Going Indie

In a comment, Christina asked if Sing My Name will also be an indie release. Yes, it will, but I thought I’d start a new post about it here and explain a bit, even though some people have probably already seen a lot of this info (for instance in the interview with T.L. Haddix).

I wrote Eyes to win a bet with my sister (and did), but once I had a completed novel, I didn’t have the foggiest what to do with it. My sister found out about a writers’ conference in her area and got me to visit and dragged me to it. Until then I didn’t know about those either. After that I joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and got a little more sophisticated. I entered Eyes in 2 local contests for unpublished authors and it was a finalist in both, and I did some interviews with editors and agents at those conferences, but I think I only ever sent out one partial manuscript in response to an invitation from one of those editors. The fact was that nothing I heard about the publishing business made me want to work my heart out to participate.

Then for some reason I got it into my head to prove I could write a mystery. Rottweiler Rescue is the result of that notion. It won the mystery division of the RMFW contest, and the editor who was the final judge was very interested in it, but the book wasn’t really done, done, and she said send it to her when it was. Of course by then her company was kaput as so many of them are any more.

So I talked to other agents and editors at the conferences about RR, and every one of them immediately started in on what I had to change – the title, the fact it was about Rottweilers (unsympathetic “street dogs”), other things I didn’t want to change. The effect all this had on me was to make me decide to hell with it. I didn’t want to be published enough to suck up to all these strangers. Going to NYC is my idea of hell and doing a book signing would be a close second. I’m a homebody and don’t like to travel. And quite frankly I realized there wasn’t enough money in it to do all these things I’d hate. So I just gave up on the idea.

Then I got my Kindle, which eventually led to my finding out about Amazon’s DTP and to publishing Rottweiler Rescue as an indie. When I did it, my feeling was that anything was better than having that book go to the dump on my hard drive after I died, never read by anybody. It had more polish than Eyes; I had taken it through a good critique group chapter by chapter. I didn’t have great expectations – there was the whole indie thing of how does anyone find your book, the genres of these 2 books aren’t hot, and I was no more willing to turn myself inside out promoting than I had been to get traditionally published. Of course Rottweiler Rescue is a niche book. I put out word about it on the Amazon Kindle forum. Dog lovers bought it. It was more successful than I’d ever dreamed.

It was so successful I decided to get Eyes out too. I spent almost two months revising and polishing Eyes before releasing it and put it out there thinking it would never equal RR‘s success. It’s closing in on 3 times as many sales right now.

Many of the people putting out indie books for Kindle are hoping that will lead to a traditional publishing deal. You can tell that from their posts in the forums. I’m not one. I’d rather have the control and the freedom to do or not do what I want to than the advantages a publisher offers. I know my books would be better edited if they went through a publisher and the covers would be classier (not the one with Schara on it; nothing is classier than Schara). I don’t think I’d make more money, and I know the quality of my life would be less because of dealing with those people.

The critique group I was in was a very good one. In the time I was with them, two members got publishing deals from small publishers. The woman worked full time and put what she could into her project, but when I checked a few months ago, the one book she had accepted back then, several years ago, is still the only one in her name (Lori Lacefield). The guy was devoting full time to his writing and spent his advance and his own money hiring a publicist and doing all those things I am unwilling to do. From his website he has won awards and now has several books out (Troy Cook). Watching what happened to those writers was part of what made me realize I didn’t want either of their experiences for myself.

So, Sing My Name will be an indie release and so will any other books I have in me from here on out, for better or for worse, succeed or fail.

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8 Responses to Going Indie

  1. Christina says:

    I looked at Troy’s Web Site and found this:

    Troy Cook is pleased to announce that producer Richard Gladstein and his production company, FilmColony, have acquired the film rights and are currently packaging director, writer, and cast for the big screen adaptation of 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers.
    Gladstein’s credits include Bourne Identity, Cider House Rules, Finding Neverland, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, and Pulp Fiction.

    How would you feel if someone offered to buy the film rights for Eyes? Who do you see as playing Cord and Ann?

  2. Troy had done something in the film industry in the past before I knew him. He really is an excellent writer and deserves his success, and of course he’s worked hard at the promo aspects. His writing is along the lines of Elmore Leonard – humorous stuff about crime and criminals – and not my type of book, but for those who like those stories, they are very, very good.

    I don’t know much about film rights but assume selling them would be smart if a chance came along. It’s not as if I’d ever do anything with them myself. But I don’t have any ideas about casting as I don’t watch enough tv and movies to even know current actors in the right age group. I’m still stuck in the Tom Selleck era and actually made time to watch the debut of the new tv series he’s in. I only have network tv so I hope the series is a success and stays on a while.

  3. Paige says:

    I just finished reading Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold last night. I loved Cord and Anne so much I just didn’t want the book to end. I went to your website and read the Latimer Chapter too. Thanks so much for that.
    Please tell me the So, Sing My Name is going to be a sequel to Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Cord and Anne.

  4. Hi Paige – Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to let me know you enjoyed Eyes. It’s nice to see a new digital face so to speak.

    Sing My Name is not a sequel to Eyes. It’s a completely different setting with its own characters, and I hope you will like them as much as you did Cord and Anne. This is the description for Sing that I’ve developed so far:

    “Sarah Hammond is the overprotected daughter of passionate Massachusetts abolitionists. Matt Slade is the orphaned son of hardscrabble Texas settlers. Sarah knows about every Civil War battle from studying newspaper accounts. Matt fought in the bloodiest of them under Generals Longstreet and Lee. If Matt and Sarah ever crossed paths, it should have been for an unremarkable moment. He would tip his hat. She would nod and pass on by.

    “Except that as the only survivors of a Comanche attack, Matt and Sarah spend far more than a moment together. They come to know each other, depend on each other, and love each other. The vicious revenge of Sarah’s humiliated, jilted fiancé allows him to say, “I destroyed them.” Did he? Or when Matt and Sarah meet again years later, can they put their lives and their love back together?”

    Ellen

  5. Paige says:

    I just nominated Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold for best historical cover at http://www.covercafe.com/nomination.shtml.
    Good luck.

  6. Hey, Paige, that’s cool. Thank you. I didn’t know such a site existed but went and looked around a little. I couldn’t find a gallery of covers anywhere. Is there such a thing or is it all a mystery?

  7. Paige says:

    Maybe it’s all a mystery. I couldn’t find all the entries either.

  8. Paige says:

    Who is the cover artist for your book Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold? I really like the cover because it’s so different from what I usually find on the romance covers nowadays. I bought Eyes in ebook but I’m gonna order the paperback because I think it will look great on my bookself.

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