Monday, March 3, 2014

Republishing an Older Book as A Self-Published Title || A CAT'S TALE

My first published title A CAT'S TALE came to the expiration of its contract with The Wild Rose Press in January. I chewed my nails for a while, trying to determine whether to remain part of the publisher's catalog or go out on my own. 

I have made the decision to self-publish the 2nd edition of the title as an Indie author but this wasn't a choice I made casually. I weighed my options in terms of financial and emotional factors.

 

The Choices

 

Option #1: Remaining with my publisher


Pluses:  
  • No action on my part was required other than signing a new five year contract.
  • No interruption to the availability of the title.

Cons:  
  • The contract was for five years at 40%, which is only 5% more than I was receiving under the old contract.
  • I worried about angering my publisher by leaving. 


Option #2:  Self-publishing the title.


Pluses: 
  • As the publisher, I receive the entire income after the distribution channels (Amazon, B&N, etc) take their cut.
  • Total control over where and how the book is told, including pricing and promotions.
  • Total control over the book's content and packaging, i.e. the cover and blurb.
Cons:
  • Time spent preparing and uploading the files across various platforms. Amazon, B&N, Smashwords...each one requires the file be prepared in a different way.
  • The cost associated with paying for a new cover.
  • Interruption in the availability of the title.

The Analysis

 

Option #1: Remaining with my publisher


Pluses:
This would probably hold more appeal for me if I wasn't already a hybrid author with both traditionally published and self-published titles. (Please note, I use the words "Indie" and "self-published" interchangeably throughout this post. I'm aware some folks make a distinction but it's potato patato to me.)  However, I've already gone through the angst associated with becoming an Indie author. It doesn't scare me...anymore.  Also, I'm already set up with accounts on Amazon, Smashwords, Nook Press, and All Romance Ebooks. That setup was a time consuming undertaking but I only had to do it once. At this point, the time is a sunk cost.

Cons:
Money is always an issue and more of it is good. Less is bad and only seeing a net 5% increase for a 5 year period struck me as a long time.  Now, I've heard publishers use the expression "We provide these services at no cost to the author" but it's not an entirely accurate assessment of the author/publisher relationship. There are ALWAYS implicit costs, i.e. the surrender of control over editing, art, content, pricing, promotion and income. After all, publishers aren't charities and they do aim to make their money back somehow. Once you're out of the initial contract, there are solid financial reasons for looking at the best way of distributing older titles, especially ebooks. Backlist titles are bread & butter income for many authors.

For me, the possibility of angering my publisher actually played a factor also. I have two other books currently under contract (one published and one due for release soon), so I worried about upsetting the powers that be. Ultimately, at the end of the day, publishing is a business. Both parties must remain professional and abide by the terms of the contract. Emotion shouldn't enter into the paradigm.

Option #2:  Self-publishing the title.


Pluses: 
  • Money is a big one. More money: GOOD.  Reiterating, as the publisher, I receive the entire income after the distribution channels (Amazon, B&N, etc) take their cut. I'm not going to go into financial specifics since it varies from one platform to another and it would require a long long post to explain.
  • Sales on A CAT'S TALE have slowed over the last few months. Pricing in the novella market is tough. I'm planning on dropping the price to 99 cents paired with a blog tour to see if I can kick start sales numbers.  All Romance ebooks and Smashwords boht offer promotional tools for creating sales.
  • Total control over the book's content and packaging, i.e. the cover and blurb. Two thing here:
  1. In the original draft of A CAT'S TALE, my hero drove a classic muscle car. The vehicle make/model got removed during the editing process, which really bugged me. My story isn't loaded with trademarked products and a trademark mention in a fictionalized story falls under fair use so long as there's no libel and you're not using the trademark to sell the story. I'm planning on adding the vehicle's make and model back into the 2nd edition. It's a little thing but it was important to me. 
    Jared drove a 1967 Pontiac GTO
  2. Since Wild Rose Press holds the copyright to my original cover, I had to commission new cover art for it. You can still see my original cover on the right sidebar of my blog. I've left it up with the link to the Kindle version. I'll remove it just as soon as the publisher's version comes down since I'm no longer allowed to display or use it for promotional purposes for the self-published version.
Now, if I'd been feeling brave and foolish, I might have attempted to make my own. However, I'm not quite that stupid. I've also shopped a variety of sites for premade paranormal covers. There are tons out there and some of them are pretty nice but Siamese werecats simply aren't as common as white tigers and leopards.  (Google it and you'll see what I mean.)
Fortunately, I  already know a fabulous professional cover artist: FARAH EVERS.  Farah designed all three of the covers in my Loki's Wolves series: THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON, and BATTLE CRY. 
When I contacted her, the convo went something like this:


 Here's the new cover  AKA the Farah Evers Original:
I LOVE IT!

Farah really deserves a medal for what she puts up with from me. As a client, I'm COMPLETELY NEUROTIC. I second guess everything. It's not intentional or meant as an insult to anyone's competence. It's just how I am. For instance, last night I hovered over Mr. Snark as he grated Parmesan cheese. The man has two degrees and yet I feel the need to supervise him.

Mr. Snark:  "I've got this! I know how to grate cheese."
Mrs. Snark:  "Yes, dear. I'll just be standing right here in case you need me."


Cons: (Of self-publishing in case you've lost track)
  • Time spent preparing and uploading the files across various platforms. Amazon, B&N, Smashwords...each one requires the file be prepared in a different way.  Yes, this will be time consuming. However, formatting is actually the easy part of self-publishing and I've done it a couple times already. There's a time investment of a few hours, but I'll only have to do it once.
  • The cost associated with paying for a new cover. The above cover cost $70 but it also came with full licenses for the images, which I requested. I believe one of Farah's ebook covers typically costs $50. In my mind, this is well worth the price. This cover is going to help me sell books.
  • Interruption in the availability of the title. Yes, this will happen and it will be tricky. The publisher says to allow upward of 90 days for their version to be removed from all platforms. I have no idea how long it will actually take. All I can do it keep checking and do my homework in advance. I intend to have all of my files prepped and uploaded. When the time comes, all I'll have to do is log in and hit the SUBMIT button.

8 comments:

  1. LOLOL! Omg! You crack me up. You're not neurotic at all, by the way. (though the grating cheese thing is hilarious) I know what you want, but I defied your wishes a little bit, because I'm naughty like that. You're awesomeness, promise!

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    1. Farah,
      LOL I'm a little neurotic. Seriously. :D

      Thank you for the amazing cover!

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  2. Unless it goes against your contract with the publisher, I'm pretty sure you can go ahead and upload the second edition whenever you want so that there's no disruption in availability.

    I'm pretty sure my husband is capable of grating cheese on his own, but I still feel the need to hover when he chops zucchini and onions, just in case.

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    Replies
    1. Sydney,
      Thank you for the information. I think you just furthered my learning curve with a piece of really useful info. I didn't know that so I definitely appreciate you letting me know.

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    2. Ladies, my husband isn't allowed into the kitchen, unless he is going to wash a couple of dishes, or make his own lunch. Anything related to cooking or prepping is off limits. lol

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  3. Thanks for explaining some of the ins and outs--I didn't realize it was quite this complicated!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Diane,
      Thank you! I didn't realize how complicated it was either until I'd gone through the process of self-publishing. An Indie author has to wear many hats. I'm still learning. :)

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