So, I've got some news. Some rather big news for me! First of all, I have a new novel, Build a Man, coming out on December 7th as an ebook, and in paperback in the new year. If you're on Goodreads, you can add it here.
I'm really excited about this one, because it's told in first person (a departure for me from the first two novels), and because I absolutely love the main character, Serenity, and Jeremy, the man she 'builds'. Also, having worked in a spa with many wealthy clients about, well . . . I feel I had a very good grounding to accurately portray the setting. And look at the lovely cover India Drummond custom designed for me (If you're looking for a great designer, she's your gal.)
Here's a bit more about Build a Man:
Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients' liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.
With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy's life. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.
But the truly exciting bit for me is that I'm self-publishing this. It's a decision I've thought long and hard about over the past few months, and I've come to the conclusion that for me, this is the right option. Brace yourself for a rather lengthy explanation!
I finished writing Build a Man about a year ago, but put it on the back-burner to release The Hating Game with Prospera Publishing, a small independent publisher. Between launching my first novel and getting started on Watching Willow Watts (also under contract with Prospera), I finished up edits on Build a Man. I wasn't sure exactly where I wanted to go with the MS, but I'd met some lovely agents along the way and submitted the novel to them. There was interest, revisions . . . time passed, but ultimately I was told the chick lit market in the UK was saturated and publishers weren't taking on many (if any) new authors for that genre.
I had a decision. One: I could submit Build a Man to Prospera, who might publish it. Two: I could submit to another small publisher directly. Three: I could continue submitting to agents, in hopes of getting a big publisher. Four: I could go it alone.
One: Prospera has been brilliant -- I had a great editor there who was very easy to work with, supportive and understanding. I would never in a million years regret working with them, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. But as the majority of my sales are on Amazon -- and in ebooks -- I didn't see why I couldn't hire a cover designer and a professional editor (in this case, the wonderful Caroline Smailes, a bestselling novelist herself) and keep all my profits.
Two: Any small press struggles with bookshop distribution, and I already had a very good situation at Prospera. One of the things I'd decided was that I wouldn't leave Prospera for another small press.
So, that left two decision points: try to get an agent and hopefully a big publisher, or go it alone.
Three: Let's say I was lucky enough to get an agent. Would they be able to sell my novel? How long would it take? And if they did sell it, how long would I have to wait until it was published? All things considered, the fastest would probably be a year -- if I was super fortunate. In one year, I could write three novels and have them bringing in revenue. Not only that, I've already made off one e-book (The Hating Game) what big publishers might offer me as an advance for two or three books. The financials just didn't add up.
So, that left going it alone as the logical choice for me. I can control my output. I can build up my readership on my own timeline. And I can keep the revenues! I truly believe readers don't care who or what has published a novel, as long as it's an engaging, high quality story. That's what I'm looking forward to delivering.
Have I abandoned my dream of being published by one of the biggies? No, and I'm certainly not one to say that traditional publishing is dead, and self-publishing is the only way. It's different for everyone, and this is the choice I've made. I have learned there is more than one way to achieve a dream. Right now, my dream is to have as many readers as I can, as quickly as possible. And for me, that means self-publishing.
Is it a risk to walk away from a very good relationship with a great publisher? Yes, of course. But business is business, after all, and I need to think of my writing as a career. I've never been one to stick at a comfy job just because it's comfy. I like the element of moving forward; trying different things. And we parted on amicable terms, so who knows what the future holds?
Things are changing fast in publishing. It's exciting for everyone, and I can't wait to see what's ahead!