Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saying "No"

Some of you undoubtedly read my tweet yesterday:

"I just turned down a book offer. Why?"

As I tried to explain in the subsequent tweetage, it was an offer on my first book. I wasn't sure I wanted it "out there". But there's more, of course.

The offer was from an e-book company (a very solid e-book publisher, I might add). When I subbed the book in the summer of 2009, the poor dear had gone through massive edits--maybe twenty rounds or more. It is my oldest child, the one who faces the parental missteps and unintentional abuses. I just wasn't sure I wanted to let it leave the house just yet, and I'm pretty darn sure I don't want to sign a deal for e-rights only.

Not today. Not in 2010.


Because I can release it myself if I choose and keep the profit. Sure. Because I'm becoming a real sonuvabitch about creative control, too.

But what's the trade off?

Well, no "outside" editing, for one. While I'm fairly confident in my editing abilities (at least for my own stuff), I always miss something. I haven't touched The Last Days of the Springdale Saints in over a year. I'm going to give it another pass before making any final decisions.

Number two: the "stigma" of self-publishing. Yeah, well, whatever. I'm really not interested in hiding in the cave and waiting for the other dinosaurs to come home. I feel I've built a body of work I'm proud of, some of it published in nice, well-respected venues. I can write fairly well at times, at other times, my writing sucks. Hopefully I'll live long enough to spot the difference.

I don't know if I'm going to set The Last Days of the Springdale Saints free or not. I love the book as only a parent can love an oldest child. I've rewritten it a few times. I've edited it almost too many to count. It has taught me more than any of my subsequent novels. In its latest incarnation, a slim 67K, I've cut almost 30K words. The aforementioned e-publisher was the only one to see the slimmed down Saints. Maybe the book is ready.

Time will tell.


Natalie L. Sin said...

It's all about finding the right home for the right story, so I don't blame you at all.

Barry Napier said...

Totally agree. It's why I also pulled the plug on the whole Hell on Earth debacle before things got out of hand. I go back and read portions of that and just CRINGE.

onipar... said...

Sounds like logical reasoning to me, and *mature* reasoning. It takes a lot of guts to be able to say something you wrote shouldn't be published yet, especially in the face of acceptance.

Robert said...

A lot of publishers are trying to snap up e-book rights because they're beginning to understand how valuable they are. Not too long ago I turned down a pretty well-known small press publisher who asked for a novella. For one I didn't have anything to send them at the time, and for two while they were offering a limited hardcover run, it was clear that what they were really after was the e-book rights. So ... thanks but no thanks.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - So right.

Barry - I'm not cringing as much as I expected during the re-read, but yes, this book has come a long (long) way.

Anthony - Occasionally, I manage to be both logical and mature. Occasionally.

Robert - I can't really see giving up e-rights at this point. If big publisher muscle showed up at my door, it would give me a little more to think about. But that's not happening/most likely will not happen in my lifetime.

Angie said...

Good for you for knowing what's best for your work and having the guts to follow your own path. I admire that.

Laura Eno said...

As a self-pubbed author, I laughed about your comment regarding dinosaurs. Good for you!

Katey said...

Yeah, you know I agree. Straight up smart decision, sounds like.

maybe twenty rounds or more
And that's why. Sure, we all need a little help. But a year of distance? That's help in itself. Good on ya!

Cate Gardner said...

Sounds like you made the right decision and I'm sure however you move forward with 'Springdale Saints', it'll be a good move.

Aaron Polson said...

Angie - I'm just winging it.

Laura - Whatever do you mean? ;)

Katey - More help than I could have imagined.

Cate - I hope so.

K.C. Shaw said...

That's a painful decision, but probably a smart one if that's what your gut (and brain) told you to do. I actually know how you feel; the second I got my acceptance for Weredeer, I was terrified, not elated. I've worked so hard on that book, round after round after round of edits and revisions, and now someone else comes along and wants to poke at it. I'm happy that I said yes (for one thing, I'm not a very good editor of my own work; Weredeer needs that pokin'), but I definitely considered saying no.

Self-publishing works best if you've already published other stuff through ordinary channels, I think. And you have!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I just stumbled upon this. And I have to say that I'm proud of you! Your decision sounds very wise and well thought out. I honestly don't know if I'd have a cool enough head on my shoulders.


Aaron Polson said...

K.C. - I think we all have good work that "needs that pokin'" once in a while.

Mercedes - I love this book, but I've started to read it again and cut like mad. I think it *might* end up at about 50K when I'm through. Not sure what I'll do then...