My novel, STARVING HEARTS was accepted by Robert Reed back in 2000. He did and still does vanity publishing but because he liked my writing and liked ME (don't fool yourself, people, it isn't always your talent that swings the pendulum your way) He agreed to design the cover, format the book and publish it under his imprint. The design was approved, the date of publication set and I began drumming up book events for the novel. I had sent this novel out three times to every publisher listed iin WRITER'S DIGEST under three different titles and never got more than a form letter rejection,if that.
I had a full schedule of events planned including a trip to Florida with my friend Ida Nissen squiring me around to all her relatives in the south, when Reed presented me with the contract I had assumed would be no problem at all. In it, he promised no promotion whatsoever and wanted all rights to my "baby" for ten years. I was 68 years old at the time and I felt that was far too long for him to have rights to what I firmly believed was a blockbuster of a book. We parted amicably and I gave his design to a woman who worked for a printer and produced 1000 books so I could fulfill the engagements I had already created. Within 6 months, I realized I needed another , better quality edition because my 1000 copies were falling apart...I had used the cheapest design possible...and selling out. I bit the bullet and designed the cover the book has today, finished my tour and to my delight was invited back to every bookstore that had featured me. That was NINE years ago and 6000+ copies sold later I am still selliing that book.
If I had it to do over again (and I did for my next novel THE LATE BLOOMER and two books of essays THOUGHTS WHILE WALKING THE DOG & MORE THOUGHTS WHILE WALKING THE DOG) I would not bother with a publisher and go directly to a printer (NOT a vanity press however) . Because I printed my books myself, I get the full profit (thre times my cost) when I sell them individually When I sell them at a bookstore or on Amazon, I get a full 50% of the purchase price. I never have to BUY my books. I have them here. That first novel, STARVING HEARTS has paid for the other three I have published and then some. In fact, all my books are now in the black and it is because I gave up the notion of someone "accepting" my work and instead had the faith that my writing was compelling enough to sell my books. They have all sold purely by word of mouth and do so regularly .My books have not made me wealthy but they have done exactly what I wanted them to do. They have commuciated with readers who love my words. Someone asked me if I wanted to be on the New York Times Best Seller List and I replied,"I certainly wouldn't refuse the opportunity, but what I really want is to walk down the street and have someone come up to me and say, 'I read your book in one sitting . I could not put it down.'"
That has happeded with all four books, every one of which was refused by every major publisher in this country. I guess one could say I lost the publishing battle but I certainly won the readership war.
About Lynn Ruth
Causes Lynn Ruth Miller Supports
Habitat for Humanity