Author Musings #11

I thought I’d return to these ramblings about my writing and publishing efforts but not do them weekly; rather, just an occasional series. So I’ve decided to return to my original plan of self-publishing even though I didn’t query very long, and I’m excited about it.

Feels like I’m one of the few authors who’s not interested in querying, though. Maybe one day, if I have the right book, but the way the market is now, I would need to write sapphic books, since these days it’s all about writing characters that share your identity. Vampires and werewolves are an overdone, oversaturated trope and I think agents often reject them as soon as they see them. I even saw a publisher whose guidelines said paranormal romance but no vampires or werewolves or any combination thereof. What else do you write about, selkies? Mediums? More traditional publishers are picking up queer books, and vampires come and go; but it’s always wait and see every three years what an agent or publisher feels like buying in the heat of the moment.

I write the kind of books that fit into familiar favorites and popular genres, but I write anti-tropes that are difficult to market. I could see myself querying 200 agents and spending a year on sub to find the right person who loves my weird stuff and I’m just not sure it is really worth it; nor do I have the patience to chase that gamble even if I know I’m good enough and my book has wider appeal. Even after you land a book deal you still have to move copies or you’ll be in the midlist forever. Many traditionally published authors with several books under their belt that they’ve successfully queried still need day jobs.

Then small presses, you earn 30-40 percent of the royalties, and they do the work of cover art and editing so you don’t have to invest in that upfront yourself. But many of them rely on their authors for their exposure, you have to do all the marketing yourself, and you can’t track and guide sales plans as easily as if you were doing it yourself. I’d rather query or self-pub than go with a small press, personally. This, even though small presses are friendlier to edgier, riskier topics and subgenres that major publishers won’t touch. Half are vanity presses, poorly run out of the owner’s pocket, and nothing more than social clubs that won’t last for more than a few years, anyway. You can usually tell by their business model, by their website and by their marketing plans. Many, though, are completely legitimate and have an important place in the market.

So self-pub it is. I like the idea of creative control, and the fact that I know I’m good enough and my book has wide appeal means to me that I think it has a good chance to sell more than the average of 150-200 copies if I market it right. I’m finishing up final edits now; my editor finished his major edit, and now we are checking it for continuity issues. This is the dark werewolf m/m romantic suspense novel.

Then I’ll figure out cover art; I may invest in an illustrator or do the cover art myself as I’m a photographer and have graphic design knowledge; I haven’t decided. I bought Atticus for formatting. I’m researching marketing and launch strategies. I’m going through several different drafts of my back cover/sales blurb, which is very important for marketing self-pub books. Then to figure out ARC copies and a release date. I am getting so close to pushing this baby out into the world.

I’m about 62k words into Book 2, as well, which focuses on halfbreeds and a side character, Eamon, and his love story with an FBI agent, Isaiah, who has a child whose mother was killed.

In other projects, I’ve decided to work on multiple WIPs this month to see what lands. I’m still working on my sapphic romantic psychological thriller from NaNoWriMo; I’ve got about 24k words in that one. I started a new m/m steamy contemporary fake dating romance about a guy who comes out as bi whose new gay friend is helping him get comfortable with his sexuality; problem being, he’s socially awkward as hell. I’m about 9k words in that one and constantly daydreaming about it so I think I’ll stick with it.

That’s about it for writing and publishing news. Until next time.

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