Monday, August 18, 2014

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

I have worked in writing and publishing in some capacity or another for about twenty years. I've written for trade magazines, I've freelanced for newspapers and web companies, and I've written greeting cards. One time I helped a National Enquirer reporter research a story - got three figures for about twenty minutes of work. These days, I make up things - sexy things. It's my hope that I'll eventually make a living off the sexy. Every time I put forward a new story I keep that hope strong. The results, however, vary.

Seems everybody wants to self-publish these days, or else convince you to self-publish. I would prefer to do what it takes to get my name out there and interest readers in my work. I may choose to submit my work to a publisher. Mind you, I do consider everything about the house before I hit send. Having worked with a number of publishers over the last decade, I can tell you that if you ask ten authors at that house what they think, you'll get eleven different answers.

I've enjoyed successes and failures with publishers and with self-publishing. If I choose a house, I base the decision on a number of factors and how the result could benefit me. One author can make a bajillion dollars with Super Awesome Publishing Company or via self-publishing, but it doesn't mean I will. I learned that already.

Why am I rambling? Well, you probably heard about what's happening at Ellora's Cave. If not, here's a nutshell:

  • Freelance editors have been let go. They are currently working with an in-house skeleton crew.
  • Jaid Black is launching a new non-erotica house, but that has nothing to do with what's happening at EC. (meh)
  • EC is not going bankrupt, so they say.
  • This was announced before the other stuff, but EC plans to discontinue submissions for Blush. Established authors may still have backlist titles pubbed under the imprint, but no new stuff. I don't know if that's related to Jaid's new house.

News like that doesn't stay contained for long, especially when dissatisfied people see the need to vent. Mind you, I am fairly new to this house, and at this writing I do not know how I am yet affected. My thoughts go to all involved and I send positive mojo to everybody, especially those who face losing steady income.

Many are angry and have that right, but my experiences differ. I have only the one story out with EC, and I have yet no idea about the sales. I am aware that having a lesbian romance in a house full of alpha male hotties likely means I won't be hitting the NYT anytime soon, but there are other things weighing on my mind now. Some authors at EC have several books there - perhaps some their entire catalog - and therefore have more at stake. I may see only a bump in the road, others a sinkhole. It's distressing, yes.

I will say this: I had such a wonderful editor. I would not have traded the experience of working with her for anything. As it stands now, she may or may not be working with me going forward. I do hope one day we will reconnect, be it with a pub or on my own.

Another thing: I am well into a follow-up to Sugar Rush. Do I finish it, or set it aside and write something else until I'm more certain of the future? According to my contracts, I am not obligated to submit sequel/series work attached to non-EC books. I could write more Love is Bliss stories, or revive Dareville, or write follow up stories on other published works. I have the rights back to a few older stories that I could revise and publish.

I am not obligated to submit a work under seven thousand words. I could write a short-short, then write longer sequels attached to that work.

Do I dare take a chance with another publisher in a volatile industry? Granted, I don't know the future of EC - will they rally, will they tank - but I've been burned before. Venus Press? Silk's Vault Publishing? 'Memba them?

Do I continue to promo Sugar Rush given the uncertainty of seeing money for it? I am proud of this story. I had a wonderful editor whip it into shape for me. I loved the world so much I started on a sequel. I loved that Ellora's Cave saw potential in F/F romance that I bought every one of the other F/F stories released in June. They are solid stories by great authors.

I'd hate to neglect telling readers who want F/F to buy it. Then again, I have rent and bills. Ellora's Cave wants me to tell you to buy it directly from them. You are welcome to do that, but I don't like telling people where to shop. It's at All Romance and Kindle and NOOK as well. Vote with your dollars.

If I never make the USA Today or NYT lists, I won't die of heartbreak. I have only wanted to make a comfortable living using my best skills. I happen to write, and I love it. If I make enough a year to set aside a few bucks to go to New York or Charlottesville for a weekend, that will suffice. I don't look for happiness in money. An email from a reader saying "I liked your book" is the best boost ever. The occasional sexy dreams about Christopher Eccleston help, too.

So here you have it. Once again I'm staring down two roads to decide where to turn. I'm disappointed in the news I received from EC, but right now I need to concentrate on my professional well-being. It would be nice if the sky rent in two and an angel floated down with a book of instructions, but I can't hold my breath.

As an author, I'm used to asking people to buy my books. Right now, I could use some good mojo or whatever powers you spiritually. And chocolate. I'd never turn that down.

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