As most of you know, my first six books were traditionally published. I have loved my publishing experiences and feel like I have learned so much. Yet, when I submitted my last manuscript, Ribbon of Darkness, to my publisher, after many months of waiting to hear back, and a requested rewrite, the manuscript was ultimately rejected.
It was devastating to me because I loved this story. I knew it was my best work to date and I was stunned that my publisher had passed on it. It was a hard pill to swallow.
As I grieved a bit over the rejection, I started making some decisions for myself. Another publishing company had offered to take it, but the more I thought about it and the more I talked to other authors, the more I leaned toward indie publishing.
And that’s exactly what I did.
Self-publishing Ribbon of Darkness has been a scary and exhilarating experience. I have learned so much about cover design, typesetting, and marketing. It has been a crash course for me on the publishing side of the business and while it has been hard, it has been so worth it.
It’s also been interesting to me to see the reaction to others when I tell them that Ribbon of Darkness was self-published. Most people have been very supportive and want to hear the story of my journey. Many authors want tips and tricks on how best to do certain things. But some people have sort of drawn back, and I’ve heard comments that since it was rejected it must not have been as good as my others that were traditionally published. I don’t believe that to be true. My publishing company explained to me about market trends and felt that it wasn’t something they could get behind at the present time. I can understand that, even though it hurt at the time. It wasn’t a matter of good vs. bad. But with the advent of CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, and other marketing venues, I knew this was a title that I could get behind.
And that’s exactly what I did.
It’s been a long journey, with a lot of ups and downs, but I can honestly look back and smile now at how fortunate I am. I got a wonderful distributor that was able to get me into stores I’d been in before with my other novels, as well as new stores my books had never been in before. When I did my booksignings I heard from fans who had been waiting breathlessly for this book, because they knew it was Ethan’s story (Ethan was introduced in Dangerous Connections.) I have met so many wonderful people with my marketing efforts and I’ve gotten reviews from people I never would have met any other way. I couldn’t have asked for a better self-publishing debut novel.
Of course I know self-publishing isn’t for everyone and there are risks to a career when you self-publish if your numbers aren't great and publishing companies might not want to take another chance on you. But, ultimately, I know this was the right thing for Ribbon of Darkness. I have two more manuscripts that I plan to submit to my publisher, because they have been good to me and they have clout that I don’t have, and I hope they are accepted. But with the experience I’ve had with Ribbon of Darkness, I know now that I have a lot of options open to me and I’m grateful for that. It is a brave new world for authors in both the traditional and self-publishing markets and I think it’s exciting to see where it’s going to go.
So, I want to thank all of you who have supported me through this journey, who have taken a chance on Ribbon of Darkness, and who come to read my blog to buoy me up and be my friend. I couldn’t do it without you.
Do you feel differently about self-published books? Is there still a stigma attached or do you feel attitudes are changing? If you’ve read Ribbon of Darkness, how did it compare with my previous books?