The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu
and the Pythian…but I digress.
The point is, there is a moment of change where a direction is chosen and a path embarked. Eclectic Bard is no different, though that first step and the initial journey are relatively obscure knowledge for most.
Who cares, right? Welllll…I do for one and I think there is a valuable lesson to it for others.
Eclectic Bard Books is the brainstorm of 3 people; one who was trying to be an indie author and having reasonably good success, one who was publishing the traditional route and not having anything that resembled success, at least not with any consistency, and one who…well, was happy to kick the other twos’ arses to do what needed doing and didn’t seem to mind that they had not set a foot down on the path recently. Though the third of us had published decades before, the landscape was now vastly different and the learning curve was large.
How to begin? Where to begin? Do we grow? When do we grow? How do we grow? Who is going to learn what needs learning? Who is going to rep the company? How do we brand? And on and on came the questions. There was more than a lot of hesitation, at least for me. I had a contract, granted one I wasn’t happy with, but I had one. I had a publisher, which took care of the editing, and pricing, and formatting, and covers, and stuff…that was all any author needed, right?
You see, I had a contract and a publisher…but I didn’t always have a voice. I didn’t set the price, which I still believe is too high. I didn’t have autonomy to market the way I wanted…everything had to go through the publisher. I had limitations on how much of the written work could be shared, as well as where, when, and how…
Yes, I had a contract and a publisher – I also had limits. And, I guess here I should say HAVE instead of HAD, because even now…I still have that contract and publisher. I am impatiently waiting for the day that I get my rights back, even though when that happens I will sadly have to give up a cover that I love, that many people worked on to get ‘just so,’ because the cover belongs to the publisher now, not me. Yes, I could have bought back my rights, but that’s a number I could not afford to entertain.
More to the point though, starting the house was a colossal undertaking. We had to learn how to format and the differences between formats. We had to learn how to publish to maximize distribution. We had to learn how to do the financials for a company and balance that against personal interest & what it takes to make authors successful. We had to start developing our resource base for outside personnel to help with pieces until one of us could learn them. And then…we had to learn how to do it all and still make time to write. No a small task by any standard. We split up the work and jumped.
Fast forward to now. We’re several years into the journey, though officially 2.5 years in, and the house roster is a spot more than doubled. It does not change where we began, at least not for me. Recent conversation has prompted me (with a bit of encouragement) to offer some insight into my situation because it is different from anyone else’s at The Bard. I don’t know where this conversation I’m starting will go. I don’t know what avenues will be scoured for morsels of wisdom in the coming weeks. I do know this much is true: there are differences and advantages to ANY scenario where you are afforded the opportunity to publish your work. Which one is right for whom is up to them. For me…I’ll stay right where I am.
More on this next week. Until then – read something good.