Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I'm An Author!
I'm having one of those days that makes me want to all hang it up. Writer's block you ask? Nope. Struggling with my characters? Nope.
I'm published at three small publishers. They are The Wild Rose Press, Wings and New Concepts Publishing. There's a war brewing in Romance Writers of America (RWA) right now, between the traditional brick and mortar NY houses and the small publishers. It's been brewing for years but I predict it will come to a head very soon. There are some in RWA that don't consider authors at small presses to be authors at all. Sad but true. Funny. We have to go through submissions, work with editors, struggle through edits, receive covers (and many of us at the small press can help design our cover art), receive release dates, do book signings at book stores like Borders and Barnes and Noble. By the way, it's a new trend among NY authors to spread the word to book store owners, telling them that small press books are NOT returnable. This has now happened to me twice by NY big house authors. I'm not sure if this misinformation comes from false rumors or what but it seems to be a sly tactic to force book sellers to refuse to work with us, invite us to signings or order our books. Untrue. Our books ARE returnable and our publishers DO offer discounts to book stores. I've had some wonderful signings at the following stores. Borders in Mesquite, Texas. Barnes and Noble in Hurst, TX. Borders in Plano, TX. Barnes and Noble in Lewisville, TX. Every single one of the managers were wonderful to work with and I look forward to working with them in the future.
My books are reviewed at the same houses as NY pubbed books. BTW, my main publisher, The Wild Rose Press is in New York too but they're small. So, they ARE a NY pub. Many authors and readers alike seem to think that a small press book is not a quality book. If this were true, small press books would not be winning awards right and left, up against big NY pubs. Liana Laverentz has won the very respectable NJRW Golden Leaf award two years in a row and she's been judged against NY pubbed books. I've been nominated for The Night Owl Romance Fall Awards and came in second place. I was nominated along with some big NY authors and the winner was a small press author, Mandy Roth. I've been nominated for Book of the Year at Long and Short Reviews, alongside NY pubbed authors.
Do the NY authors not realize this shift? The small press is in the game too and they're making head way. And now ebooks are making some serious money. Big publishers are finally taking notice, releasing many of their titles electronically as well. For a while, ebooks received zero respect. The big pubs noticed. Noticed the shift in reader dollars. It's the wave of the future. Like it or not. Small press is the wave of the future. Like it or not. My ebooks sell many more copies than my print books.
What's most disturbing is that some of my fellow authors refuse to look to the future, failing to recognize the small press author as an author at all. As if it's just a little hobby of ours. Some have even referred to small presses as vanity presses. Why don't we start calling the big pubs Vanity Presses? These are the snobs...yes, I said snobs....not all mind you...but I've met my share of NYT snobs that call the small press authors...well, nothing...they are the vain ones. We aren't true writers. We sold out to a small press. Calling the small press a stepping stone is one thing. Calling it a vanity press when authors pay zero dollars to get pubbed there and go through the same process as all authors is just plain WRONG and gives many small presses a bad name.
I go to my chapter meetings wearing a smile. In fact I do publicity for all the authors, even though some of them refuse to consider me an author. They're digging their own grave as far as I'm concerned. They're no different than movie stars snubbing television actors. Writing is our art. We're all writers. We're all authors and we should support one another. Those in RWA that refuse to do so are only sticking their heads in the sand. The future is coming. Change is coming. Ebooks are here to stay. Big pubs have now caught onto the rage. Small press is here to stay. Ever heard of monopoly? It exists in the book business and it's ugly. That's why small presses were created in the first place. No, not to put a bunch of crappy books on the shelf. We've all read crappy NY pubbed books too. There are good and bad books at both kinds of houses. It's time we all stand up and unite. Those stuck in the mud can sink for all I care.