A Lengthy, Rambling Article About Why I Like My Publisher

And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself yourself
My God!...What have I done?!
--Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime


I'll be honest with you: I never thought I'd publish a novel. I wrote fanfiction because I saw an opportunity to finally let some of the stories out of my head and I was satisfied with it. In my mind, it was published. I started my first story on October 4, 2011 and it had about fifty regular readers, which I thought was pretty respectable. When I completed it, it had a grand total of 45 reviews.

On October 28, I started Written in the Stars and the first day, I had 150 readers. I was shocked. And the numbers just kept going up. By November 28, I had three thousand readers.

That's when I started getting a little scared.

I hadn't expected that.

At all.

I mean, who does? I measured "success" as having fifty people who were kind enough to follow my story and leave a lovely comment here and there.  People sent me messages to let me know that my story was being reviewed on various sites and that venerable fic authors, such as Savage, were posting about it on their blogs and such.

I couldn't believe it. Actually, I still can't believe it.



My upcoming novel was recently a topic of discussion on A Different Forest. The subject of my publisher was broached. Some have expressed negative opinions about them, and so I thought I'd explain why I'm very happy with them.

Firstly, they've treated me well. Okay, that's an understatement. They've treated me incredibly well. Every member of the staff I've interacted with has been a lovely person. My editors have been both very good at their jobs and diplomatic enough to avoid traumatizing me. (Hey, I'm an author, I can now lay claim to the overly-sensitive stereotype!)

I can't discuss particulars of my contract, but I'll say I was pleased with the terms and found them to be quite fair. The attorney I consulted (at their urging) was quite comfortable with it, too.

Secondly, they're a small publisher and I like that. From the blogs and author-written articles I've read, there are some issues and requirements with major publishers that I probably wouldn't like.

One such restriction regards fanfiction; many publishers aren't willing to allow their authors to post free works on the internet, and may insist they pull all of their previous stories, even if they weren't versions of the book being published. TWCS allows me to continue doing something I love. Because they're cool like that.

Pictured: What being cool may look like


The main problems that people have with them was that they were the original publishers of  Fifty Shades of Grey and they have some other "controversial" titles in their catalog. This does not trouble me. As long as they let me write what I want, I'll respect that they allow other authors to do the same.

I don't have a dog in the "pull-to-publish" fight. TWCS is no longer publishing fanfic, anyway, and wouldn't be interested in any of my stories unless they were substantially re-written. And that's something I'm really not interested in doing. I learned something very important in that respect during the editing process: Once I'm "done" with a story, I want to move on.

And lastly, they seem to understand me, as anxiety-ridden and socially inept as I am. Either the stereotype rings true that authors, as a species, are high-strung and more-than-a-little weird and they're used to it, or they all have intensive training in Author Psychology and the patience of Job. One of my editors has talked me down from a few emotional upsets and -- God bless her -- hasn't rolled her eyes at me once!


Toward this end, they've given me a remarkable level of control over how much I want to do regarding publicity and such.


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14 comments:

  1. It's very interesting to hear your thoughts on TWCS, because the only other publishing experience I am aware of with them is… that book. Ethics aside, the thing that irked me the most was that they would allow something so poorly edited to be published. There's still a slightly bad taste in my mouth, but knowing they aren't publishing more fanfics, and knowing your experiences, it does make me feel better.

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    1. There have been a lot of changes in the company since then. They are able to do more now than they were able to when the company first began.

      I've noticed that a lot of major publishing houses are having a problem with copy editing. Sadly (and mistakenly, in my opinion) they're cutting editors as their budgets get reduced, and that means authors are doing more and more of their own editing. That's why so many mistakes are slipping through the cracks, even in books from major publishing houses.

      I've already been through the manuscript three times with one editor and now it's in the hands of a second editor. After I make whatever changes/corrections needed, it will go to a third editor.

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    2. Good to know. And yes, cutting the editors does not sound like a good idea. Although before I started writing, I probably wouldn't have noticed any errors unless they were glaringly obvious. So it's sad to think that the majority of the population wouldn't even notice.

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  2. I have purchased several items from TWCS and I am glad to hear that although you are publishing, it doesn't mean you are disappearing. Looking forward to more of your ff AND books.

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    1. Oh and the bottom line is YOU have to happy. The rest of us will just enjoy the ride.

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    2. I was chatting with someone a few weeks ago and they said that "Written in the Stars" would be like a memorial to me after I was gone.

      My reply was, "I'm going somewhere?"

      She was genuinely surprised that I wasn't leaving the fandom now that I'm published. And I was like, "People DO that?"

      So, I did some checking and discovered that some people might have left because their publisher forced them to do it. And some might not be able to cope with the increased workload. I would HOPE that there aren't people who would say, "See ya later, suckers!" as they bolt for the door, but I've heard rumors of people napalming their bridges.

      Anyway, my experience in the fanfiction world has been overwhelmingly positive and I don't want to leave that.

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    3. Hehehe. That caressing tail will never be forgotten. mmmmmmmhmmmmm. It's also why we are patient with Dark Goddess. It's like a slow burn, it will sneak up on you will never knew what hit you.

      Congrats hon. You are deserving and your fans will follow.

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  3. What an nice article to read. Thank you for writing amazing words and thank you for having faith in our publishing house.

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  4. Thank you for your words. You are inspiring me to keep at my writing. I have loved reading your FF. Thank you again!

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    1. That's lovely to hear. The best advice any writer can give (and get) is "Keep Writing!"

      I don't believe any writer ever truly masters the craft. If we're lucky and willing to learn from our mistakes, it's a life-long process of improvement, getting just a little bit better with every piece we produce. The only failed writers are the ones who reach a certain point and say, "I'm perfect just the way I am. And those who don't like it can lump it!"

      In fact, you just gave me an idea for a new article, so thanks for that!

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    2. I liked that article. I really have a hard time w/ wanting to write something perfect. I'm trying to let that go. So funny how I can encourage others to get better, yet expect myself to do it right the first time.

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    3. Sounds like you're a lot like me. I'm my own harshest critic.

      When I wrote the first draft of "Ghostwriter", I was rather unhappy with it. It took me much longer than usual because I agonized over every word. When I was writing "just for fun", I could produce between 4,000 and 6,000 words per day; with the manuscript, I was fortunate to get a third of that.

      I was over-thinking it. And worse, I KNEW it, even as I was writing. But I couldn't seem to help myself. With my second manuscript, I was able to loosen up a bit more and it went a lot quicker than the first one.

      The only thing I can advise is, "Write like it doesn't matter." Now, if I could only take that bit of advice myself ...

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  5. Great article. My experience has been the same so far. :-)

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