In part 2 of this post for #writerwednesday, I’ll continue talking about my publishing journey. If you haven’t read part 1, you can catch up here.
I see a clear divide in my publishing career – before 2014 and after 2014. In August 2014, I was writing for Ellora’s Cave. I was riding high and my books were doing well. Without going into too much detail (I can’t for legal reasons), I had an email from editor at EC saying there would be an announcement soon about the company, but it wasn’t looking good. She warned me about sending other manuscripts to be queried until I’d heard the announcement. I didn’t have anything ready at this point anyway, so it didn’t make a difference to me.
The issues with Ellora’s Cave have been widely documented online, but it was a really stressful time for the authors. I saw some sporadic royalties for a few months and then they stopped coming altogether.
So why didn’t I just write for someone else? This was the point where Kindle Unlimited was really taking off, so why didn’t I just start writing stories for other publishers/platforms? My problem – I was contracted to give EC first refusal on any erotic/steamy romance story I wrote. I couldn’t write as Scarlett Sanderson (not that I wanted to write anything at all, I was so devastated), and I couldn’t buy myself out of the contracts because I just didn’t have kind of money.
Looking back now, it was the darkest time in my publishing career. My books were in limbo for 2 years. I couldn’t write anything else and honestly, I didn’t want to. I lost my joy. I had no interest in publishing. I felt so sorry for my readers, people who were enjoying the Mission Pleasure trilogy, who’d invested money in the series, and were waiting for the last book. I was paralyzed, unable to dig my way out of the hole.
The worst part, I didn’t know how long this was all going to last. It was a mess.
Finally, in December 2016, I got the rights back to all my books. I had to forgo any royalties owed, but at this point I just wanted my stories back.
Ellora’s Cave finally closed its doors. Despite what had happened and the bitterness, I still felt sad. I’d had a blast working with EC. I had a great editor and enjoyed my time with them so much. I read their books long before I began writing for them, so I was very sad when EC closed.
In 2017 I began my self-publishing journey – a journey I’m still on now as an indie author, and boy, has it been a steep learning curve! I’ve republished my books and released new ones. I’ve had to learn publishing from the bottom up. I’ve had to learn about keywords, and cover art, and marketing. I can’t say it’s been easy, but it’s been a lot of fun. And I enjoy the control I have over every part of the process.
The incident made me very wary of publishing houses. Although, I had a book published with Totally Bound in September 2019, I’m still skittish of publishers.
Over the past two years, I’ve learned to let the past stay in the past. I write because I have to, because I love it. I won’t let fear or my past stop me from achieving my dreams.
It’s been a long road to where I am now. I’ve had highs and terrible lows. I forgot the core of why I write – to feed my joy, to write because I like it. 2017 felt like starting all over again, but I didn’t have the heart for it. 2020 has been a new start for me. A fresh attitude. Despite the pandemic, contracting COVID and losing my Mom, I still managed to get out 2 books, with another 2 due November 1st and December 1st respectively. Go, me!
I finally have the heart and I’m moving forward into a new chapter of my career with joy instead of looking back with fear.
Additional images thanks to: Styled Stock Society