|Phoenix art by Laura|
I know a number of author friends who were delighted to publish with a small publisher that felt like family. But in today's publishing climate, it's tougher than ever for small publishers to survive. So what do you do when your cozy family in the publishing world decides to close its doors? If rights revert to you, you might decide to go the route of today's guest. I asked her to share her experiences with that starting over process with an existing book. Take it away, Dusty...
Thank you for hosting me again, Laurel! Last time I was here it was for the one-year anniversary tour for Shadow Eyes. Now, here we are three years later releasing it again.
(Be sure to enter the rafflecopter at the bottom of the post for a chance to win a print copy of Shadow Eyes and a $50 gift card to Amazon!)
Shadow Eyes, my YA urban fantasy, was first released in 2012 by Musa Publishing. Being a young, small publishing company, Musa closed in 2015 as so many small publishing companies are forced to do. After a lot of thought and advice-seeking, I decided to self-publish it this time. A lot of reasons went into this.
1. I didn’t want to wait anymore. Publishing through a traditional publishing company takes time! There’s waiting to get accepted by a publisher, waiting to sign a contract, waiting to get assigned an editor, waiting to get all the edits done on your part, waiting for the company to finish their edits, waiting on the cover art, and then finally waiting for the release date (they often have a long line ahead of you). Self-publishing is much faster, and having gone through it all before, I really just wanted to get Shadow Eyes back out there as fast as I could. I have a sequel waiting in the wings for goodness’ sake! Let’s get this show on the road!
2. I was tired of searching and getting rejected. That may sound shallow or childish, but come on, who likes getting rejected. And, believe me, I know rejection by publishing companies is normal and not to take it personally. I went through a lot of them the first time around before Musa picked it up. Many of the rejections were most likely by companies who didn’t even look at the book because they didn’t have time or space for new authors. Most others have certain tastes and a certain market they are trying to sell to, and my book just didn’t fit.
I didn’t take it personally. But it still got old. When doors kept slamming in my face, I didn’t doubt myself or wallow in self-pity. I got frustrated and discouraged. I kept seeing the light at the end of the tunnel grow dimmer and dimmer as the end kept getting farther and farther away. I started to feel like I’d exhausted all possible options, and what would I do then?
That’s when I realized there was another door. A door that wouldn’t slam in my face. Sure, the world beyond that door was new and scary, and I was sure to be met with opposition and possibly judgement. But it was an open door nonetheless. And it gave me a breath of fresh air.
3. My genre and content has a unique and specific market. Most traditional publishers don’t want a book with a limited market, so if yours doesn’t seem like it would appeal to a wide audience, they won’t want to take a chance on you. This is probably what influenced my decision the most. After talking to a trusted author/editor about it, I realized that what she said about my genre and content was true. It is unique. And that’s okay!
In fact, I'm proud to not fit their traditional, mainstream, please everyone and cater to everyone mold! My books will find an audience that will love them for what they are -- bold, unapologetic, unique, spiritual and morally grounded, yet too edgy to fit a Christian mold either. I will find my audience without a publishing company’s help. Thank you.
4. Self-publishing gets you more profit for the same amount of time promoting. True, you may not have quite as much reach as you would with a publishing company, but you will make much more profit. Also, I found that with a small publishing company, I was doing most of my promoting anyway. They helped out with what they could – gathering a few reviews from me, helping their authors cross-promote, giving us ideas, hosting tours, etc. But much of the promoting fell on me. So that much isn’t very different now.
5. I learned to view self-publishing in a different light and swallowed my pride. It’s no lie. Many people in the book community have a prejudice against self-published books. They view these books as “not good enough” to get picked up by a traditional publisher. Like a lot of prejudices, there is some foundation for this. The truth of the matter is anyone can self-publish. Sure it takes some research and asking a lot of questions, but anyone can do it. The book doesn’t have to be professionally edited, and the author doesn’t have to be any good. The thought is that if a book is traditionally published, at least it’s been screened by someone out there who deemed it as worthy enough to be in the book market.
But here’s another truth. Just because a book hasn’t been screened, doesn’t mean it’s not any good. Now, I do still think books need to be professionally edited because even the best writers are blind to their own limitations. We all need an outsider who knows what they’re doing to help us with what we can’t see. But if it has been edited, who’s to say it’s not just as good as a traditionally published book?
I just had to get out of that prejudiced mindset, swallow my pride, and simply be secure and confident in my work, knowing it’s just as professional and worthy as any other book out there, with or without the “self-published.”
Closing thoughts – I will say that going through the traditional publishing process the first time was extremely valuable! I learned so much that I believe will help me be successful this time around. The connections I made, the lessons I learned, and the ideas I gleaned have all been very helpful. Plus, having been traditionally published at least once does help give you some credibility amidst the sea of self-publishers out there.
So, if you’re looking to publish your first book, I recommend at least attempting to go the traditional route first. After that, it’s totally up to you and what you feel is best. Just don’t let fear or your own prejudice get in the way of your decision.
About the Author
Dusty Crabtree loves a good story, but she also loves young people. These two loves are evident in all parts of her life. She has been a high school English teacher since 2006 and a creative writing teacher since 2014. She's also been a youth sponsor at her local church for as long as she’s been teaching. She feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis. With her love of reading in the mix, becoming an author of young adult books was just a natural development of those two passions in her life. She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.
Blog / Twitter / Facebook
About Shadow Eyes
Seventeen-year- old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them.
Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.
Goodreads / Trailer
Available for pre-order Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Apple iBooks / Smashwords
To see other posts on this tour and to increase your chances of winning, visit Dusty’s blog for the schedule with links as they are posted.