Yesterday I started a rant about publishing novels. I guess I only filled that word balloon halfway up with mad gasses and bull puckie. So it isn’t fully inflated with noxious opinions of publishing, indie publishing, and getting a book into print.
Having written a competent young adult novel that was well-reviewed by anyone who actually read it, I was faced with the question, “How do you get your work noticed to the point that more than just the members of your family will read it?” So, I took another of my decades-old manuscripts and transformed it into a contest novel. It was Snow Babies, the first of my Valerie Clarke novels. (That’s Val in the cover mock-up to the left above.) I entered it in the 2012 Chanticleer Book Reviews’ Dante Rossetti YA Novel Contest. I surprised myself by being one of eleven of the hundreds of contestants that made it to the final round of judging. Of course, it is a contest open to anybody who could write a novel-length glop of words and pay the entry fee. But the final round contained only those novels that could be actually considered viable for publication. While I didn’t win a prize in that contest or get the recognition that might bring, I had my novel confirmed as something worth getting published. So I vowed to find a publisher that would not charge me for the publication of my novel.
So this time I found myself working with a small press called PDMI Publishing LLC. They absolutely loved my novel and gave me a contract. I had high confidence that I would see the novel in print. And, as a business, PDMI actively worked not only on printing authors’ books, but on promoting and marketing them, putting in appearances at various Comicons and Dragoncons and other nerdy Con-cons. They even owned their own bookstore at one point. They assigned me an editor, Jessie Cornwell from Seattle, and she was a delight to work with, bringing insight and wisdom into the development of my work. But one small problem developed. Just as my novel became fully edited and ready for the next step, the whole publishing company broke down and went out of business. It was sad. So many, including me, had invested a large portion of themselves into the whole novel business; writing, editing, printing, and marketing. So many were left scrambling with their hopes and dreams spilling out of the bicycle basket of PDMI after the bicycle crashed into a wall. I completely lost touch with my editor, so I couldn’t even offer her money that I didn’t have to pay her with anyway for her wonderful work. Something else had to come along to keep my dreams of putting Snow Babies into the dreams of the reading public truly alive.
By now you have probably come to the unpleasant conclusion that there will be a Part 3 to this horrible rant. But for me, it is a good thing. It will contain the eventual solution I came up with, and will lead to a cold-comfort happy ending.