Friday, August 10, 2012


Over the last several months, as e-publishing has picked up pace and become, more and more, a viable way for a writer to get work to readers, debates have sprung up. There's even been some rancor, as some writers are bitterly opposed to e-publishing and want only paper books. Other writers sneer at the paper book camp and swear e-publishing is the only way to go.

This is all mixed up with traditional publishing through an agent, publishing with a small press, and self-publishing. The latter is gaining respectability because of the greater ease of doing so, and the lure of profits without the middleman. The small presses are springing up in response to belt-tightening at the top, the Big Houses. It's all so intermixed.

I guess I'm on my way to being in all camps at once. I couldn't possibly argue for or against any of these methods. I'm trying all of them.

To explain, here's my situation:

(1) I'm currently working on a proposal for my agent (Kim Lionetti of BookEnds) that she hopes to sell to one of the traditional New York guys, Berkley. If and when that happens, you are going to hear screams of joy from one happy camper down here in Hubbard, TX (near Waco, if you've never heard of it--and I'd be shocked if you had).

(2) Just yesterday, a small press, Barking Rain Press, accepted the first novel in my Cressa Carraway series. This book has been a long time coming and I'm ecstatic that it's seeing the light of day. The tentative schedule in my contract is awesome and a book should happen very soon. This is my second experience with a small press. The first one gave me my first shot at being published in novel form and also enabled my Agatha nomination for that book. Talk about over the moon!

(3) When I left that first publisher, who had never taken the e-book rights for some reason, I was able to redo and self-publish the same book(CHOKE), then self-publish the second in the series (SMOKE). I intend to get the third one, BROKE, out in October. This has been terrific fun, being in complete control of the text and the cover, and being able to check numbers, raise and lower prices, and give copies away on blogs.

(4) To muddy the waters, I'll bring up my digital-only publisher, Untreed Reads. I have some things published with them and some of my self-published works distributed there. This is enabling my work to reach way more people than I could get to on my own, especially libraries.

All good experiences! I've refrained from using many, many exclamation points above, but I was tempted. I'd say every form of publishing had its downside and its upside. Since I'm so new to all of it, having just been published now in novels for a bit over a year, it's hard to end up endorsing or recommending any one way. I know I'll continue to bang on all the doors I can find.

I'd highly encourage writers who are trying to break in to decide what would fit for them, then go for it. Self-publishing, of course, gives you the greatest control and requires the most work. The traditional route gets you onto book shelves not otherwise accessible. Small press, being the middle ground, will do you edits and covers for you and gets you onto bookshelves if you work at it, but doesn't give you complete control.

I hope these descriptions and explanations are some help to some fellow writers. If you have any questions for me, I'll be more than happy to try to answer them. So many writers have helped me along the way!

Author Web site:
Author's Den


Peg Brantley said...

Kaye, congratulations on all of your achievements. It's an exciting time to be a writer, and you're not letting any stone go unturned.

Way to go!

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Great points in your blog post, Kaye. You go girl! I don't think there is only one way to go, anymore.

Anne K. Albert said...

Great post, Kaye. What shines through for me is your positive approach to all of these venues. Sure there are downsides to each, but you've managed to maintain a level of excitement for the different processes,and that's palatable. As is your joy of writing! Thank you. :)

Ramona said...

I have a question: When do you sleep?

All good news, and well-earned, Kaye. It's lovely to see your career take off in so many directions.

Warren Bull said...

I would love to have a contract with a major publisher. Like you I've self-published and worked with small presses and e-books publishers. All Hail Untreed Reads. I've also got some stories with an audio publisher. I'm not going to knock any alternatives. I expect many or even most writers will have a mix of publishers. Having options is wonderful.

Warren Bull said...

I, too have had a variety of publishers; small paper, e-publishers, audio and self. I'd love to have a major publisher. All have been positive and I don't feel to need to knock any alternatives. Having options is great.

Warren Bull said...

I been published by small presses, e-publishers, an audio publisher and myself. I'd love to have a major publisher. All experiences have been positive and I like having options. I'm not knocking any alternative.

Kaye George said...

Warren, I forgot about Sniplits. I do have a short story there, but would like to have more. Ramona, sleep is for wimps.

Thanks, everyone, who has stopped by. And thanks to Patti for having me. Great blog!

Sometimes I try to think what publishing will look like in 10 years, then I quit trying to do that.

jenny milchman said...

Kaye, BIG congratulations on the new series getting picked up, and best of luck with Berkley! Your post echoes what I've been sensing--that there is no one right path to publish, only the one that's right for a particular author and a particular book at a particular time.

Sharon Ervin said...

Kaye, I'm going to use your blog here to prepare an upcoming program for a Friends of the Library group. Many of the members are aspiring writers and want to know the direction publishing is going. I've tried to determine one direction and come up with all of those you describe so well in your blog. Thank you for the help. You put the directions succinctly, easy to follow. They will and I do appreciate it.

Kaye George said...

Amen, Jenny!

Sharon, that's wonderful to hear! On a related, BSP note, if your library group wants to do any of my books, I have discussion points available. In fact, I'm doing a presentation next month and another in November, both on CHOKE. I'd love to do more!

Gloria Alden said...

As soon as my granddaughter, a graphic artist gets my cover done, I'm going to try my hand at self publishing both in e-book and print. It's scary, but so many are doing it, I think I can, too. I know I may not sell as many books as if I were traditionally published, but I like the freedom of less pressure from a publisher over selling a certain amount of books or be dropped from their list.

Kaye George said...

I think a writer has to decide this individually, and maybe for each project, Gloria. Good luck!