|Posted by Liam Davies on August 4, 2015 at 7:25 AM|
So, this has been a rather exhausting year for me, personally – I’ve had a new job, my beautiful baby daughter was born, I’ve had a protracted house move and perhaps most significant of all, I’ve had a health problem, which although I don’t want to go into this in any detail online (thankfully it is seemingly over now if anyone has any concerns), it has been physically very debilitating indeed. All the while, my writing productivity has suffered. But it has prompted me into taking stock of where things are going and make some decisions with regards to my books.
I have been published in the traditional sense – I’ve submitted work to publishers, had acceptances, worked with editors, honed drafts etc, and have learned a lot from the process. My work has appeared on ToC lists with writers whose work I love or respect: Thomas Ligotti, Rhys Hughes, Blake Butler, Shane McKenzie, Kurt Newton, Mark Allan Gunnels and Mark Howard Jones. The experience though hasn’t been a positive one. Sometimes payment has been prompt, but by and large most of my experiences has resulted in having to chase monies owed to me. One of my first sales to a British horror magazine resulted in no payment or contributor copy ever materialising, in spite of my work being used. I’ve had work published in anthologies by well regarded and successful publishing houses relatively recently – again, not even the contributor copies have arrived, in spite of chasing this up, and still my work is being used and the books that feature the stories are selling. My novels and novellas have sold and although I’ve never had a problem with advance payment or the creative working relationship with the publishers, lines of communication have been slow and prospective publication dates have elapsed without sign of a release… and all the while I’ve been evaluating things, prompted by all the stuff going on in my life that I mentioned earlier in this post.
So, I’ve decided to go it alone. I had options – submit to new publishers. Keep plugging away and get a few more sales here and there, which I’d be confident of doing. But the thought of repeating experiences is enough to put me off. With the diminishing stigma of being an indie author, with the prospect of having more control over the whole process, with the ability to know exactly when my books are to be released, it was almost a no brainer. Of course, there is still a stigma. The vast majority of self-published work is poorly edited and lacks the benefit of an external pair of eyes to constructively help shape the story – to help the writer know when to control certain elements. Otherwise, they are often purely and simply 50 Shades of Shit. These are challenges I will have to overcome, but they are less fundamental than the issues I’ve encountered in the traditional publishing sense. I see it similarly to how the music industry is changing or how a film can be self-financed (I’ve always loved the story of how the first Evil Dead was hustled together by Raimi, Tapert and Campbell and because self-publishing is cheaper than movie making, I don’t have to pitch to dentists and doctors to invest anything!)
I’ve also harboured the desire to publish the work of others, to have my own small press. Creating a publishing imprint to put out my own stuff allows me to combine the two - to see if I can get my own work out in a satisfactory way to legitimise my desire to publish others’ writing when the time comes.
Above all, though, it means it panders to my control freakery of the creative process!
For the first time in years, I feel I have something to look forward to with my writing and that I can build something of my own.
Categories: General bloggy stuff