Yesterday marked my very first release with my new publishing company, Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. A year ago, I never would have thought I'd sign on with a publisher of any kind. I was too scared to submit my work to anyone so the safest route seemed to be self-publishing.
As I embarked on the journey of self-publishing, I learned many things. First of all, I'm a control freak in many ways which reinforced my desire to stay self-published. I didn't want to lose control over things like setting the price of my book or having someone tell me I needed to change my fundamental story. I loved having the final say in many things.
I also learned how expensive it is to self-publish. While you get to keep more of the profits, you have to pay for everything up front. Stuff like cover art, formatting, and editing do not come cheap if you want it done well. Then there's the task of finding good people. How do you know that you'll find someone that does quality work and is easy to work with? It's harder than you'd think, though part of that is probably just my personality lol.
The details that fascinated me at first soon became overwhelming. I was stressing more and more over the process of publishing than the actual writing. Setting deadlines for myself wasn't working and I was losing sight of what I loved.
Enter the epiphany. One evening I messaged a friend on a whim and asked about her publisher. She raved and answered my questions honestly and to my amazement I learned she still maintained a high level of freedom over her books. No one I'd talked to ever got a say in price and half of the time, they didn't even get a say in the cover art. I decided to stop being a chicken and submit my story. Every day I checked for a response and wondered if I was making the right decision.
Then came the day I got that wonderful response: they wanted my books. I thought long and hard about what I was doing, knowing I wouldn't be able to shop those books around to main stream publishers. I knew I'd have to change some things, but I hoped my friend had been right. Finally, I knew I'd made my decision and signed a contract for the two books I'd already released plus two more books I had planned.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Not only is my publisher amazing to work with, so sweet and fun to talk to, she's flexible. She proposed some ideas for release dates, but left the decision up to me. She assigned me a brilliant cover artist who did a fantastic job and who let me pick the image I wanted to use. Even when I sent some stuff to her late because of some unexpected issues, she was easy-going and didn't flip out on me. When I asked if she'd credit my amazing editor on Amazon, she had no problem and asked for the editor's name so she could get it right.
Beyond all of that, I joined a wonderfully supportive literary family. When I say family, I mean it. Everyone welcomed me and readily offered advice when I needed it. Already I'm making new friends and I have new energy. My publisher put me into categories that had me ranking as an Amazon BestSeller straight out of the gate.
Instead of worrying over everything, particularly the cost of everything, I can focus on my writing again. I'm re-energized with a plan to expand Breaking the Nexus and now I have release dates for the rest of the books in the trilogy. I have a plan and for me, that was vital.
I'm not saying that going with an indie publisher is the way to go and my publisher could very well be the exception. But no matter what, I know it's the right decision for me. I may still self-publish other books and I plan to try to find an agent to go the traditional publishing route.
After overcoming a number of things recently, signing on with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly was the change I needed to find my way back to the part of being an author that's most important: loving what I'm writing.