Here’s the thing. I’m pretty good about letting some things slide — you kinda have to be when you’re a writer. I mean, hello, just look at any bad review. If someone doesn’t like what you’ve written, there’s little you can do you change their mind. So let it go (easier said than done, of course, but I’ve had practice).
But, when people have the wrong information or the wrong idea about something, well that’s a different story. I have to put things right.
Ever since I announced that Grand Central Publishing was pushing back the release date of Shooting Scars to August 20th, I’ve gotten a hell of a lot of backlash. This was to be expected - in fact I voiced this concern to my editor and she understood. But this was their decision, not mine and I stand by them because I believe they know what they’re doing (read to the end to find out what that is) and HELL they are MY publishers. This is my dream! Of course, they don’t deal with the backlash…I do.
And, frankly, in some cases like on Facebook or Goodreads, it’s been a bit…harsh. Like, you want to hurt me kind of harsh (and I am a fairly delicate flower, so…)
Look, I understand being disappointed. I’M disappointed. I’m used to the “press publish” method of self-publishing just as you’re all used to “one-click” buying. I’m used to finishing a book, editing it, publishing it. I’m a very fast writer and a very fast publisher and I like to get things out to you as soon as possible (hence why I’ve published thirteen books in two years). But, this isn’t how the real publishers do things. They take their time (and this is a good thing).
So you can be disappointed all you want and I’m right there with you. I GET IT! You can cry and scream and be sad about the book being pushed back and I’ll cry and be sad, too. Honestly.
But, and here’s where things get tricky; I’ve noticed some people getting really angry and some false information about me going around. Most notably, that I’m in charge of Shooting Scars release date, that I somehow have the power over the dates and that it’s my fault the book is pushed back– in short, I’m doing this on purpose.
I am not an asshole. I swear.
I like to think of myself as a fairly engaging and generous author. Aside from trying to publish a lot of books for people to enjoy, I also host a looooooot of giveaways. I try and answer all my emails. I provide teasers. I give away ARCs (essentially FREE books) to a boatload of people and not all of them bloggers. Some of them just ordinary people who love to read.
I try and keep people happy because readers are my everything. So it breaks my heart when people get the idea that I’m doing this to piss people off or to just fuck with people or I don’t care about my readers or I don’t know what.
Does that sound like something I would do? Look, I’ve pushed back release dates on my self-published books before and I’ve admitted it. I said “hey you know what, Come Alive is going to be published in June because I’m bumping up Shooting Scars till May.” I got some backlash on that too, but at least that was fair — I was in charge of the dates. It was in my control. That’s what self-publishing is all about.
But Shooting Scars is NOT a self-published book. The Artists Trilogy, starting June when GCP Forever releases it under their name, is no longer self-published. It started out that way but was bought by a big ass big six publisher (see: my dream), something I always wanted for this series. Now my series can go beyond the 30K people who have bought a copy (thank you!) and now hundreds of thousands of people might get hooked on the Ellie/Camden/Javier train through Grand Central Publishing’s skilled hands. They can reach faaaaar more people than I ever could on my own.
Because it is not self-published, I do not control the release dates. I am just the writer. AND I LIKE IT. It’s fucking NICE to be able to just write and not worry about anything (except pissing off people, apparently). I don’t have to manage the release, I don’t have to plan the publicity attack. I don’t have to find an editor and a cover and format the book. They do it all for me. That is the number one draw of going with a publisher (that and seeing your book in bookstores everywhere).
I just wish my readers were excited too. I know pushing back the release dates have made the excitement levels drop and I hope to balance them out with more giveaways and posting whole chapters and more teasers closer to the release date. I know it’s tough to wait for a book. In fact, if I could go back in time I would have stuck to the original release date for Shooting Scars, which was July. Yup. I was first going to publish it in July, but then I saw so many people upset over the cliffhanger and bumped it up to May. I hate disappointing people, but what can you do…
I hope that cleared things up, or at least made you realize I am not doing this, it is out of my hands. My readers mean everything to me (as I blogged about before, the reason I went with Grand Central Publishing is because the release date for SS was going to be in the summer and the third book would be published in 2013 as well.…most other publishers would spread the series out more and push it back by a year — I was not going to sign any deal that would do that). I would never pushback the release date if I could help it.
Now, I must go back to writing Shooting Scars. Since I signed the deal, the deadline got extended by two weeks so I’m still plowing through it.
**** For those interested in the publishing process, here’s why the real reason why the release got pushed back *****
Publishing houses have a schedule of books to be released. This schedule is usually made a YEAR in advance, at least. Remember, self-published books going to traditional is a VERY new thing. Normally, books are chosen through agents. The agent submits the author’s work to the editors, they look it over, and if they like it, they make a deal. The book then goes through a VERY long editing process and a very long cover process and a very long marketing campaign. Mary Sue’s book “Vampire boyfriend” would be submitted to the publishers and a year or two later the book would finally come out. You know how they work…look at any trilogies, like Divergent. Roth signed the deal for those books at least a year before they were published. And all the book releases are spaced a year apart.
Publishing houses are slooooooow.
So let’s look at GCP. They probably have a schedule all set for book releases this year. They can’t all release their books on the same days (always a Tuesday) because they won’t be able to donate as much marketing time. They want every book to have their moment in the sun. So they space them out — this thriller here, this romance there. It’s been set like that at least a year in advance (remember the majority of the books are traditionally published and are still going through the stages).
Then I come along. They want my books. They want to sell Sins and OES and market them. Normally, a publishing house would say “okay, let’s release Sins in June and then OES over Christmas. THEN Shooting Scars the following June and since we are feeling generous, the third book in Xmas 2014″- they want to donate as MUCH time as possible into marketing the shit out of Sins before the release the other books. Remember, I’ve sold X amount already — they need to make their purchase of the books worthwhile. They need to reach people too.
But GCP, god bless them, said, “Hey we’ll release Sins and OES in June, and then spend June and July marketing them, then release Shooting Scars in July and then book#3 in October.” And then they are like SHIT…we have SO many books lined up for July, that it wouldn’t be fair for Mary Sue’s “Vampire Boyfriend” a book that’s been made ready for a year, to suddenly get the shaft. We’ve devoted so much time and money to it already.
So then they say, okay, well if we won’t move Vampire Boyfriend, then we’ll move Shooting Scars since we just bought it. It’s just a month. People will understand. And that way, instead of trying to market both those books at the same time, we can give Vampire Boyfriend the spotlight and then the next month do the same for Shooting Scars.
And that’s what happened. Shooting Scars got moved to August 20th because it was the better date for both them and I. Book #3 got moved to October 15th for the same reason.
There was no spite here. Nothing malicious. It’s just the way they work and it’s 100% out of my control. I am a new-ish author with a modest (by their standards) amount of success who has never had a publishing deal before. They are a big publishing corporation who have been doing this for decades. I trust them.
And I hope you trust me.