Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.

Archive - April, 2016

When You Part Company with Your Publisher
posted by Ed Farber on April 11, 2016

Apologies for not having written here in some time. But I've been busier than normal. The reason? I am right in the middle of re-publishing my novel, Elixir of the Incas. The original publisher of the novel and I have concluded our contractual arrangement. Not on friendly terms, I might add. The reason? I had assumed that the publisher had thoroughly edited my manuscript prior to having it printed. I was wrong. A reviewer to whom I had sent the printed copy informed me, as a favor, that the book contained many editing errors, too many. The publisher’s primary job prior to printing is to see that the manuscript’s typos, etc. are eliminated so that the finished book is free from such errors.

I certainly admit that some of the errors that appeared in the printed edition were in my manuscript copy, and I did read the pre-press proof and caught some of them, but not all. As the reviewer wrote, “from my experience I know that writers are often blind to their mistakes because they read their stuff so many times—the publisher gets the blame for not catching them. That’s one of the primary things they do.” And some of the errors were not even mine, like not indenting a quote in a paragraph of dialogue, leaving off a quote mark, or an extra letter “n” added at the end of the word “silence.”

I did write to the publisher with a list of the errors and asked that the book be re-edited. I heard nothing back. In further contact, the discussion was more than heated, and the end result was that I asked that our contract be terminated since I wanted my publisher to be on my side not an adversary. The contract was terminated by return e-mail, and the book was instantly removed by the publisher from its Amazon listing, and, I suppose, anywhere else the book was listed. I did find out that the book had been initially printed through CreateSpace on a POD basis and distributed through Amazon. Obviously, the publisher was a small, independent outfit, not a major publishing company.

What comes next? I inquired at Amazon and was told that the only way to have the book re-listed was to begin all over again. I could have tried to find another publisher, but that would have taken an unknown, but probably lengthy amount of time. I decided to self-publish. And that’s where I am right now--having the book thoroughly re-edited and having a new cover design created. However, according to Amazon, I will lose the excellent 5-star reviews the book earned despite the poor editing.

In conclusion, I learned that while most authors dream of having their book accepted and printed by a publisher, that dream could become a nightmare.

While self-publishing is no easy matter, in recent years it has become a giant alternative to the traditional way books were published. And, most importantly, it is totally under the control of the author...me!