Last weekend I was invited to participate in a yard sale/boutique/book signing event. I only had five copies of my book left and I didn’t have time to order more. I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it and almost didn’t participate. But then I decided why not? Every time I have done a book signing with other authors, it has turned into a great experience! Even if I don’t sell a single book, I get to meet other authors and always end up learning something new. It doesn’t matter how many books I sell. Even selling one copy to someone who might not normally hear about it is worth it to me! So I got up Friday morning and headed to the boutique. I was looking at my map, unsure of where to go next, when I was met by flashing lights in my mirror. Awesome. I’ve never been pulled over in my life! Of course it would be on my way to a book signing, when I was already running late. I was apparently speeding in a school zone. School shouldn’t even be going in July! Whatever. I ended up with my first ticket ever. Way lame! And what a bad way to start my day! Oh well. I got there and set up and enjoyed visiting with the other authors. Then the next day we did it again. I sold all five of my books in those two days, making just enough to pay off my speeding ticket. But I learned so much from the other authors, I don’t even care! I made some great new friends who taught me so much already! And we had a blast visiting and sharing our experiences with each other for two days! I would do the whole thing all over again in a heartbeat!
The other authors who were there were Cindy C Bennett, Sherry Gammon, Anna del C Dye, A.M. Hooper, and Mandi Slack. The only problem with doing a book signing with so many other authors is now I want to read each of their books. That’s a lot more to buy!
After hearing some of the experiences other authors have had with publishing houses, I am so happy I self-published! Sometimes I wonder if it is worth all the work, and then I talk to a “traditionally” published author. Nine times out of ten, they are unhappy with their publisher and wish they were in my shoes.
So after talking with these other authors, I went home and wrote this:
I’ll huff and I’ll puff…
Maybe it’s because the 3 little pigs is my daughter’s favorite story right now, but I spent the weekend with several other authors (some self-published and some published through big publishing houses) and now I can’t get thoughts of the big bad wolf out of my head. Let’s face it. We, as authors, are all just like these little piggies. We just want to make our own way in this world, set up houses for ourselves, and live happily ever after. But the big bad wolf of publishing doesn’t want that. They want to knock down our work, watch us run away squealing, and then gobble us up.
Take pig number one for example. This pig is a little naive and possibly unaware of the wolf’s intentions. The wolf takes advantage of this pig any chance he gets. This piggy is like many authors out there who sign a contract with the first publishing house who will take them, thrilled to be getting published at all. Saying, “Hey! A straw house–sounds awesome! It won’t take long to put up, nor much work on my part. Now I can go play!” Then they read the fine print. They are locked in with this publishing house for life, unable to submit work anywhere else. They make almost nothing from royalties, while their publisher racks in the dough. And they don’t even have a marketing package with their contract, so their book isn’t being promoted the way it should be. The first rainfall hits and they realize their house was cool in theory, but now they are left with nothing more than a mushy pile of straw.
Pig number two has done his homework. He knows sticks are thicker and stronger than straw, but he maybe doesn’t know how to make his house completely secure. He has a lawyer read over his contract and doesn’t sign until he feels good about the deal he is getting, but he still doesn’t have rights to his own book. He can’t sell or promote his own work without first clearing it with his publisher and they get to make changes to his story that maybe he doesn’t want in there. It only takes an extra blow or two, and his house gets knocked down, just like his brother’s.
Then there is little piggy number three. He spends a lot more of his own money, and he has to work three times harder than the first two pigs, but once his house of brick is complete, he is able to relax by the fireplace and turn up his music to block out the sound of a wolf howling at his door. All the other pigs called him crazy when he said he was going to self-publish. “Why do all that extra work? If you build a simpler home, you can spend the rest of the day playing with us! Besides, do you know how much bricks cost?!” But it always ends the same. The third little pig is the happiest, and he always ends up helping the other pigs out when their houses come tumbling down.