I had a plan for what to do when my rights were returned for both of my traditionally published books, but due to a not-so-author-friendly contract, it was still a year away for one and almost two years away for the other. I did have a plan, though, and I was all set to work on it. Then, as the saying goes, the game changed.
With apologies and a tip of the cap to James Fell…
–-On This Day in History Shit Went Down: January 4, 2022–
The email was unexpected and brief. I was unceremoniously dropped by my publisher. The plan I had in place had to change. The first order of business was to get the nonfiction book about my daughter’s struggles with spinal fusion surgery out ASAP.
I’m happy to report that less than four months later I released Bent But Not Broken: One Family’s Scoliosis Journey on my own. It was one hell of a learning curve, but I did it, and I’ve never been happier. The cover is better, the layout is better, and I’m in complete control.
ALL royalties from that book are being donated to charities (Canadian Blood Services and Ronald McDonald House). That would not have been possible with a publisher taking a majority cut of the already small slice of pie. You can find your favourite retailer here if you want to buy it (don’t ask me what’s happening with the Australian paperback, that’s an Amazon “quirk” for which I have yet to see a resolution).
I shelved Hard Truth and wanted to turn it into a quadrilogy of short novels (about 175 pages each) and planned on doing that last year in advance of the midterm elections (the characters are all flavoured similarly to some of the names you hear in the news and the stories are them getting their comeuppances), but then a friend came to me with the idea for my #MisfortuneMemoir and that shiny object captured my attention (the newly minted Reprisal series is slotted to hit the shelves, at least in part, before the 2024 election in the U.S.).
I put all the things I’d learned getting BENT out into the world into action and as I hope you are aware, Near Death by a Thousand Cuts: A Humorous Memoir of Misfortune will hit the shelves on April 1st. I’m beyond excited about bringing this book to you and am proud of myself for taking control of a challenging situation.
Am I done with publishers? Partly. Yes, my experience was definitely tainted due to one bad apple, and I’ll continue to self-publish, but I do have a few novels finished that I think would be a great fit for a traditional publisher (I think one, in particular, is damn good and I promise it will have a shorter title than my nonfiction). More on that after I get past this upcoming release.
So, happy January 4th, everyone, and remember the saying about doors closing and windows opening or something. I don’t know, there are lessons in there. Or not. Do with this information as you will.
Peace, love, and penguins,
I made a conscious decision to not call out my former publisher by name here. Aside from them having an itchy trigger finger from a litigation perspective, I don’t think dragging a company publicly over these differences is cool beans. If you message me directly though I’d be happy to share my experience. Onward and upward, friends.
Buy James Fell’s sweary history book. JamesFell.com/books
The more I read about the publishing industry, the more I realize that — unless I have the next Harry Potter series — I’m better off self-publishing. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d probably done it already.
. . . plus, if I have the next Harry Potter series, it’s no guarantee I’ll get a publisher anyway.
Thanks for the information, and good luck.