Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Tough Decision

My amazing friends convinced me not only to share my news, but to share the story of how it came about. It wasn't an easy decision, there was a lot of fear involved. My young adult urban fantasy, The Secret Of Spruce Knoll will soon be published. Why am I not screaming like a banshee, tossing confetti about, and jumping for joy? I am inside but on the outside I am cautious about the reactions my decision will receive.

An opportunity arose with a small press. This was the kind of thing I had been dreaming about. A traditional publisher wanted my book! But it happened after I had made the monumentally tough decision to self-publish with Abbott Press (associated with Writer's Digest). I hadn't taken the plunge yet though so I was stuck with an even harder decision. Small press or self-publish? I know what you're thinking, believe me, I thought it. And then I thought about it from every conceivable angle.

Here is what factored into my decision:

My Rights:
        *Self-publish and I retain my rights
        *Small Press, they own my rights.

        *Self-publish I receive 50% of the sales.
        *Small Press I receive 10% of the sales.

        *Self-publish with the package I'm looking at, receive:
                *Channel Distribution to 25K Retailers
                *Google/Amazon Search Program
                *Booksellers Return Program
                *Press release to 30,000 opt-in journalists and more than 250,000 news subscribers
                *potential Writer's Digest mark of quality
                *Personal Abbott Press Bookstore Page
                *Included in Abbott Press catalog
        *Small Press:
                *Page on their website

With both I would be sold on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With the small press contributing nothing to marketing and not getting my novel in the stores, self-publishing was the stand out choice. Am I crazy to have passed up traditional publishing for self-publishing? Maybe, only time will tell. But I feel good about it. It feels right. And more importantly, I feel like I'll be in good hands with Abbott Press considering that Writer's Digest is behind them. With Abbott's marketing strategy, Writer's Digest affiliation and mark of quality, I think they may be the wave of the future. Quality control in self-publishing is something that is going to revolutionize it. 

In another incarnation, it was even represented by an agent and was widely submitted to editors. When traditional publishers didn't buy, my agent and I parted ways. My agent didn’t want to see a rewrite despite a lot of positive feedback from editors. Now I know why. Most editors won't look at something again, even if they were on the verge of buying and you revise it based on their feedback. They just don't have time. So I completely rewrote my novel novel and it has been through a professional editor. Now I'm confident that it is polished and ready for the world. I hope it finds it's way into your hearts and on your shelves. I'll keep you posted about it but you can expect it to be available late this summer or early in the fall.

~ Heather 


  1. Sounds like all the elements were right for you to make this decision, Heather, and it looks like an excellent opportunity. Can't wait to hear more about your experiences with Abbott--this could be a big step for self-pubbing if they really go to bat for their authors!

  2. Hi, Heather,

    I agree with Linda... If a small press is not going to anything for you with their 90 percent take, then Abbott is the way to go. Especially if it has been around the publishing field. You had an agent an it didn't sell? How heart-breaking, but I believe you are making the right decision.

    I might be following you soon after, self publishing my first novel. I'd love to hear and see how it all works for you. I am sending out all the good vibes and positive feelings I can for you to greatly succeed!

    This SOUNDS so exciting.... I know you will have our whole community backing your decision.


  3. Hey, good for you for making an informed decision and doing what works best for you!!! Congrats and best of luck! :D

  4. Linda, it could be pretty amazing. Fingers crossed!

    Michael, no kidding! 10% and no marketing was just not appealing. I'll keep you posted!

    LB, thank you so much!

  5. Heather this is fantastic news. I'm so excited for you. And... I may just be following you. I loved the way you weighed the pros and cons. Your research has certainly paid off... as will your book. Yeah!!! Congratulations!!!!

  6. Given your situation, Heather, I agree with your decision. And yours is the type of self published book I would buy. It came so close with editors. ;)

  7. Thanks for sharing. Congrats to you and kudos for doing what felt right for you and not just following the crowd. :)

  8. I liked reading your story twice today! It gives me a lot to think about. A lot. Thanks Heather for sharing your story!

  9. First off, Congratulations!! I know the decision had to be difficult. But I don't think you will look back and regret your decision. Look at this as a stepping stone. This doesn't mean that you can never go with a traditional publisher. Heck, you may even catch their eye when your book sky rockets to success! :) Wishing you all the Best with your Book!!!

  10. A., thank you!

    Karlene, your novel is beyond amazing. If you do follow me it will do outstanding. I have no doubt about that!

    Stina, that means a lot to me. Thank you so, so much!

  11. Janet, thank you! For a long time I did try to follow the crowd and coming to the decision that it wasn't the road for me wasn't an easy one. But I'm thrilled!

    Lydia, that's fantastic. If I can inspire one person then my job is done. :)

    Melissa, thank you! That's so true. In fact I will still search for an agent for my most recent novel. But who knows, if things go well I may not want to go down that road. :)

  12. Thanks for sharing your story! I hadn't heard of Abbott press before, but I'm very curious to see what you think of it after you publish.

    Best of luck with lots of sales!!

  13. Susan, you've been such a huge help to me. I can't thank you enough. So far I'm loving Abbott. The amount of input and control I have is just amazing. And they are so professional and creative. So far, so good!

  14. Heather, I am very excited to follow the journey you're on! Count on my support!! :)