Tuesday, 11 November 2014

My Journey of Many Halves 2: Self Pub Sales and the Traditional Contract

So, The Hand is out.

First Quarter Sales are in.

Hm.

First Quarter sales are not what I expected. I've never done this before. I didn't really know what to expect. But I expected... more? I set my expectations low. I did it on purpose, so as not to be too disappointed. And I priced it cheap. 99c. It was good. I know this. But even my lowest expectations had been limbo'd under.

So what went wrong?

Lesson 2: Books don't "just sell", and people owe you nothing. "Why should you buy my book?" That was what hit me in the face.

So I'd done something wrong. Clearly.

But I put it behind me. No problem. I did some research. "Write part two," it said, "then make part one free. The sales will roll in..."

So I start on part two. But, meanwhile...

The Human Condition: A collection of short stories.

It had been sitting at a publishing house for a while and I got an email. It said something along the lines of "congratulations" and had a contract attached.

A CONTRACT.

The turn over time wasn't bad. I had only waited a couple of months. Things were looking up. I mean, very up. I knew how to self publish successfully (in theory, anyway), and traditional publishing had knocked on the door.

I was going to be a famous author.

I opened the contract. I started reading. Like I said before, I'm smart. How could this go wrong? Skip to the finances - the meat - percentages, copies, ebook release, etc. It all looked good. Signed and returned.

And Wait.

The contract was with a press that I had worked with previously with anthologies. I sort-of knew the owner.

It went into editing, and I was asked about a cover. What did I want? What should it look like? Here: I was given an artists mock up. It was good. I mean WILDEST DREAMS GOOD.

You couldn't stop me from bouncing off the ceiling.

Cover came in. OMG. It was awesome. Book comes out of editing. Waiting a place on the release schedule. Eep!

And then contact stops.

Um. Excuse me? I mean, I'm the next Shakespeare, right?

But it didn't just stop for me. Everyone seemed to be having problems contacting the press.

What was going on?

And that was that. Publicity started, ball rolling, I had started shouting "look at me", and then it disappeared. But I didn't know where.

Lesson 3: Understand your contract and what it means. The publishing house never went out of business, per se, The contract was still legally binding. I think. And that was the problem.

I'm no contract lawyer. I didn't know where I stood.

I didn't understand my contract.

I wanted to scream bloody murder, but it was my own fault. I've said it before. It was all on me. And then the months started to pass. I looked at my contract. I think I understood it. From my gathering I was tied for 5 years. I'd lost my book for five years. And to compound it? The publisher was in a different country to me. I didn't even understand the laws.

I was starting to feel sunk.

It was at this point I was at a low. Nothing selling. Work lost. But with a little help from my friends I continued.

My story wasn't finished. I have more to add.

And all the while the writing of my first novel Shutter Speed was coming to an end, and the novella collection was still out with publishers. I finished writing part two of The Hand.

Tomorrow: Two books in the series released, sales figures in, and market forces... what to do?


***





The Devil's Hand returns with old problems and new. Someone more powerful has escaped to Melbourne, and Darin still can't find those journals.

Follow The Hand as he struggles to find what is lost, whilst he uncovers something far greater than he could have imagined, something maybe even he cannot overcome...

Maybe the end of everything...

Conviction is part two of The Devil’s Hand series, a dark fantasy with spatters of humor and a dash of inter-dimensional romance.

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