It was the third week of January 2012 and I was totally prepared to self-publish the sequel to The Traz. I had an editor and proof reader lined up, a cover artist, reviewers, blurbers, and beta readers. A formatter—to upload my manuscript to Amazon, Smashwords, and CreateSpace.
I was set to get ISBN assigned. I had a person in my sights to do my video trailer and was making preliminary plans for a launch party (I might still do that. It involves a hot tub, some bubbly, lots of chocolates….)
|I celebrated my 2-book contract in front of the media at St. Paul Literacy Day celebrations|
I was planning a spring release for this sequel and was diligently revising and editing my way through the manuscript and…desperately trying to find a suitable and marketable title for the book. I was posting teasers on my social networks and was running a free draw for a Kindle to coincide with the release.
It was going to be easier to self-publish this time, I told myself. Because now I knew what was involved and the order in which things must be done. I had a realistic budget, a book marketing coach, and the beginnings of a fan base
Then, Imajin Books emailed me an offer—for not only the paperback and ebook rights to the sequel, but to re-release THE TRAZ ebook—with a snazzy new look and a comprehensive, professional marketing strategy designed to snag my share of the elusive eBook market (something I was having trouble achieving).
Whoa, I thought. (Or something like that. Perhaps it was more like, Wow!) I’d never had a publisher approach me before. My sci-fi novella, Schrodinger’s Cat, had been picked up by WolfSinger Publication—but only after I’d emailed a query and a submission.
Plus, I was totally flabbergasted that someone would bet money on a novel that wasn’t even finished yet, that I was still revising—a novel that they’d never read. I didn’t believe all this was really going to happen until my Paypal account showed the advances had arrived.
I set about cancelling all those I had lined up to help me self-publish. I sent out a news release and announced my good fortune to family, friends, and fans. Then, it began to sink in…there are downsides to having a publisher.
I no longer had total control over my work. It wasn’t going to be me designing the cover, or selecting the title; it would be Imajin Books. It would be them setting the release dates and determining the prices. Them, with whom I’d be sharing the profits.
I’d done a lot of research and thinking way back when, before I decided to self-publish The Traz—now all the reasons I'd used to convince myself to go ahead with the project, came flooding back. Most of them centred on having control over my career, seeing my book in print, and actually having other people read my stuff.
But I'd also told myself that I wanted to get my product out there for industry insiders to see, to spark the interest of agents and publishers, to ensure them I’d be a good investment for them and that I was willing and able to invest in my career.
That goal, I’d achieved with Imajin Books.
I knew from my experience with Schrodinger’s Cat, that having a publisher frees up a lot of time—time that I’d rather spend writing. Besides, although I must now share my profits, Imajin Books is picking up all those initials costs for editors, and covers, and trailers, press releases, and marketing (Although I don’t know if I can convince them to cover the costs of my hot tub-chocolate-bubbly Book Launching Party. Perhaps if I invite them?)
With my publishing contract, I will be freely tapping into Imajin's established markets, promotional expertise, and technical and literary skills. Financially, I will be saving a lot of money on publishing, coaching, and promoting and if my sales increase dramatically (as I anticipate), even though I’ll be splitting the profits, I’ll be making more.
Having said all that and having made my decision, I did ensure that the contract I signed wasn’t going to smother me—that if things don’t work out as anticipated, I will still have options.
One clause I looked for is a time limit on the contract. The rights will revert to me automatically after so many years, should Imajin Books and I not sign a new agreement. If, in the not-too-distant future, it becomes apparent that my publisher isn’t able to do for me what I’m expecting, or if better offers come along, or if technology opens up new opportunities—I will be free to self-publish or market my books elsewhere. The other thing I looked for in the contract was confirmation that I retained all rights to my other writing and novels. I didn’t want my entire career tied to this one publisher.
I have those freedoms. If Imajin Books kicks starts my sales in the international online marketplace, gets my name and work out there and known, establishes an extensive and loyal fan base for me, I can take advantage of all that and, without having to share royalties, self-publish other novels.
That is—if I again want to assume all those publishing expenses, and take on all those publishing roles, and invest all that money and time…
Always nice to have options. Always nice to have access to free expertise.
Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer www.eileenschuh.com