It wasn’t until B and I started to talk about teaming up that we began to make comparisons in our mid-list careers with traditional publishers.
We saw the writing on the wall. Different publishers, similar stories. The final straw that broke our backs (or maybe hearts is more accurate) was getting blindsided by a crooked publisher (Brit Darby’s first baby venture). We learned a lot, but the biggest thing we learned was that traditional publishing was fraught with unethical practices.
From vague contracts that kept you tied to publishers for years (seven to ten or more); royalty statements that told you nothing except what you were being paid for on that particular statement; huge reserves for returns; release dates stretched out for years; payments made once a year, or if you were lucky, twice a year; reversion of rights practically taking an ‘Act Of Congress’ to get back; minuscule advances; late releases; boring or bad covers; having no say in the final product; shady reprints; and the list goes on and on.
The harsh truth hit us like a punch in the kisser: traditional publishers are not in the business to make writers’ dreams come true. They are in the business of making money, which far too often goes hand-in-hand with crushing writers and their dreams. Yes, there are exceptions. But after all that has been revealed of the good ol’ boys and traditional publishing practices in the past years, I say hurrah for indie-publishing and taking responsibility for our own dreams into our own hands.
It’s not an easy route to take, but to be honest, it’s a better experience than I had with traditional publishers. And, thanks to B, a lot more fun. I’m still learning, even tackling new things like e-book coding and formatting, cover art, marketing, and blogging. Will my dreams come true this time? I don’t know. But I’ll keep trying.