When I first published in December of 2012, I did it as an Amazon exclusive author, and I was pretty damned proud of myself. I published To Love A Selkie on December 18th, 2012, and I loved that Amazon's KDP made independent publishing so easy for me. I didn't want to give up the creative control of my writing, my characters, my titles, etc., to anyone. I didn't want to pay an agent to sell me to a publisher who wouldn't care about me as anything other than a dollar sign. I didn't want my work misrepresented by a publisher who didn't care about me as a new author because they could maybe make more on someone else. I didn't want book covers I didn't like. So I stepped out and did it myself. I wrote the story, I asked my cousin (who is a grammatical genius) to help me out with editing, and I talked to an old friend who was into graphic design about my book covers. I had a lot of help, but I loved being able to make all the final decisions about what did or didn't make it into the story, what the final length of the story was, and what the product looked like as it went out to you, my readers.
In the years since then, a lot of things have changed, and I've continued to embrace the independence offered to me as an independent author/publisher. With some informal training under my belt, I often design my own covers now - sometimes with input from other designers, and sometimes without. I write my own stories, sometimes with feedback from others, and sometimes without - but the stories with my name on them are mine, products of my own hard work and creative thinking. Once the project is done, it's not totally mine anymore - it goes to my editor and she helps me hunt down mistakes in the writing, missed words, sloppy errors, typos, and plot errors. When it comes back to me though, I'm glad to know that I decide what changes and what doesn't, what's good and what isn't, and which parts of the story I'm willing to stand with. Another thing that's changed is that I've grown comfortable trusting my own judgement.
One thing that hadn't changed in all this time though, was my relational loyalty to Amazon and it's KDP platform. I was proudly loyal to a company who made it so painless (relatively) for me to achieve my dream, and I remained loyal for some time even when I began to realize that my loyalty was hurting my ability to branch out.
However, by the end of 2013, I was already looking into non-exclusive options, by the end of 2014 I had two books on several different markets, and now I'm working on ending my exclusivity entirely. I'm not totally breaking up with Amazon though; they aren't perfect, but Amazon is home to me. Still, I want readers of all preferences to be able to access my books ... I don't want someone who is as loyal to Apple (or Kobo, etc.) as I am to Amazon missing out on my stories because my books aren't available to their market. Soon, my books will all be available everywhere. Well, almost everywhere (we'll talk about book rental services another time, maybe).
In the meantime ... beginning yesterday, Fat Chance ended its exclusive relationship with the Amazon market. While the book is still live on Amazon, it has also now made a successful Kobo debut. There's been a slight glitch with the Nook and iBooks uploads, but once that's settled, the first of the Kingsley Series books will be making a debut on those markets, too.
Throughout the month of October, I'll be uploading the second and third Kingsley Series books to the B&N, Kobo, and Apple book markets also, and then in November when More Than Friends releases, it'll be available to everyone.
I know this post is a little more bookish and a little less personal than usual, but I'm wrapping up More Than Friends, working on the Apple issue, and setting up for the extended market release of Prescription For Love, so I am totally rushed these days, and while it's a lovely kind of stress, it's still stress. Don't worry though, I'll be back to something personal soon, and I can't wait to finally share the More Than Friends release-day celebration with all of you!
Oh, and just so you know ...
- This year I'm going to be sending out Christmas cards for the first time! If you'd like to make sure you receive one, please add your mailing address to my mailing list. The list closes on November 1st though, so don't wait too long. You can find the form here.
- I'm also going to start choosing a random newsletter subscriber each month to receive a $5 Amazon giftcard!