~ By Eliza Knight
When I was eight, I received my first rejection letter. I think it was from Simon and Schuster. I’ve never told anyone this, but after receiving that letter, I saw an ad in one of my mom’s magazines for self-publishing. It was a vanity press and they wanted $2000 to publish my book. They didn’t care that I was eight, or that I’d have to beg my mom for the money. After I initially contacted them, they sent me letter after letter, and of course, my mother never consented, though she did save the dozens of stories I typed on the type writer. That same year, I entered a writing contest at my school and ended up having my alien short story published in an anthology with the other winners. I’ve since moved on from the sci-fi world.
Many years and career choices later, I came back to my writing roots—and got several more rejections from Simon and Schuster *winks*.
At the time, I chose to go with a small epublisher. They wanted to contract a few of my novellas, and I thought it would be a great stepping stone into the publishing industry. I still had so much to learn and with three tiny children at home, I knew it was more of a commitment that I could handle. I do not regret that decision at all. It was the right choice for me at that time. My first story was published in December of 2008. By the end of 2011, I’d been published by three different digital publishers (Wild Rose Press, Ellora’s Cave, Carina). I was moving slowly—with 12 novellas, 4 novels published/contracted in four years. (Okay, some of you right there might have been like, “Slow? Really?” Yes… for me, that’s slow. I write fast, 6-10 novels/novellas a year.) I knew it was time for a change.
I had two different, very reputable, agents attempt to sell several of my novels. Many bites—no catches. All that time, I’d been keeping an eye on people who were self-publishing. I watched, listened, observed, asked questions. I got the rights back on seven novellas and put them up on Amazon/B&N/Smashwords. I was shocked at how much more I was getting in royalties—my first check was as much as I’d made in a whole year!
And then I made a HUGE decision, and one that has launched me so far beyond where I thought I’d be that I am forever grateful to those who forged the path ahead of me. I decided to write an original series and self-publish it. The Stolen Bride Series was born. I’m still writing it J Now, that series is historical romance—but I’d always wanted to write contemporary. In fact, I’d been published in contemporary under another name…who has since been put to rest, and if you twist my arm I might tell you her name. After my huge success with my historical series (and when I say huge, I mean I fall into the 4.38% of self- published authors on Beverly Kendall’s self-pub report—you need to read this!), I decided to dip my toes back into the contemporary world. Last year I published a contemporary short novel and a novella. I had a blast doing it, my readers loved them. Without self-publishing, and being able to choose my path, I wouldn’t have had the flexibility to entertain another genre that I enjoy. I plan to do a few more this year as well. I have in total about 12 novels/novellas releasing in 2013 – nearly a third already written.
The thing I love about being able to self-publish (beyond making a living), is that I can choose what I want to write, what I want to publish. It’s freeing, but it doesn’t come without stress or hard work—just ask my family and friends. There are days I work 16+ hours. There are weeks I work 7 days. There are months I work EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are holidays I work. There are nights I don’t sleep. Family I ignore and parties I miss. But, the thing is, in the end, to me, it’s worth it (and I do make up for all those ignored people and missed events!)
Choosing to self-publish was one of the best decisions for my career I could have ever made. Does that mean I won’t ever accept another contract? No. In fact, I signed contracts for eight books this past year with an audio publisher, and I would very much like to break out in print. My ultimate goal is to be a hybrid author—one who has their feet in both worlds.
How do you choose your publishing path? A lot of research, a lot of thought. Where do you see yourself? What do you want out of your career? There is no wrong answer—unless you’re dragging your sexy heels to the finish line.
What is your path? Have any questions regarding self-publishing?
Eliza Knight is the multi-published, award-winning, Amazon best-selling author of sizzling historical romance, erotic romance and contemporary romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor. Visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com or her historical blog History Undressed: www.historyundressed.com. Twitter: @ElizaKnight. Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizaknightauthor