A Publishing Experience

Let me preface this particular blog before I get into it and before you spend the next few minutes reading it. This is purely a promotional blog. I’m just being honest. I hope that doesn’t turn you off from reading on, but if it does, I get it. Who wants to read about some small time writer’s accomplishments? Well, you, I hope. Before you click that X in the top right hand corner of your browser, let me say this: I’m not just going to promote my work in this. I mean, yeah, I’ll mention my work, but I want to talk about my experience.

Life is an experience, whether good or bad largely depends on situations and attitudes, and in many cases, in what others around us do, say and think. We can be as negative as we want to be when things go wrong. On the flip side of that we can have only positive things to say when things are going right.

This is the flip side of the coin.

On January 6th, my three novella collection, A Stitch of Madness, came out. The book was put out by Stitched Smile Publications, a newer company, one that states they are dedicated to putting the writer in the spotlight. Yeah, yeah, I know. Other publishers have said that. It’s an overused ruse to get writers to send their hard work to certain publishers who aren’t in it to help the writer. For a lack of a better phrase, it’s a tired trope that needs to be put to bed.

Sadly, many publishers have fallen down on this aspect. This is partially due to the fact that publishing books is a business. If you’re not making money you won’t be in the business of publishing very long. That’s the bottom line. Unless you have a bottomless wallet of greenbacks. Unfortunately, finding a happy medium between making money and promoting authors is difficult and few publishers find it.

When I was researching Stitched Smile Publications I went to their website and did a little reading up about them. This particular sentence intrigued me: We strive to bring the standard of Indie Publishing to a higher level of expectation.

That is a bold statement.

I read further on and came across this particular sentence:

For us, it’s all about a support system.

Hmmm…I was intrigued.

Then came this line on another page of the website:

If you’ve ever looked around for a publisher and thought that it was overwhelming, we invite you stop and take a look at us.

And that’s when I thought, why not? I had a book completely put together, one that I was going to self-publish and give away at festivals as prizes.

To make this long story a little shorter, I contacted them, sent them the submission (completely formatted), and not too long after, they sent me an e-mail, one stating they wanted to publish the work.

No lie here, I almost did the happy dance. If I had been standing, I probably would have. As it were, I said, “YES!”

Not too long after, a contract was sent, some discussion took place about it, and once both sides had a mutual agreement, it was signed and it was a done deal.

Okay, let’s stop here for a moment. This is where so many things often go wrong in the publishing world. At this point, the publisher could have sat on the manuscript or not had much contact with me for a while about it. It could have been a sit and wait situation. It could have been one of those situations where ‘we need to make a lot of changes on this,’ and where the publisher tried to make it their own style of work or make changes without my consent.

It was none of those.

Instead, they began the editing phase almost immediately. Then a meme appeared on Facebook about the book. Then a video trailer appeared. Yes, a video trailer. All of this happened within the first week of signing the contract. That brings us to that first quote:

We strive to bring the standard of Indie Publishing to a higher level of expectation.

 Let me continue to be honest here. One of the reasons two of my three published books were self-published is I had seen on many occasions how writers had been, again, for a lack of better term, screwed over by small presses and big ones, too. Though my first book was put out by a small press and the experience was good, I wanted to try it myself and not try to find another publisher who would try to put forth the effort, especially after the one I pubbed with went out of business. Several well-known small presses also lost their minds along the way and put their writers in a bad place, thanks to a bit of greed and overextending of themselves. The more I read about them, the less I wanted to do business with them.

Stitched Smile Publications jumped in feet first to publish my book. I talked with someone on their staff every day from the middle of October through the book release. Let me repeat that: I talked with someone on their staff EVERY DAY from the middle of October through the book release.

Then the cover art came. I had a quibble about part of it, then a quabble about something else. The changes were made. When my wife said, ‘Wow’ I knew we had a winner.

But wait. It didn’t stop there. Next came an online cover release party, which generated interest, not only in the book, but in me and my other work. Then came the book release party. Holy cow. I couldn’t keep up. Still, there was more. The day A Stitch of Madness came out another trailer appeared out on the interwebs. It was all sorts of creepy goodness.

Still, there is more. I appeared on Zombiepalooza Radio, a show I have listened to several times in the past. That was nothing short of awesome and fun.

That leads me to quote number two from above:

For us, it’s all about a support system.

 Yes, yes it is. So far, from what I have seen and experienced, I can’t argue with that statement.

So, that brings me to the third and final quote I pulled from the website (all with permission):

If you’ve ever looked around for a publisher and thought that it was overwhelming, we invite you stop and take a look at us.

I’ve often felt this way. It’s paralyzing. It’s difficult. It’s also discouraging. You see, writers tend to pour themselves into their work. Sure, some of them just pound on the keys and vomit up whatever is in their heads (and sometimes that regurgitation is actually pretty good). But many writers put so much into the writing and storytelling that it physically hurts when something bad happens to their work, whether it is being rejected over and over again, or being accepted only to be treated like a number (or a dollar sign) or being put on the back burner and not seeing anything happen with their work for months or years. To put it nicely, that sucks.

Here is the thing that I think many publishers forget: without the writers, they have nothing to publish. Taking care of the writers should be the most important aspect of their endeavors. Yeah, make money. By all means. Like I said, if you don’t make money, you don’t last as a publisher for long.

Here’s a couple of secrets about writers and what we want in a publisher:

  • We want them to respect our work and our ideas, to listen when we have a suggestion, and to offer thoughts and advice if they think we are wrong (in other words: don’t just shoot us down without considering what we want).
  • We want a publisher who will work as hard as we do on putting out a good product, not just for themselves, but for us and the readers, as well (in other words, we want someone who will partner with us to put out brilliance).
  • We want someone who will help us market our work, not expect us to do it ourselves.
  • We want a publisher we can trust.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

We want an experience that we won’t forget, and we want it to be a good one. So far, that is what I have received with my partnership with Stitched Smile Publications. Does it sound like I’m tooting their horns for them? Well, I am. I am happy with all of their efforts, for the communications we have had. I’m happy that they worked as hard as I have to get this book out and make it as good as we could make it. I’m happy with my publishing experience.

Until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.

[[END NOTE (and yes, this is pimping my work shamelessly): If you would like to get your hands on a copy of A Stitch of Madness, you can find it on Amazon, both for the Kindle and in print by following this LINK. END OF END NOTE]]

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