STRINGS and THE LAST SUPPER. They have treated me so well, in fact, that the idea of working with almost any other small press (at least one that isn't vetted by my agent or several of my writer friends) makes me feel at least a little reluctant. That isn't to say there aren't any other great small presses out there. I know there are. I have just become incredibly cautious about who I let handle my work. After witnessing too many of my writer friends get burned, I can't imagine being any other way.
As a hybrid author, I have had three goals in mind:
1. Publish with a large mainstream publisher who can distribute my work to the mass market, bookstores, and help get me more overall exposure.
2. Publish with a small indie press titles that may not cross over as well to the mainstream, and who will give me some of the creative control and the collaborative partnership I desire.
3. Self-publish an array of short fiction, novellas, and other work that will allow me maximum earnings potential and the opportunity to explore and experiment with the tools available to independent writers today.
To that end, I have nearly accomplished all three. My agent has two of my suspense manuscripts now that we hope to sell to a large publisher. I have a fruitful relationship with a great small press. And I have launched a pulpy sci-fi series and a load of short stories on my own.
The challenge has always been deciding which route to take with which things I write, particularly in choosing between a small press and going DIY. There are so many small and micro publishers out there, and many of them are making so little money for their authors and doing so little promoting that I have come to feel that for all the time and money and effort spent on packaging and releasing a book, authors (at least ones who are well-versed in this particular landscape) can be better off going the DIY route than they would be by signing their book over to someone else to eat up half the minuscule profits. I mean, if you're going to have minuscule profits anyway, you might as well take the option that gives you the lion's share of them, right?
Again, not all small presses are created equal this way. Some of them are damn good at what they do, and they can make bestsellers happen. It's just very hard to get into these particular publishers, and the best ones might not always be right for something I've written.
My relationship with Hobbes End is far from over, but I have made the decision to publish the sequel to my book STRINGS myself. There are several reasons for this, and they are as follows:
1. I really want this book out in the spring of 2016. Even if I managed to finish the book next week and submit it to Hobbes End, it would probably be at least another year before it was released. While it would be possible for them to get it out sooner, they can't guarantee it, and I'd rather not put that kind of pressure on them when I'm fully capable of getting the book edited, packaged, and released in half the time.
2. My agent is unable to represent my STRINGS properties, because Hobbes End holds the rights to the first book, and trying to rep an orphaned sequel to a moderately successful but by no means blockbuster book is a nightmare no one wants. And trying to sell an orphaned sequel even to a small indie press is also a losing proposition. So if I'm not going with Hobbes End, my only other option really is to do it myself.
3. Having the first book in the series published with Hobbes allowed me to get it a lot of exposure I might not have otherwise gotten if I'd done it myself. The success of the first book will help drive the success of the second one, and I would like the opportunity to be able to take a more hands-on approach with the promoting and printing of the second book or any other subsequent volumes that may follow.
4. I have resources and skills now that I didn't have two or three years ago when I wrote the first story. Since then, I've started doing conventions, I've launched the Colt Coltrane series, and I've expanded my network of skilled peeps who can help me get the book off the ground via editing, cover art, interior design, and so forth. I feel very confident I can handle the endeavor and so I shall.
So there you have it. I'm hard at work on the STRINGS sequel as we speak. It's about 2/3 written, and my goal is to have it released in early March of 2016 and up for pre-order before then. Start spreading the word! I'll keep folks posted on the status of the book (official title, cover reveal, reviews, release date, etc) as the adventure unfolds!