I was referred to a vanity publishing company in California (that I will not name, because one never knows who is ready to sue you in these litigious times), to which I paid a substantial amount of money with the understanding they would publish my book and distribute it to major retailers, both on-line as well as to stores. Unfortunately, the publishing business being as hazardous as it is, this company went bankrupt; my money was gone and all I was left with was my book description in a nice, printed catalogue, and a title that is listed on sites all over the net, with the comments “not available at this time,” or “presently out of print.” The book itself never got off my shelf!
The idea that my work would never see the light of day, or even a faint glimmer of sunshine, was too painful to contemplate so, after many years of procrastinating, I pulled out my transcript and set off on a major revision. Once I thought it was ready I had to consider whether the “new and improved” version of my book might not be of interest to a traditional publisher. I certainly had no interest in paying anybody else to be my publisher.
On the other hand, sending out dozens of unsolicited submissions and waiting for months for any expression of interest from some junior editor who might accidentally come across my book in a slush pile did not entice me. I accepted the fact that I probably wasn’t going to become the next John Grisham anyway, and it would be better to have a few people read my book than nobody at all. Fortunately, I don’t have to rely on my writing to make my living (although I am still envious of those who are able to.)
This led me to try POD or print-on-demand, which is so much cheaper than vanity publishers because there is no need to pay for the printing and warehousing of thousands of books. After looking around at what different companies offered I went with CreateSpace, and Kindle Direct Publishing for the e-book. These choices had the benefit of costing virtually nothing except the time it took me to learn to format the transcript and design my own cover.
The Guilty has now been available on Amazon.com for all of three weeks; I guess it’s a little early to say if the experiment has been successful or not. I will give it a few more weeks at least before pronouncing a verdict one way or the other.
If anybody else has gone down the same path I would very much appreciate hearing from you. Sometimes a writer can only avoid despondency when he knows he is not alone in his struggles.