The month is September. The year 2014. I had completed a book. I was over enthused. Ecstatic. Why? Because I had a publisher. Or so I thought. My mother’s friend’s brother, Harry, is a very successful writer. Harry has written over 300 books all under different names. When I first met Harry, I secretly stared at him in awe. Here is a man living the dream I so desperately pursued. One day, I timidly approached Harry for a favor. Could he help me get my book published? Yes.
Yippee! I admit, I did jumping-jacks. I called Harry up one afternoon and we discussed how to go about getting my thriller published. I was so ecstatic I could barely contain myself. He gave me two options: Go through his literary agent or his online publisher? I chose the online publisher, because I figured I could reach more people that way. Enter Hammer and Anvil books. I was informed my book would be put on Amazon as an Ebook.
I sent Adam at Hammer and Anvil my book and didn’t hear back from him for two months. I cautiously inquired after my book after the first month but no reply. I figured they were busy editing it. I imagined a professional editor at her computer, reading over the book with red pen in hand. Another month went by and no answer. That month I met up with Harry at a small get together my mother was attending. I told him about the situation and he said there must have been some mix up with the emails. He would message Adam right away.
A week later, I got an email from Adam. He wanted my book. We began emailing each other back and forth and I sent him my book. I asked him how long it’d take for him to edit. He then informed me that he couldn’t edit it. They didn’t have enough man power for that at Hammer and Anvil. Okay. I saved up a few paychecks and hired myself an editor. I told Adam I’d get back to him.
It is now December. The professional editor I hired had finished going through the book and I’d just finished going over all her notes and fixing the mistakes. It was time to email Adam again. I sent the book again. He exchanged a few emails. He sent me a picture for the cover that I didn’t like. It was poorly done. I went and hired myself an illustrator and got a result I loved. Adam requested a marketing blurb and author bio from me. I spent hours crafting them. I was also informed I’d be the one sending out the marketing release.
I agreed to all of this with an I-Can-Do attitude. Let me point out: I’m extremely unfamiliar with the publishing world. I’m quite niave. I trusted my mother and her friend, so therefore I trusted Adam. I toiled over the blurb and bio and sent them off to Adam. In January, Adam placed the book on Hammer and Anvil’s site as Coming Soon In January. It is now February and still says “Coming Soon In January.” I messaged Adam once as to inquire about the status of my book. He said he’d get back to me with all the legalities. Apparently, I get 50% of the sales. I thought this all quite reasonable until someone opened my eyes.
Fiction Press is a site I love using. It’s a helpful platform for writers. You create an account and upload whatever you’ve written to your profile. Other aspiring writers across the web read your stuff and then comment/critique. I’ve uploaded some stuff to it. But more importantly, I enjoy reading stuff other people have written and giving helpful feedback. One evening, about a week ago.. I started a conversation with a user there after commenting on her story.
GSLove is what I wish to call her for sake of anonymity. Apparently, she had self-published to Amazon but hadn’t made terribly too many sales for reasons unknown. I told her about my situation and how ecstatic I was about my publisher. She went on Hammer and Anvil site and did some research. I’ve never been more sorry in my life that I didn’t do something so critical as research. I took everything for granted. Never Ever do that. I trusted and believed people I shouldn’t have. I don’t blame Harry. I believe he has every good intention. Here is a copy of the messaging between GSLove and myself.
My trust for Adam dropped from 95% to 20%. I’m still on the fence about self-publishing, but I’m more than likely to do it. In fact, I am going to go ahead start planning for it and doing research. I refuse to wait and see what comes out of Hammer and Anvil. If they wish to help me and I mean actually do me a lot of good, then.. Good. But every successful person has a good back up plan.
Why am I posting this story for everyone to read? So you can know what I went through and be wary when you publish. To me, self-publishing seems very Stressful. I’m not sure where to start. Or even how to. But I suppose I’ve already done some of the work with the editing, illustrating, and marketing. So far, I’ve spent $1,500 on this and hope to see back all of that plus more.
I’m posting this online as a guide. Everything I do over the next days, weeks, and months with self-publishing I’ll post. I’ve noticed that aren’t really any helpful guides out there for self-publishing. Most of the self-publishing guides out there are years old which means outdated. Technology moves so fast it’s hard to keep up. This will be a live guide – posting as I’m going. This will be a no-bull shit guide. I’ll tell everything how it actually is. No fancy language. Just the truth. I hope this helps.
UPDATE: I edited the conversation between myself and GSLOVE. I edited out Adam’s last name.