Saturday, July 6, 2019

Why I Chose a Hybrid Author Career by Award Winning BOOK 1Author Kerry Blaisdell

      I’m  often  asked  why  I  chose  an  independent  publisher  for my Urban Fantasy series (DEBRIEFING THE DEAD, WAKING THE DEAD, and their planned sequels)? Or in a similar vein, why I’m planning to self-publish two Romantic Suspense novels I’ve had on the back burner for a while now, and why I’m still (kind of…) attempting the “traditional” Big 5 route with my Historical Mystery series?

None of those questions have a simple answer, and the most important thing I can say is that every author’s journey is unique—in fact, every author—every book—is unique. Like children, what works for one person/book/series, may not work for another.

The reason I chose my current publisher (The Wild Rose Press) for this series is, on the surface, pretty straightforward: They offered me a contract, for a book that had been rejected more than 100 times by NY agents and editors. (That’s not the only reason I chose them, of course, and I thoroughly vetted them first. But I can say now that they are a truly awesome, amazing, and supportive publisher, and I’m so grateful they took a chance on me when it seemed like no one else would!)

But Kerry, I hear you ask, after all those rejections, why not just self-publish? Again, this is a complex question, with a complex answer, that will be different for every author. For me, I really wanted “a publisher” for my first book. In other words, I wanted somebody experienced to handle the back end of things, while I got my bearings and learned the promo and publicity/marketing side. Plus, while no publisher—not even the Big 5—throws much weight into marketing new authors’ books anymore, TWRP does as much as they can, including offering free weekly chats on how to do stuff, or the state of the industry, or whatever, or by offering discounts on services such as NetGalley or library/bookstore catalog inclusion.

Now that I’ve gotten my bearings, I feel more comfortable with the thought of self-publishing the above-mentioned RS books. Yes, I could send them to TWRP, and they would probably be accepted/contracted. But I don’t feel they need the support my first novel needed. And I am keeping The Dead Series with TWRP, because I think it’s a really good fit with them. 

Besides, now the first book in that series has been nominated for six awards (as of June 2019), already winning two of them. So I’m pretty happy with those results!

As for the traditional route for my Historical Mystery series… We’ll see. Despite all the awards and five-star reviews for my first two books, agents don’t seem to want to take a chance on me. And agents are still the gatekeepers for the Big 5 houses. The more publishing changes, the more some things stay the same.

Either way, I feel amazingly blessed to be where I am now. Ten years ago, after decades of writing, things looked much more bleak. So my best advice is to keep working hard, and never give up. Or, in the immortal words of Samuel Goldwyn, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Word.


Kerry Blaisdell is the award-winning author of The Dead Series, including DEBRIEFING THE DEAD (Book One)— 2019 HOLT Medallion double winner for Best Paranormal & Best First Book, Romance Writers of America RITA® finalist, Booksellers Best: Best First Book nominee, and Royal Palm Literary Award semifinalist—and WAKING THE DEAD (Book Two). She lives in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest with her husband, two (mostly) adult “kids,” assorted cats and dogs, and more hot pepper plants than anyone could reasonably consume.


Kerry Blaisdell said...

Thank you so much for having me! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

CB Clark said...

I agree. Wild Rose Press is a great publisher, and your books have done very well with them. Congratulations on all your well-deserved awards, Kerry. Good luck with self-publishing. I hope your books do very well.

Judith Ashley said...

Interesting post, Kerry. You've clearly thought things through and have charted your publishing career course. I've found that sorting options and creating a plan is instrumental to success - as well as being open to revising when needed.

Luanna Stewart said...

I agree - Wild Rose Press is a wonderful publishing company and I'm quite happy to be with them. I've also dipped my toe in the self-publishing pool and will do so again this autumn. I find having everything under my control (editing, cover, blurb, as well as the dreaded marketing) to be to more liberating than terrifying.

D. V. STONE said...

Great post Kerry. I think in today's world a writer needs to be flexible. Hybrid is the way I'm going. Best of luck to you. 🦉

Sadira Stone said...

Kerry, I read this with great interest. I'm on a similar path--wanting the hand-holding that comes with a small publisher for my first series. I plan to indie-pub a single-title cozy mystery to learn about that process, and then I'll decide what to do next. TWRP is definitely a wonderful place to start, very supportive of their authors.

N. Christine Samuelson said...

Kerry, it was fascinating to read of your journey- so very similar to my own. I also am hybrid author and feel exactly as you do about TWRP being great publishers.
Like you, though, I've put decades into writing, and frankly, I can't wait 5+ years to publish 5 books, or 10 yrs for 10 books. Also like you, I have several books (WIPs) and have already published 3 in a year, and plan on two a year from here on. Only indie publishing lets you do that.
So- I wish you great luck and success with your journey-- you're already way ahead with all your prizes. (I was so ignorant of the process, it never occurred to me to enter contests last year! Ugh). But this year is different.
Great blog, interview and message! Best wishes for continued great success!

Jean M. Grant said...

Great post! Not sure I am ready to dip into self-pub, but I've found myself on a similar path! What a journey...

Kerry Blaisdell said...

Thank you CB, Judith, Luanna, "Unknown" ;), Sadira, Christine and Jean for the wonderful comments! I was going to respond to each of you individually, but couldn't see an easy way to do that inline with your original comments, so oh well! :)

It's wonderful to know I'm not alone in my thinking/experience. I'm excited for the self-pub adventure to start. I've got all(?) my accounts set up, purchased ISBNs, and am nearly there with basically everything except my cover. That shouldn't take too long, though (unless I decide I hate my own efforts, and need to hire someone else :)), so really - I should be able to launch the book very soon!! Eep! :)

Thanks again, and "see" you all soon! ❤

Maggie Lynch said...

It is so true that every author's journey is different. Just as what each author wants/expects out of her career is different. I'm truly happy for you that your book has done so well and that you've found good support at TWRP. And all those awards is quite a testament to your writing, so huge congrats on that.

I published with Wild Rose back in 2011. I did think they were supportive of me as an author. However, I also published an indie book that year to see what the difference in experience and pay would be. For me, I made 3 times more on my indie book than my TWRP book. Part of that is because 70% of list is a lot more than 25% of list (which is what they were paying then, not sure what they pay now). And let's face it, I've always been a control freak. :)

I understand trad publisher's payment situation. After all they do have to pay the cover designer, editor, formatter, proofreader, office space bills, etc. But for me, even though I do pay for a cover designer and editor myself, I still make more money as an indie. But then I'm willing and able to do the other parts myself.

I suspect TWRP has become a lot more experienced with the market in the past eight years and that shows in your wonderful cover and that you are doing well with them. I do think TWRP is a good first step for those who are put off by indie publishing and want a situation where a seasoned publisher will handle all the other things--like cover design, editing, and initial reviews. And for those who get hives when they think about doing all of that or finding partners to help them.

Excited to see where you go from here with your series and your other planned books too.

Kerry Blaisdell said...

Thanks so much, Maggie! I always respect your opinion, and listening to your experiences/success stories is partly what's given me the push to try indie myself! Control freak? Yayoubetcha!!! So much so, I'm going to try doing my own cover. (I mean, I *was* a graphic designer, so it seems like something I should at least explore, before deciding to pay someone else to do it. :))

Ilona Fridl said...

All my books have been with TWRP. I don't think there's a more supportive publisher out there. Congratulations on all your success!

Kerry Blaisdell said...

Thanks, Ilona! It's been a crazy ride so far!! :)