Sometime back Facebook’s Timehop feature showed me I’d posted about how many words I’d written that day on a young adult novel called Afterlife. The original post was four years old. I reposted it with a caption about how the book still wasn’t sold.
Harvey Stanbrough, the man who once accepted my novella Inheritance for his StoneThread Publishing company (then returned it because he stopped publishing other authors), commented about how that’s four years Afterlife could have been making money for me.
“But … but …,” I stammered back, “The editor at Tor who accepted the second collaboration between me and Carrie Jones said she’d look at it when the collaboration is in the editing process.”
This led to more comments, e-mails, research, and soul searching. Harvey sent me to explore the vast and deep Web site of self-publishing mastermind Dean Wesley Smith, and it truly opened my eyes. I’ve read a few of Dean’s books on self-publishing and running a business now, and all this has caused me to completely re-evaluate my career.
(Turning 50 last week probably added a little prod to the backside, too.)
Activity at my own MoonHowler Press has ramped up. I’m nowhere near Dean’s WMG Publishing, or even Harvey’s StoneThread Publishing, but I think I’m on the right track. Here’s what I’ve done in the last week or so:
- Restarted my use of Smashwords to accommodate non-Kindle e-readers
- Cancelled KDP Select options on my already-published Kindle e-books
- Finally published the new edition of Call to the Hunt (paperback and e-book; audio is in production)
- Formatted the interior, made several sample covers that were test marked to my high school students, and set up Love Curse for paperback and e-book publication, with a June 7 release date
- Created an Amazon Advantage account to offer pre-orders of Love Curse (coming soon!)
- Changed the prices on my electronic novels to put them more in line with major publishers
- Created a template for individual short stories to be released electronically
- Published the first of the above short stories (Nocturnal Caress) for Kindle (other formats and titles coming soon)
- Began working with a very talented student who has agreed to create art for a children’s book I wrote way back when Kim was pregnant with our first baby (he’s 23 years old now)
- Began laying plans to independently publish several other novels I’ve been submitting to agents over the past few years (usually getting no response at all); in other words, a business plan
So, why? It’s true the collaborations with Carrie both earned us nice 5-figure advances, and I do like receiving large sums of money. But I’m not naive enough to believe I had anything to do with that. She’s a New York Times best-selling author who brings name recognition to our collaborative work. Would I get a similar advance for a solo novel? Doubtful. Also, that editor at Tor who agreed to look at Afterlife made that promise over three years ago. What if I’ve waited all this time for a rejection? Yeah, maybe it means the book isn’t good. But maybe it means that one person simply didn’t like it and I’ve wasted however many years waiting. Afterlife is in my business plan, but it isn’t immediate; I’m still hoping for a big chunk of money and the major label marketing that comes with it.
I did all the above while still teaching both high school and one section of college Comp 1. I’m looking forward to the summer, when I have time to really buckle down on this. Look for some updates to this Web site and a serious effort to make MoonHowlerPress.net look legitimate. It’s a lot of work. I do have a young friend who is interested in publishing and teaching English who wants to help me with MHP. We’ll see how that works out this summer.
In the meantime, how about a poll? I haven’t done one in a long time.