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 I entered Eyes in 2 local contests for unpublished authors and it was a finalist in both, and I did some interviews with editors and agents at those conferences, but I think I only ever sent out one partial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.