Sunday, September 27, 2015

Trilogies and Madness

I can't believe that I'm about halfway finished with book # 3 in a series. It's my Screamcatcher YA fantasy (# 1) that started this nearly reckless journey. I've written sequels before--three in the past that didn't sell. That's because book # 1 never sold, so how did I expect to sell two as a package deal? I swore that I would never commit such a blunder and waste of time again.

Alas, lightning struck me again, leaving me addled and stupid. 

 My reason for the trilogy could be really misplaced and off track. But the original Screamcatcher was offered 10 contracts by small press independents in a span of 11 months. I made submissions after my agent gave it a huge round # 1 of subs to the majors. She turned me loose like an unchained barbarian and suddenly I was getting offers right and left. 

These offers put us in a mild shock. I say mild because we couldn't understand how NYC missed it, along with the medium-sized independents--and there were a lot of them. My agent agreed that digging even deeper and finding a large publisher was worth the effort for a round # 2. So it' going out again. Meanwhile, I thought if I got that kind of reception, surely I could write a sequel to it that was just as captivating and adventurous. 

To safeguard myself, I would make all the books stand-alones. The titles would all be different. There would be no "Book 1, Book 2 or Book 3 connotations. The characters would remain the same but the hooks, queries and synopses for each would be unique and unfamiliar. I did not want to make any obvious reference of any book to another. I would, however, make a subtle tie-in with all of them but it would not be blatant. I figured this stand-alone strategy would protect me from any of the book # 1 first rounds that were rejected by the big pubs. "Series" would not be mentioned, until we had an offer on one of the books. Agent said, "Then we could reel them in for the other two." Agent agreed to this method.

I've never done this before. I had to have characters that could easily appear multiple times and solve multiple paranormal mysteries--kind of like a Ghostbusters without the humor. I would call it the Badlands Paranormal Society. There's a lot of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in it too, and a rash of other similar ghost cop books.

This is probably the most difficult project I've had in 27 years. I don't even know if I've grabbed the golden ticket or wasted a lot of precious time.I only know that I've constantly seen series books sell like hotcakes, even though many or most of them have been written by A-list authors. 

Have you written a trilogy or larger series? How has it worked for you? Was it any easier sell? If you have an agent, did he or she encourage this journey of madness?

It's a little daunting when you fuss and fret over a single book. We all know that feeling. I'm praying, heaving buckets of fairy dust in the air, and throwing kegs of salt over my shoulder. I'm wondering if this is the biggest mistake I've ever made in my writing life. I keep saying to myself, STAND-ALONE, STAND-ALONE, STAND-ALONE, in the hopes that my writing career won't be dashed to bits.

Until next time...



Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Retrospect of Name Authors

Keep in mind that the source/research of this blog post was the free edition of Publisher's Marketplace. The membership edition might very well contain many more debut authors. I only wonder why the free edition is so skimpy when it comes to new authors or small independent publishers. Where are we little guys in the scheme of things? Please keep in mind:

I'm not as jealous as I am mystified.

No sour grapes. Just a lot of questions and curiosity.

John Scalzi's thirteen books - 10 adult and three YA titles - to be published over the next 10 years, for 3.4 million dollars, which includes a new far-future space opera series, as well as more in the Old Man's War universe and sequels to 2014's Lock In, again to Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor, by Ethan Ellenberg at Ethan Ellenberg Agency (world English).

John Scalzi is a well-known and established best selling science fiction author, who tends to get loads of film options. His reading public is more than loyal; they’re rabid and always coming back for more. I truly wonder why Tor has dug so deeply into its pockets to single out this author, when that outlay of cash could support a dozen exceptional authors for the same workload, even though it’s a ten year contract. Do the yearly math income on this one. It’s pretty astonishing.   
NYT bestselling author Dale Brown's ON THE EDGE, to Henry Ferris at William Morrow, in a two-book deal, by Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (NA).

Dale published eleven best sellers in 11 years. But I wonder if his track record had more to do with his offer than the quality of his storytelling. Sorry, but I just wonder if his contract signing is on full automatic. If I remember correctly, for example, Jean M. Auel’s last book received some of the worst reviews ever on Amazon. It took her 31 years to get to The Land of Painted Caves. Her 1-star reviews eclipsed her 5-stars. Her 2-stars beat out her 4-stars. Was she published for her name’s sake, with editors overlooking the unsubstantial repetition and clumsiness of her manuscript? In her credit, she’s still in the top 100 best selling Amazon lists.      
NYT bestselling author J. Kenner's untitled new erotic romance trilogy, featuring a bad boy hero with a tortured past and the one woman who is absolutely forbidden to him, again to Shauna Summers at Bantam Dell, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring 2016, by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).
Film/TV: Brandy Rivers at ICM

I’m seeing a NYT bestselling author again. This is a planed trilogy that hasn’t been titled yet. Are all the books finished or will they be purchased on an outline? Just saying, if the books are sold on spec it’s kind of a gamble, wot? Or does it even matter? Uh, what’s a bad boy hero anyway? I’m a little confused on that one. And, okay, for some reason this blurb smells a little like 50 shades.
The NYT bestselling author of The Southern Reach Trilogy Jeff VanderMeer's BORNE, about a scavenger who discovers a mysterious creature she longs to keep despite her companion's warnings and her own reservations, but is it animal, plant, company discard, biotech, cruel experiment, dinner, deity, or a source of spare parts, again to Sean McDonald at Farrar, Straus, by Sally Harding of The Cooke Agency.
UK/ANZ rights to Nicholas Pearson at Fourth Estate (World).

NYT bestselling author again. This story sounds like a mash up of fantasy, horror and science fiction. I think it’s uncommon or not very likely that a very large publisher buys a book that has no real genre. Aren’t those types of books more welcome and appropriate for the small or independent presses who willingly gobble up crossed genres? Hence, its category of General/Other.  
Children's: Middle Grade
Chelsea Clinton's IT'S YOUR WORLD: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!, to "inspire readers to realize that they can start making a difference now, in their own way, for their family, their community, and our world," covering a range of issues from poverty to gender equality, for readers ages 10 to 14, to Jill Santopolo at Philomel, for world English publication on September 15 (world).

“Chelsea Clinton is adding a new title to her ever-growing resume: author!”

Uh, whoopteedo!
“The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will release her first book this coming fall.”
Is this her full resume? 
“The 35-year-old's book will aim to explain issues such as poverty, climate change, and more to children between the ages of 10 and 14.”

Sorry, but I’m just wondering in what context does she have the resume and professional background to write about paucity and climate change? She comes from a very astute and wealthy upbringing, which I think renders her under qualified to write about real poverty. I don’t believe she has a degree in any core science related to climate change. An unknown author would be required to have a degree or voluminous writing credits in either of these fields of study, regardless if it is meant for young teens. This one pisses me off, mainly because her parents have seen more print entitlement than a score of biblical authors. Hillary’s Hard Choices nabbed 14 million up front, with a first printing of one million copies by S&S. The book lost 50% of its sales in the third week and kept foundering. Like daughter like mother?   

Conclusion: celebrity author.   
Children's: Young Adult
Robin Roe's A LIST OF CAGES, a debut pitched as being in the tradition of Perks of Being a Wallflower, told from the alternating perspectives of a charismatic 17 year old with ADHD and his foster brother, a sensitive boy in an extraordinarily dangerous living situation that he must save him from at all costs, to Stephanie Lurie at Disney-Hyperion, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Peter Steinberg at Foundry Literary + Media.

No complaints here. Robin is truly a debut author—THE ONLY ONE IN THE BATCH! This book was also an auction property for a two-book deal. Bravo, and Hooray for our side!
NYT bestselling co-author of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series and author of THE LEGION series, Kami Garcia's THE LOVELY RECKLESS, pitched as "The Fast and the Furious" meets Romeo & Juliet in a YA contemporary romance about the daughter of an undercover cop who falls for the car thief her father is pursuing, to Erin Stein at Imprint, for publication in Fall 2016, by Jodi Reamer at Writers House (NA).

No big complaint here, except seeing that NYT bestselling tag again.

Herman Wouk's SAILOR AND FIDDLER: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, Herman Wouk turns 100 on May 27, 2015, the first part of the memoir ("Sailor") refers to Wouk's Navy service during World War II and how those experiences informed his classic war novels, such as The Caine Mutiny; the second part ("Fiddler") refers what he's learned from living a life of faith, to Jonathan Karp at Simon & Schuster, for publication in December 2015, by Amy Rennert of the Amy Rennert Agency (World).

Herman Wouk is another celebrity author, but of advanced age. I wonder if Simon & Schuster wanted to cash in on or exploit this author while he was still alive. I’m curious about intentions here. Still, Wouk deserves any type of publication, to be sure.

“Barbra Streisand's memoir, called ‘honest, enlightening, and revealing’, that will share memories of her childhood; explore her extraordinarily successful career on stage, screen, and in the recording studio; and reflect on her life,’ as she is ‘finally going to tell her own story,’ to Rick Kot at Viking (which published her design book), for publication in 2017, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly (world).”

Another celeb author writing about her memoirs. This book was probably highly anticipated, but I wonder about the cash that went over the table for this one. I do think Barbara deserves the financial outlay and credits for this manuscript. Yet, I didn’t see the title to this and wonder, given the lengthily publication date, if it was bought on outline/spec. I still love her music!   
New Yorker writer and editor Roger Angell's THIS OLD MAN, a compendium of writings that celebrate the view from the tenth decade of his richly-lived life, gathering essays, letters, photos, comic verse and drawings which in aggregate present a kaleidoscopic portrayal of a deeply engaged and vibrant life, including the National Magazine Award-winning title essay, to Bill Thomas at Doubleday, at auction, by Amanda Urban at ICM.

No major complaints on this one. Just an irritating itch. Angell has reached his 10th decade, an accomplishment in itself. Yet I shun the thought that there’s any ambulance chasing going on here. We have another such name author of advanced age upstream.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Self-Publishing on the Rampage

Take a gander at this Author's Earning Report: It's a mind-blower.

Big 5 Amazon bestsellers fell 26% in the last quarter. At the same time, self-published ebooks shot up to 44%. Those are insane numbers--not wholly expected by anyone! Ebooks account for 1/4 of  of all the Amazon bestseller lists combined. A quarter! Major publishers have 14% of those lists. 

Take a look at the graphs and line charts. They're very revealing and more than likely very accurate. 

The Big ebook unit sales have plummeted another 18%. This seems to have resulted, or is a direct cause of the return to agency pricing. Sales are drastically impacted for the Big legacy publishers. Self-published authors are squeezing into and taking over that lost market share, with an increase in daily revenue of 12.4% as of Jan 2015. This whole agency ball of wax has meant decreased sales for authors, lofty prices for consumers and lower sales for publishers. This gap has been filled by self-published authors. This happened because many campaigned for publishers, so they could get their way. The Big 5, it appears, made a foolish and unexpected blunder.

Declining publishers resulted in 20 cents profit on each dollar, as opposed to 52.5 cents on ebooks. Author earings were 8-15 cents per dollar verses 17.5 cents for eboooks. At these higher ebook prices, the large and medium sized publishers are responsible for a lesser amount of books that get read and sold for the authors. The number of books on the bestseller lists spiraled downward 26%. No new fans were eager to pick up the rest of a series or even the next standalone title by the most popular bestselling authors.

It's now very evident that pricing control is astoundingly powerful The A-List publishers and the biggest retailers are in a squabble and fight for this power. Authors who like to have complete control over their pricing, avoiding the entanglements of the huge publishers and retailers, are given a very clear message:
SELF-PUBLISHERS WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE MARKET SHARE FROM THOSE FRUSTRATED READERS. They'll do this every quarter, with basically no constraints or competition. Self-published authors will have, and do have complete control over their careers.

Summation: Greed is doing in the Big Five and all those big independents who followed in raising their prices to fit their bloated needs. The average Big Five ebook is around $10, while the self-published authors have titles ranging from $3 to $3.50. Quality, bestsellers, coupled with high prices does not guarantee increased sales. Could it be that the huge publishers feel vastly superior over all other publishers and publishing methods? Kind of looks that way, doesn't it? 

I've only self-published one title myself. With this kind of Author Earnings Report news, I'm going to self-publish all my out-of-print back-list titles for a start. I also have some new stuff that deserves to hit Amazon, and I found a trustworthy publishing service that can handle any phase of the task. Their team resumes are more than impressive. 

I'm a complete dolt when it comes to editing, proofreading, formatting and creating cover art. You might check them out and see what I mean. Any author thinking of self-publishing at this time or in the future would be wise to read their website and then shoot them an email.

New Standard Publishing Group:

Take care. And take all the money you deserve for your hard work.



Saturday, May 2, 2015

Has Your Small Press Sales Dumped?

I don't want to offend anyone. And I don't think my opinion is written on gold tablets and from upon high.

I truly believe, after exhausted investigation of my gradual sales slump to nothing, and given the fact that I am a relentless and heavy promoter (for all my books) who belongs to nearly 30 sites and writing groups, it is my opinion that the readership or fan base has switched in a huge way from small press to self-publishing.

The self--pubbed author population is incredibly huge now and growing by leaps and bounds every day. They are close-knit--almost a rebel faction. They loyally support each other. They make many, if not most, book purchases withing their own group: It would not surprise me that the majority of them buy from each other exclusively. I'm a self-published author BTW, and it allowed me to tune in on all discussions at the most exclusive self-publishing sites. And I'm rather proud of my tiny self-publishing company!

Back to bidness...

Just one example of their camaraderie: Look no further than the Kindle Boards to see a massive population of self-published authors who are making fairly decent wages across the board for dozens of non-fiction books--shorts, poetry, novellas and novels. Most of their sales numbers hose the average small press right out of contention because their royalties are so much higher than what a small press could offer.

They have a vested interest in promotion and marketing because everything falls on their shoulders. They are damn good at selling their brands. They discuss various and unique tactics for selling books (ways you've never heard of before) and gathering more readers than any other group of authors I've ever seen.

Is it at all possible that self-publishing has affected commercial publishing? This could be a tie-in factor. Well, the Big Five juggernauts simple try to buy up the most popular self-published authors who have best selling status and miraculous breakouts. They watch Wattpad, Booksie and other display sites for huge page views and followers. Both of these (share your writing) sites are responsible for launching some ginormous best sellers that have gone on to hit the wide screen.

Twilight, The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades really stood out as success stories. Where are the small press movie contracts? What can we boast about? Selling 75 to 150 copies in the lifetime of the book? I do believe all of these movie deals came from self-published authors in some form or another. I could be wrong, and then I could be leaving many others out too.

Small press does not have the financial means to pull in a best-selling self-published author. And many, if not most, self-published authors view small press contracts as a joke. I'm talking about the diehards here. BTW, this faction includes hybrid authors who publish in both venues--they are, for the most part, neutral in their views but very supportive of self-publishing. However, the big money motivates and dominates because the self-published sales figures that I've see don't lie. The line between the best-selling outliers and the medium to heavy sellers is starting to blur.

I can't say that I blame them at all. Many of them view commercial publishing as biased and unfair. Many of them have suffered years and years of writing with no recognition/contracts from agents or publishers. Zip. I know that feeling. Been there done that with nearly 4,000 rejections spanning 27 years.

I've heard the term "The "O-niners" bandied about in the self publishing forums. It appears as 09ers as well. In 2009 self publishing really started to make a huge impact on the industry. It started to come on really strong, and those that got in on it at that time are sitting very pretty right now. Really, some astonishing sales numbers! Their worst writers and tepid sellers smoke my book sales. They've also blown away to shreds my grand prize winner. And I've been told by dozens of people that I have one of the most beautiful covers in the industry.

The self-published motto is write one book after another 'til hell won't have it, and when you're done with that, write more books and stories, only faster.

When media or publishing professionals say the industry has changed or is rapidly transitioning, they primarily mean the e-book phenomenon. But right on its tail is the ravenous self-publishing trend and there are not too many commercial publishers willing to admit that they have taken some lumps because of it.

It was less than a year ago when I saw all my books and shorts slump and go to zero. I had been selling 2--3 books or stories a week for a very long time. I've also seen this with other small press authors who wrote fantastic books and wonderful series.

Don't get me wrong, we do have some very successful small presses and independents out there that have dug in their heels and come out shinning. Entangled, Bookatour, Poisen Pen, Story Plant and many more notables. Start up small presses today are nearly obliged to suffer doom if they don't have pro experience and don't know what they're doing.

Anyway, there might be a number of other factions that have slowed comercial sales in the past few years. And combined with self-publishing and its popularity, it could account for this slump that I see. If someone were to tell me that this was a flash-in-the-pan or a temporary trend, I would ask them where the upswing was.

I'm not blaming small press for all of this. I just think is has had an enormous influence. Phuck, I admire the hell out of them. I think they are going to gain more and more ground and swing additional readership in their direction.

Now, take this overview with a case of salt. It might help if anyone were to reveal that their sales have mysteriously slowed or stalled out. Not holding my breath, because such admittance is rather embarrassing. But if you have, then investigate and see what you come up with. I would be glad to hear any other theories. I don't mind trying to answer further questions on the matter.

Read this report. It's staggering in it's implications about the future of the book industry. I couldn't quite wrap my head around it, and didn't believe it at first.


ETA, Summation: Self-publishing has taken, and will take a huge amount of market share without doing it vindictively. Many of the self-published authors are teenagers or NAs, and they're like kids in a candy store, both in a reading and writing sense.

Ya know, I wish I felt that way.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Picking a Decent Publisher--Part Two.

 Below is a comment from a concerned writer about publisher picks:

My longer fiction is reserved for genre publishers my agent and I trust, after seeing their longterm performance.

My comments and experience:

Yes, mine too. She definitely storms the doors of the large, well known commercial publishers and independents. However, my agent (when it comes time) must diligently work a small press contract with much more scrutiny than the larger pub houses. It's because there is so much variation in small press contracts. I've seen 7.5% net on paperbacks and 20% net on e-books, with others offering slightly higher royalties. Heh, this is an outright holdup.

Some e-book publishers actually insist that the author do ALL the formatting of the book, e-book and paper, for retail placement. And they claim that an author is responsible for supplying the blurbs--front and back matter. Some small press owners are the sole editors of the book because they cannot afford outside professionals.

Some will not make an expenditure for copyright, leaving that to the author.

Others SPs want World Rights for the life of the book or for unusually long contract durations, like six, eight or 10 years

I actually think that my small press credit history, which is very sizable, hurts my chances for larger deals because after reviewing my stats for any given book they show lackluster or even close to non-existent sales. In the eyes of NYC publishers I've tanked with every one of my books and their risk of publishing me are much higher. And if you don't believe that a large house won't do a deep probe on your publishing history, you have another thing coming.

A small press publisher might make some money if their author stable comprises 30 to 50 (I've seen triple digit) individuals who sell in low but consistent numbers. It adds up because the emphasis is on quantity. This is where you approach or end up in an author mill. Mundania is a prime example of a publisher who has an excess of authors, while they do not invest in any significant marketing or promotion. With the profits Mundania has made over the years there has been no attempt at legitimate distribution outside of the Internet. I know dozens and dozens of these small publisher types.

Distribution is critically important for the success of a book, along with submissions to important and well known review sources that have large and influential readership bases.

I am relatively stuck in the small chasm for a few titles. They've come to the end of their agent sub trail. For 16 contract offers over a year for both books, 14 of them have been kicked to the curb. The highest advances won out. This might tell you something about the quality and fairness of their contracts.

Advances say something about a publisher--they are equally, if not more invested in the sales of your book. Royalty only publishers claim that they pay no advances because they offer the highest royalty rates, which is habitually untrue because these percentages are all over the map and most of them are on Net proceeds which can vary in the extremes and conditions.

Small press publishers might give wings (so to speak) to a breakout book while they leave the majority of birds languishing in the nest.

Small press has a terrible time managing their money and paying their editors and cover artists a decent wage for work performed. Many of them are late on royalty payments when the retail numbers have been turned in. Lots of small presses flat-out fold within a year or two. Some can go for several years and then have a catastrophic meltdown, filing for chapter 13 and tying up copyright by failing to provide reversion.

Is there any wonder why self-publishing has skyrocketed in the past five-six-seven years or so?

In short, small press must shine and have, at least, nearly all their ducks in a row. Then comes some notoriety. An expanded readership base results--and this translates to sales. It IS all about money, to keep a publisher afloat and their stable of authors happy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Picking a Decent Publisher

I don't think I have to mention any of the Big Five giants out there. They always have some type of legitimate distribution, like APG, IPG, Midpoint Trade, Consortium and others. These distributors actively represent publishers and send or hand deliver publisher catalogs, especially new releases. The Big Five and all their imprints usually get some book shelf stocking because they can afford the price of a legitimate and effective book distributor who contacts the stores and chains directly. They also have personal sales teams that directly solicit used and privately owned book stores. Their publicity departments can be quite huge and involved, in seeking out TV air time, radio and national and local newspapers and review persons. For that reason, we'll concentrate on the small and medium presses which might not have these amenities.

On a side note: If you get an offer from a ginormous publishing house, breathe into a paper bag, throw your shoulders back and smile. You've accomplished something incredible.

Small press publishers are usually start-ups by mom and pop operations. They can be started by author and writer group ventures, self-publishers or even birthed by editors. There is a finite limitation on what they can provide. For the most part, small press publishers don't require agents (although it not uncommon for some of them to welcome one), don't provide advances and have a very limited publicity department or even none at all. They rarely, if ever have any hard distribution behind their books and must rely heavily on the author's sales participation. Some small presses might buy ads, sponsor and arrange books signings, blog tours, video presentations, reviews and inclusion in a few or many online distributors. 

If a small press publisher spends money or goes to extraordinary lengths to spotlight a book, it is called "marketing." Anything else by the author is considered promotion, unless the author spends money on banner and placement ads, sponsors their own book signings (buying the books) or gives lectures at meeting halls or libraries that allow the title to be sold there. BTW, don't expect tons of sales at a book signing if you are new to the game or not a heavy seller with multiple break-outs. You can reasonably expect to sell a 12 to 15 books for your first outing--more if you have a huge friend, family, coworker and relative base. You might unload 30 books in that case.

If you can find a small press that provides hard distribution to book stores and offers an advance, which could be a token $100 up to $2,000, you should submit to them first. They are highly sought after and very popular. They usually have huge fan and readership bases. Many of them are award winners. Most of them have glowing sales stats on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and the like. They may frequently land in the top 10 or top 100 consistently. 

Some of these lofty small presses or medium houses can require an agent, so find out about that up front. An agent can work miracles with a publisher that has worked with agents in the past. It is not unusual for an agent to get a $500 or more advance from a plain, ordinary small press publisher--this has happened to me. If the publisher wants the book bad enough, or several offers have come in, they'll buckle and come up with the cabbage. But an offer will have to earn out before getting any royalites. 

Evaluate a small press by the number of years they have been in business. Two to three years is a fairly good indicator that they've survived the hardships and weathered any financial storms. But not always. A seven to 10 year longevity record is much better.  Although they can fold up at any time for any reason. Check out their website hits for very high numbers--in the millions would be considered fantastic.  Low thousands or hundreds indicates a lack of presence. If nobody visits their site and knows about them, they won't know about you.

How many books do they have? Are they an "author mill" that grinds out a dozen or more books a month and have a huge backlog? If they are, they should be avoided--they don't have the time or finances to spend on promoting or marketing any title. They make money with hundreds of books in the stream while the individual author suffers because of small or non-existent sales. Google their name. Do they appear on multiple Internet distribution sites? If they appear on six or more, they are doing their job in bang-up fashion in getting the word out. Three or four online distributors is about average across the board.

Negotiate the contract if you don't have an agent. Don't shy away from putting a red line through any clause or confusing phrase that seems like a rights grab. If they are an e-book only publisher, why would they want the rights to POD (print on demand) or mass-market paperback? Don't sign all your rights away--especially world rights covering all foreign countries. All publishers, great and small, benefit by having you sign fast, and sign fast on a non-negotiable or boilerplate contract. If you find a publisher that won't budge--walk. Put out some more queries and play the field some more. You don't have to take what you don't like or understand. 

It goes without saying that you and your publisher/editor should click and at least like each other. little disputes over cover art, editing and marketing is not a good starting point in a relationship with a publisher. Don't make things hard on them--their job is difficult enough--they're dealing with many authors just like you. Open your ears and listen. Keep your yapper from interrupting or crowding the conversation. Your editor/publisher just might have something very vital and important to say. Learn from them; you'll use that knowledge with future publishers. Praise and support your publisher in the world of ether. Try to avoid smearing their name in public venues. We all have our little quirks and ticks, and sometimes things just don't work out. Attempt to be civil in all your correspondence. And for gawd's sake be patient. 

Don't publish with a small press house because you are smitten with the process and the promise of holding a book in your hand. Forget about bragging rights with an e-book publisher. There are hundreds of thousands of authors out there who have signed with an e-book only small press. Although those hundreds of thousands of authors are not really competing with you directly, they sure are diluting the pool and making it harder for your book to be discovered in the vast sea of titles out there.

I have nothing against self-publishing--I've done it with a back list title. However, for a new book, understand that you will be responsible for formatting, editing and creating the cover art. You'll also be the sole promoter and marketer. If you have these resources and the energy, go for it--many small press and display site authors have hit the big time. But don't do it for this reason. Those authors that break sales records are the outliers. It very difficult to get that type of recognition and success.

The best way to increase your odds at acquiring a decent and well respected publisher is to seek out an agent. Always go the agent rounte first. If you've exhausted 30 or more queries without a bite, rework your query until your fingers bleed. A boring query that seems static and familiar is the surest way to get the agent boot. 

Whatever you decide, keep writing and enjoying the process. We are the creators and the dream makers.

Remember that:

A Writer is…
A humble, receptive student and negotiator
But the heart that beats within his breast
Is a determined savage
Unfamiliar with surrender