With the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna coming up, I thought I’d delve into the reason I’m REreleasing it, to begin with.
You’d think that after a book is out…that’s it. And, aside from a fuck ton of promoting, that’s true.
Unless you do it wrong the first time.
Then, you have to fix it. Or shove the book into a dark corner, write under a different pen name, and pretend it never happened.
I’m not going to lie to you guys. I seriously considered the latter option. It would’ve been easy. I published The Gem of Meruna under my maiden name, after all.
But it ties into my sci-fi series. Yeah, it’s a standalone, but it’s still in the same universe. And I intend to allude to it in the second book of the series, providing a bit more background.
So now I’m fixing a nearly six year old mistake.
There are a lot of ways to publish a book, and some of them…are downright scams.
The first time I published The Gem of Meruna, I knew jack shit about the publishing industry. I didn’t know what a publisher was supposed to do or not supposed to do. I had no idea how much work went into a proper book launch or how much of that was supposed to fall on me.
All I knew was that I’d written a book and wanted it published. A few google searches brought me to the publisher I went with (I won’t name them here).
When they said they’d publish my book, I was ecstatic.
When they said they’d need a payment of $600 (which they said was a deal, because that premium package would normally cost $1,500), I thought that was normal.
I didn’t know any better.
So I paid up.
I supplied the cover art (my husband did it for me, and I turned it over to them). I did the editing (though I knew next to nothing about proper self editing back then).
They formatted it, filed the copyright for me (under my name, thank goodness), and put it online. They’re essentially a self-publishing company that…charges exorbitant amounts of money for their “services.”
Now, they stated everything they were going to do very clearly and put it in the contract. It was all very legal.
But it was very much a “this author literally knows nothing” scam.
When it came time for advertising?
You guessed it.
Another bill. For subpar marketing. (The press release literally said that I was doing a marketing campaign. Like…duh. If a newspaper receives a press release, it’s pretty fucking obvious that there’s a marketing campaign going on…)
And then there’s all the phone calls…
They switched me from one marketing rep to another, hoping the new one would be able to talk over me enough to persuade me to buy another marketing package. The reps always had hard-to-pinpoint accents coupled with conspicuously American names.
They called again and again and again, on days that I told them I had to work, often calling until I gave up and answered (then complained about the noise of the factory I work in). When I worked overnights, they perpetually called on Friday afternoons (aka when I laid down to prep for a 12 hour overnight shift, aka a time that I told them not to call) For a while, I even blocked their number because I was tired of being talked over/talked down to.
And that’s a horrible way to go about your first book release. It’s something that should be celebrated, not regretted.
And once I realized my mistake, I was always afraid someone would find out HOW I got published. I was afraid that I wasn’t a real author because they’ll print anything, so long as you’re willing to pay them.
When really, I just got taken in by a company geared for that because I didn’t do enough research.
So listen up. If a publisher tells you that you have to pay them hundreds (or thousands, like another company told me) of dollars to publish your book, run as fast and far as you can. That is not self-publishing. That’s a vanity press.
*grabs spray bottle*
Get away from them.
So let’s break it down.
Self-publishing requires a lot from the author. Everything (editing, formatting, cover art, publicity, etc.) has to be done or arranged by the author, but you get to decide everything. (Flipside…you have to decide everything. There are no experts telling you when you’re making a mistake.) You get royalties for every sale.
Traditional publishing requires a lot less of the author and is packed with experts who know better. But leaves you with less control and takes absolutely fucking forever to even get your book picked up. Like…years. You either get royalties for each sale or you get an advance and then royalties if you sell enough copies to out-earn your advance (not likely. They’re pretty good at figuring up how many copies will be sold).
Vanity presses take your money.
That’s literally it.
Yeah, they give you royalties for each sale, but given that most books never sell more than 200 copies…making back that ridiculous sum of money that you paid them isn’t likely.
And unless you pay the vanity press even more, all the responsibilities of a self-published author will fall on you. So you either have to do all of those things (editing, cover art, publicity, etc.)…or pay someone else to do them.
So don’t publish with a vanity press.
Learn from my mistake.
Now, almost six years later, The Gem of Meruna has been polished to the standard it should’ve been published at originally, and will be available on New Year’s Eve. I’ve been working hard to finalize everything this past week.
For those who read it when it was published the first time around, thank you. The story hasn’t changed. So, unless you want the new cover, you don’t need to buy it again.
I also finished another round of edits on After (soon to be renamed) and got back to writing on my Sci-fi series. Thank goodness.
Not writing was driving me a little batty. October did more than enough toward that end without the whole not-writing- thing.
For now though…
Keep reading. Keep writing.