After my initial foray into the world of being a published author, I chose to take the route of indie author. In early 2007, I published The Long-Timers, about a group of people who live for thousands of years, and around 2009, I decided to withdraw it from publication. I was never happy with the publishing company and sales had not been very brisk, and I felt I could do at least as well on my own. Around this time, PublishAmerica gave me the chance to buy back the publication rights, so I jumped at the opportunity and set out to reimagine the work for the first time.
I should probably address why I wasn’t happy with PublishAmerica, since it played a big part in my decision. First and foremost, they were a print on demand publishing company, and what that meant for a massive book like mine was an exorbitant price. The Long-Timers listed at the publisher for $35. Very few of my sales were through their website or Amazon. I got a significant discount off the price, so it was cheaper for me to purchase copies and sell them directly, especially since I autographed every copy I sold myself.
I also didn’t find them very responsive. When I first saw the cover art, I objected that it didn’t reflect the personality of Victoria, who had emerged as the main character of the book. I also thought it made the book seem like a romance novel rather than a sci-fi fantasy book. Neither objection was taken seriously. Their “editing” consisted of suggestions on common grammatical errors authors make, and asking me to take a closer look. I came to believe that no one there had ever read the book and certainly no one was editing it other than me.
Finally, I was never happy with their accounting or lack of it. The only verified sales I was certain about were the ones I sold myself. I would receive occasional “royalties” rarely amounting to more than ten or twenty dollars, but to this day I have no idea how many books were sold online through their website or through online stores like Amazon. I occasionally run across resellers who have a copy of the book and the one who replied to my inquiry as to where he acquired it said he found it at Goodwill. He did not reply when I asked if it was autographed, which would have told me whether or not it was a direct sale or an online purchase.
Needless to say, I was happy when they finally offered me the publication rights back and quickly took them up on the offer. A fellow author I met via Gather had a set of instructions on how to get started as an indie publisher and I used those guidelines to reinvent my failed web development company Lupo Digital Services as a publishing company. For the first time, I registered it with the Secretary of State in Georgia and the rest is history.