Happy new year, readers. Well 2017 is gone and good riddance to it. Just when I was thinking it couldn’t get worse, the publisher of most of my books, Loose Id, announce that it will be closing in May 2018 as I blogged about last month.
It’s a sad situation that many small press publishers and indie writers are giving up because it’s getting increasingly difficult to make money. My contracts with Loose Id had become longer the last couple of years, because publishers need longer to make back the money they spend on preparing books for publication. There are various factors leading to the current situation that’s putting the publishers out of business, and I’m not going to go into it all here. Other people explain it better than I could. But let’s just say the biggest reason of all rhymes with Blamazon.
Anyway, what does this mean for me and my books? I hadn’t decided when I last blogged about it, but have been mulling it over now. If something like this could ever be said to happen at the right time, it has sort of happened at the right time for me. I blogged a few weeks back about moving on from the erom genre and working on something new in 2018. So I wasn’t planning on any new submissions to Loose Id. Still I was expecting my books to be with them for the foreseeable future. Now I’m going to have the rights back to 15 novels/novellas by the time of the closure in May and have to decide what to do with them.
I’ve been pondering my options. There are three.
1) Try to sell them to another publisher
2) Self-publish them
3) Don’t do anything. Let them go “out of print.”
1, well I like having a publisher do all the hard work of getting things published and distributed, but this is hardly an easy option. Selling ONE book to a publisher is hard enough never mind 15. Also, after the demise of first Samhain and now Loose Id, two of the biggest small publishers, due to market conditions, I can’t help but fear I’d end up going through the same thing again sooner or later. I may be trying to resell a couple of them, but I can’t see me trying to do it for all of them.
2, self-publishing is looking like the best option. They’ve all been professionally edited – very professionally. Loose Id did great editing. And I know I can format files for upload to Amazon and Smashwords – I’ve done it before. And this would make them available places they’ve never been before. But this does involve spending money on them for covers, with little chance of them making that money back in the current market.
3 is a non-starter for me. I want them to be out there and available. There are none that make me think “Oh good, at last I can remove that from the public gaze!”
I’m not expecting to make a ton of money from them. I’d like them to be available. But I’m moving on from the genre, so I want to just get them out there, and see what happens. If self-published is the way I go, I will absolutely not be making them exclusive to Amazon. Self-publishing them on Amazon at all already makes me feel like I’m becoming part of the problem – but what else can one do? It’s the biggest game in town. But making them exclusive to Amazon would absolutely feel like selling out to the man.
I’ll try to keep the time they are unavailable to a minimum – just a couple of days, I hope. I’ll be working on prepping them ahead of the time Loose Id stops selling them and they come off retailer sites, so I can pull the trigger on them as soon as I have the rights to publish them myself. While the majority will come back to me at the closure date in May, when I hope I’ll be ready to publish them en masse, four of them will revert to me before then, so watch this space for announcements about them.
Prepping them all will be a big project, that will take me up to the end of May, factoring in slippage time and fixing any glitches afterwards, and various other things that seem to take no time at all for one book, and a TON of time for a dozen of the things all at once. (Like adding new editions on Goodreads, updating web pages, getting Amazon to link up the reviews from the previous edition to the new one.) It’s such fun having a project that’s going to take half a year and that you didn’t know about, suddenly land on you. Last time that happened was when my ISP decided oh, we’re not offering web space any more, LOL, soz. And I had to migrate my entire old fanfic site to WordPress in a matter of weeks on short notice, when I had plenty of other stuff I wanted to do.
But I’m looking on the bright side. It’s a big project, but it’s not hard, like writing is hard. So it will get me back into a regular work habit, without the pressure of writing too. Gives me some breathing space to develop ideas to start writing once this project is done and dusted, and lets me work on the focus and concentration I’ve been having trouble with recently.
I hope my fellow Loose Id authors find the best option for their books. It’s a nasty thing to have land on you, especially if you’re still fully immersed in the genre and had been expecting to keep on publishing with Loose Id. Good luck to all of us and hope we all find the best way forward.