Thursday, October 20, 2011
A little writer encouragement.
They were the ones who helped me formulate a query, and it was they who sat down with me to create my first synopsis. And they were great. They were. If you wanted to be published in the New York market.
Now I'm not picky. After two years of waiting for Dorchester and their policy of no double submissions (can't send the same book to multiple houses at the same time), I finally began writing again. I submitted both that book and the new book to an epublisher. I thought, what the heck? Maybe my writing sucks really hard and Dorchester, that huge publishing megalodon, had stepped outside of it's normal business practices to worry about upsetting me in a rejection letter. I thought (I'm ashamed to say), like most of the RWA crowd, that if the "real" publishers wouldn't take my work, then maybe it was "good enough" to sell to the "for now" publishing houses on the internet. I hoped that if I had publishing cred, ANY cred under my belt, that New York would take me seriously. I WANTED it. I would have had New York's baby if it had asked me.
Somewhere along the way, I realized something. Firstly, my writing needed a lot of work. Secondly, Dorchester wasn't doing so well anyway. Thirdly, epublishers have a labyrinth of edits they go through for every book (the reputable houses fight their stereotype, hard, and put out excellent work). Fourthly, by the time I registered that I was a published author, I was already receiving my first royalty check (for those of you who are curious, a little over $50 for 32 copies sold the first month. More than I had the month before). And, fifthly (what a weird word that is), RWA disdained eAuthors.
I was devastated.
I, and any mention of ePublishers at the meetings, got the lifted lip sneer. I was told by supporters, "it's okay for now, but you need to get published." Because ePublishing was not considered true publication. In fact, there was an RWA war going on at the annual gathering about who would be "allowed" in as a published author. About what works were considered "published" and were they actually published if an epublisher had distributed them? Group loops and super secret off shoots of the Professional Authors Network (PAN) openly scoffed ewriters on the discussions.
And that's where I drew the line. Because I've discovered that ePublishers are awesome. I don't think New York is bad. I don't think they're better or worse, they're just different. I know that when I write a book to the best of my ability, submit it to my epublisher, it will get thorough edits and be released in roughly three months. New York takes longer.
I know my percentage of royalties is higher through epub than print, and I know that if I get steam built up behind me, I can have books out every month from a single publisher if I wanted to (which currently I do, btws), and I know that New York won't do that for me.
Why, Mia? Why are you telling us this story of internal intrigue in the publishing community?
I'm glad you asked. Because, fair readers, I moved to Michigan and found a group of writers that DARED to support epublished authors equally and actually broke away from RWA (if you didn't know, this is where you gasp loudly and dart glances around the room). Yes, RWA is changing their tune, but in the meantime, I've put out over 41 books, something listening to RWA would have discouraged. This amazing, daring group of women GRRWG (Grand Rapids Region Writers Group) is putting on a mini-conference this weekend in, you guessed it, Grand Rapids.
This talented group is made up of writers who have nearly all become published after breaking off. I say nearly, because the group continues to grow and new, unpublished authors, come in all the time. The awesome resource has roughly one book come out a week on average. And these women and men are putting on a "I Always Wanted To Write A Book" conference at the Downtown Grand Rapids Radisson on the river this Friday and Saturday, Oct 21-22. Here the LINK.
The most important thing we can do for each other as writers, is support one another. It's about encouragement when the rest of our families and friends don't get it. It's about being safe to discuss your chosen industry without judgment or condescension. It's about acceptance into an industry with a lot of prejudice on how you got there.
If you live nearby, or have a chance to, I highly recommend coming. Registration is open through the day of conference.