Let’s slip back into the time stream as smoothly as possible here. I can rant, and get all lovey, and even wax philosophical from time to time; but I always bring it back around.
I had published my first book when Dawn and I came back into each other’s lives. I had hand-written my second book, the first installment in the ‘Walking Between Worlds’ trilogy. I thought I needed her to get it typed up, and find the right publisher. I thought she needed to keep focusing on the route I had learned about in books. I knew I wanted her to be my partner in life; I thought I needed her to be an assistant of sorts when it came to my books. Yeah, I was wrong about a bunch of things. Luckily, she wasn’t afraid to tell me so.
Dawn explained how the publishing world had changed, and was still changing. She had researched all the things I brought up to argue about, and put them down one by one. It would cost more to put out a quality product than it was costing folks to put out crappy products, but not as much as going to another publishing house. Also, there’s no middleman to take a cut every time we sell a book. That’s good news for any artist, especially one whose middleman has little or no interest in marketing the product they are creating.
Then I got all curious, for another reason. What if we could figure this out and help other folks who are in the position I was in a couple years ago? What if we could act as facilitators instead of the proverbial middleman, helping publish and market great books and asking very little in return? We both thought it sounded like a great five or ten year plan, and Dawn went to work on it. Her first priority was getting the business set up. She told me to think of a name, and I had a sudden insight that caused me to come up with a logo as well. She did everything else, making us a legit publishing house so we could start publishing my books.
I wasn’t sold on ebooks yet, but Dawn was able to bombard me with new research yet again. Her next priority became getting ‘Stumbling Backasswards Into The Light’ into ebook format, something she had shown me she could do for far less than any publishing company was asking. I told her to go ahead, still a little skeptical. We were spending more money than ever, and still not making much in the way of sales; but it wasn’t half as much as we had been told publishing the next book would cost, and we were all set to do that ourselves now. Also, those sales were ours. That was nice.
In my defense, I wanted each book to be an instant giant hit. I might be the only author that needed a good humbling or three in the beginning, but I doubt it. I wanted to know why ‘Stumbling’ wasn’t making us rich, and why the first ‘Walking Between Worlds’ book was hardly selling either. I didn’t want to hear Dawn explaining what a narrow genre the first falls in, or that most readers don’t want to read a ‘Book I’ if they aren’t sure this new guy is going to follow it up. So I got to work on finishing the next book, telling her that I’d write blogs when I felt like it and that a newsletter sounded like a lot of work.
In her defense, she was starting from scratch in many ways. She was also dealing with my resistance, which can not always be easy. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s never easy. I should know; I’ve dealt with it more than anyone. A big shift came when I realized how much I was putting on her; I needed to help out staying on top of all this publishing news that was changing like the weather. I started doing research of my own, in places I knew she hadn’t had opportunity to explore. It only took a little while before I laid out a big apology, and told her what I had learned.
She was totally right. About everything. The publishing, the ebooks, the blog, the newsletter…I could go on. My focus shifted before she could get to the point where she was dreaming of stabbing me in my sleep (I hope), and we set to work paving the road together that she had been paving pretty much alone before. Providence moved, as it does, and we got the trilogy completed. Together. As she had predicted, we did better as more books came out. Something else had happened, though; something neither of us had foreseen.
We had gotten pretty good at this. The third book in the trilogy was written with more discipline and clarity, and more quickly than I had written anything before. The editing time kept getting shaved off, as I wrote with the previous edits behind me, and Dawn got to where she could format just about anything in a few days. Her reward to herself and the publishing company was also a reward for the SPCA, at this point. Dawn put together ‘Paws For A Tale’, and published it hot on the heels of the last ‘Walking Between Worlds’ book.
The next step for me was starting to type instead of write longhand. That, coupled with a writing program, put me in a place to follow up more on my end of things. It also freed Dawn of the last of her duties as my assistant. I had to apologize about that, too. It turns out that I didn’t need an assistant at all; I needed a partner. That partner has gotten one other book published, for an indie author from Northern California, and has helped a number of other authors with various aspects of their books. She has put us on the map in ways I didn’t think were in our reach or schedule, and she keeps coming up with more great ideas. Now we’re so busy we could each use an assistant. And, yeah; I’m learning to listen to her a little better. Finally.
Go, Sudden Insight Publishing! Go!
There are a great many things we still have to learn, of course; much of what we learned about last year is making this year way better. We’ll talk about publishing goals, and how important they can be for an author, next week.
Thanks for reading!