From Indie to Traditional: Guest Post by Author Steve McHugh
As you may or may not know, I’m out of town. To fill space and keep you entertained, I have turned my Blog over to the talented Steve Mchugh. This is him:
Everyone, say hi to Steve and treat him nicely today while I’m in the lovely state of Colorado enjoying time pursuing my other passion. Today, Steve is going to share a bit about his journey from Indie to Traditional publishing with these awesome books:
Which, if you haven’t read yet, I suggest you do. Seriously. Okay, I have to run. Take it away, Steve!
*round of applause* *louder, I want to hear you in CO*
I self-published 2 books last year, Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred, they’re books 1 and 2 in the Hellequin Chronicles, a dark Urban Fantasy series. They did pretty well, certainly well enough for me to be almost giddy with sales and the prospect that people were genuinely enjoying my work.
Born of Hatred was published in December of last year and during Jan and Feb, I was already plotting out writing book 3 and maybe even book 4 for 2013. I had a plan.
Then something weird happened. I got an e-mail at the end of Feb from 47North, Amazon’s SF/Fantasy/Horror imprint, asking if I’d like to work with them. They rang the next day (a procedure that’s more difficult than you’d imagine when I live in Southampton, England and they work in Seattle), and they offered me a 3 book deal. They’d re-print books 1 and 2, with edits and new covers and publish book 3 next Feb.
I said I’d love to and within a few months (because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about publishing, is that it’s tectonically slow) I was signed as their newest author.
I was introduced to my new editor, a lovely woman by the name of Jenni, and she went through both books with a red pen.
Now, I know some people would baulk at the idea of being relatively successfully self-published and then having an editor tell you that bits didn’t work and that you needed to change them, but to be honest I was okay with it.
By the time I’d made the edits to both books (although much, much less was changed in BoH) they both read better. Now both had already seen an editor before I’d published, and they’d gone through beta partners and crit reads and the like, but having Jenni go through it all opened my eyes to the amount I’d changed in a writer from just writing book 1 to writing book 2.
On top of edits for my editor, I then went through copy-edits (which are not exactly a barrel of laughs) and then line edits (which are even less so).
The covers for both books were also completely re-done, although the same artist did both the originals and new ones.
But the biggest change, from indie to, I guess, traditional, is the marketing people. I now have people who promote my books, who arrange things like magazine adverts and the like. This is all totally new to me. I never had a budget for promo; it was mostly blog work, social media and trying to engage with readers on a more personal level.
So, is there one big change from indie to traditional? Yeah, there are loads. You’re not alone. There are people you can go to for advice about your book and how it’s marketed and how your covers look. It’s not all on my shoulders anymore; I work with other people to make my work be as good as possible.
To be fair, while I loved being an indie writer and will happily self-publish more work when I get the chance, working with a company with people as great as those at 47North, alongside the other awesome writers I’ve met who also write for Amazon, has been an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.
Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with both of working together.
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