My colleagues Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown are self-publishing the sequel to their book STRANGER. Sherwood has a long, detailed post about it "HOSTAGE Preview: Why We Chose to Self-Publish Book 2."
This... makes me sad.
First let me say, I think this was absolutely the right move on the part of Sherwood and Rachel. They're also handing the announcement of the decision a lot more gracefully than I ever would have been able to. I only wish, in fact, that I was as SAVVY as these two women. I wish that I had had a finished book waiting in the wings when Penguin gave me the boot so that I could have made an equally smooth transition to self-publishing. STRANGER fans will not wonder what the heck happened and where the next book is, unlike so many Tate Hallaway fans. So, seriously, good for them for being willing and able to make a move like this. I think an author's priority should always be to taking care of themselves like this, because GODS KNOW THE PUBLISHERS WON'T.
And that, right there, is what makes me sad.
Today I was hoping to get back to publishing my Tate installments over at WattPad. I didn't manage it, partly because I spent the morning finishing up some first draft work on my own collaborative self-publishing venture SCHOOL FOR WAYWARD DEMONS. But, I've had a lot of trouble focusing on the PRECINCT 13 sequel because I get so damned depressed about it. I know that this WattPad stuff is far too little, too late. It's been way too long since a Tate book has come out. Readers have gone to greener, more prolific pastures long, long ago.
The news of Rachel and Sherwood also triggers my depression... and bitterness, really, a feeling I've vowed to try to leave behind in 2014.
Thing is, while I'm glad that they've been able to turn this frown upside down, it really, really sucks (IMHO) they they have to, at all. Go read Sherwood's post because I can NOT believe the crap that professionally published (I should really use air quotes for that) writers are expected to deal with. Who sits on a book that long? What can possibly be the reason? My publisher managed a very quick turn around. I never waited more than a year from my delivery date to publication, so it's possible. Especially since Rachel and Sherwood SHARE MY PUBLISHER (though not my previous editors.)
When I read stories like this I half-wonder if traditional publishers are trying to drive writers away, trying to destroy business. Because so often there's also ZERO publicity for a new book (or continuing books in a series.) So it's almost as if they're doing everything in their power to ASSURE FAILURE.
I say this out of bitterness, surely. But, I had a very successful career with Penguin all things considered. I always had amazing editors. I lucked out very, very often with fantastic covers ("good packaging" as they call it), and, for the most part, I had no reason for complaints. Sure, I did a lot of my own publicity, particularly for my science fiction series, but, you know, I knew that was part of the deal so it never felt raw or unexpected.
Yet news like this makes me so... sad.
I think it's partly because I wish, for once, publishers would have to bear the brunt of their mistakes or ineptitude or whatever is happening over there in traditional publishing. But, they won't. They'll just pick up some other new talent, underpay them, abuse them, and throw them away when there's any kind of problem. None of this will ever lead to any kind of change on THEIR part. The publishing world seems to be changing AROUND traditional publishers, but they seemed happy to just keep on keepin' on (but not in a GOOD way.)
It bums me out.
I'm having feels.