e-book that I’d pay for a printed book no matter who the author is. I may not make as much money by keeping my prices low, but I could make more people happy by increasing access to my books.
I know for a fact I’m not the only author striking out on my own, but it sure has felt like it sometimes. That’s why I was so happy and surprised to learn that one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, Erin Nicholas, recently announced she will be releasing her next series on her own rather signing a contract with her longtime publisher. Among her motivating factors was the desire to have control of release dates and the pricing of the books.
This decision by Nicholas, a well-established author with a rabid fan base, has to be one of the most impressive validations of any of my decisions to date; well, any of my decisions related to my writing career that is!