A Funny Thing Happened…

Well, okay it wasn’t very funny, but I thought I worth mentioning. Recently, I have had a lot of people wanting me to tell them how wonderful being a publisher is. They want to know all about the glamorous trips to meet authors, the cocktail parties, the dinners with agents, etc. What I want to know is, where the hell do they get these ideas?

I’ve been trying for a couple days to to figure out how to explain this to people without whining or bitching or insulting people without using their names. I fear I may do a little bit of all. An average day for me, as a publisher, can be all manner of things. There are so many high points and so many low points, I usually don’t know if I am coming or going.

I can tell you that every single day I thank God for giving me the chance to do what I love. I will say without any arrogance that I am good what I do. I feel good about every story I contract, I feel great about finding new authors and introducing them to readers, and I feel good about giving established authors a venue to showcase their works. It is a blessing to be able to read and publish and know that I am playing a large role in triggering a whole crapload of emotions in people I don’t even know.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have absolutely shitty days. Recently I woke u to a barrage of emails that had my head spinning and sent me running hysterical in tears to Dunkin’ Donuts for comfort. I’ll give you the top five highlights.

1. Three (3) authors contacted me to let me know they wanted their rights back (less than a year into their contracts) so they could self publish. They simply feel they can promote their work better that way. WTF? Why does who your book is published by make any difference to how you market it? Don’t get me wrong, not against self-publishing, just do it before you sign with a publisher and they make investments of time and money on your behalf.

2. Got word from two agents that the contracts I sent to them were unacceptable because I would not pay the author 20% of retail, let them keep all their rights except print, and do not offer a solid marketing budget. Oh, and one wanted me to give the author 250 author copies. Really? I am guessing they did not do their research and have no idea what size publisher they are dealing with. One even called my contract “Childishly designed.” What the hell does that mean? Anyone? Bueller?

3. I discovered that I have lost 3 editors.

4. I sent 60,000 books to be remaindered. These are books that I printed for authors who either did nothing to help me sell them or left Echelon to go self-publish.

So there’s a bad day, and yes that was one day (okay one and a half).

Now, far be it from me to leave you feeling sorry for me. Let me tell you about a good day. This is actually two days, but you get the point.

1. I finished a submission that I had NO IDEA I would like so much because the author wrote on a topic that was of no interest to me and she did things in this book that will curl hair in some cultures. It was an awesome book and she made an unthinkable situation make sense and work for me. I loved the book and I will be offering a contract.

2. I sent revisions to an author who I had met at a conference and I was pretty harsh (it needed some work) and the author has sent me several emails thanking me and letting me know she is revising and will be resubmitting soon. I was expecting a quick kiss off and perhaps some snarky tweeets. The writer is a real doll, though. Hoping we can work together.

3. I learned from one of my short story authors that she wants me to consider a novel by her. this is especially cool since so many are jumping ship to self-publish. I do have a place in my heart for loyalty. LOL

4. Our Echelon Press site had higher than usual views for three days in a row.

5. I finished initial edits on a book by an author who I have adored for years, who has signed on with Echelon to reissue her previous titles and to publish her new works. This is especially thrilling for me as she has been a mentor to me as an author for a very long time.

As you can see, the ride is wild and it can be trying, but for those people out there who think we have lots of expensive lunches and attend cocktail parties and schmooze. Here’s a little secret. Most days I eat alone and it’s usually Dunkin’ Donuts or Chipotle, the last cocktail party I went to was eight years ago and I paid $1000 in conference and travel fees to be there, and I drive a Toyota Corolla. Glamor? Not so much. Excitement, depends on what day it is. Schmoozing? I’m the one doing all the schmoozing, so I’m not sure if that counts.

I love what I do and I plan to do it for the rest of my life.


5 responses to “A Funny Thing Happened…

  1. The sixty day complimentary trial provide is a wonderful
    choice, in the case of the flex waistband.

  2. Glad you get the good days with the bad Karen 🙂

  3. {{{hugs}}}

    I don’t know if it counts as good or bad, but I’m sticking around 🙂

  4. Karen,

    As one of your authors, I’m really pleased to have read this post. It gives me a clearer idea of what you go through day after day. Please don’t stop doing what you love. I know it has to be tough a good share of the time–I had no idea authors could be so snarky and disloyal. I hope to be counted among those who are doing all they can to help you publish our work with as little hassle as possible. Keep up the great work!


    Deborah Dee Harper
    Laughing with the Lord
    “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” (Psalms 68:3 NIV)
    http://www.deborahdeetales.blogspot.com and http://www.deetrails.blogspot.com
    Don’t miss my eBook series: Laramie on the Lam with Echelon Press

  5. Fascinating stuff.

    As an author I had a pretty good idea that cocktail parties didn’t happen very often, and hard work is more the norm, but it was interesting to see what a good or bad day would be. I’m lucky to have awesome publishers. They’re lucky I have no desire to self publish or go elsewhere–unless they reject my stuff or I’m offered a massive advance. (Yeah. Like that’ll happen.) I need the help of editors, artists and marketing folks. Yes, I promote my butt off, but I feel like my publisher is making a good effort too.

    As an experiement I had my assistant put up a couple of my early books. (I got the rights back long after the contract expired.) I put them out under another name and did absolutely NO promo. Guess what? I made 10 bucks. LOL

    New authors still need to make a name for themselves. Publishers can help with that–a lot!

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