Monday, January 23, 2012

That Gate Swings Both Ways

I have started this at least three times and whisked it away with the magic of backspace. I worried about seeming ungrateful to those I have worked with in my career so far but this thing happened. Wait, no, ANOTHER thing happened  and, well, its getting a bit hard to be a team player when you look around and realize you seem to be the only one actually on your team.

Why sure I'll come up with the idea, create the characters, craft the story, edit, promote, build my platform and be a good girl while you... wait you did WHAT?
If you're reading much about what's going on in print and ebook, traditional and self publishing these days you have run across the term Gatekeeper. The publishers keep proudly proclaiming that the reason writer NEED them is that they are the gatekeepers of all that is good and right and worthy of being published (how do they do that standing next to a stack of celeb centered tomes taller than bestselling author Snooki. Okay, that doesn't take much, bestselling author Khloe Kardashian baffles me).

From poor editing (I've had a few - not at Love Inspired, btw) to poor covers (one sank my single title career before it could even get started) to poor marketing (can it be worse than no marketing? You tell me), any stage of the process of getting a book from writer to reader can make a world of difference. Sometimes they can have long term repercussions that can submarine a whole career. I worry that this may have just happened. With One book.

One book in my backlist that an old publisher decided not to give me back the rights to so they could put it out in an ebook. It's cheap and why not, right? I guess that's what they were thinking. The marketing on it was of the free and why not type. They sent out a book about southern women to reviewers who with one glance can be seen are addicted to Amish. The reviews range from mid range stars with nice comments to 2 stars and outright mean comments. If I were still working with this publisher I might have some say in all this but...

Sigh, so they can mess with my brand, my NAME, with choices like this and feel no pain. I, however, am now wondering about trying to sell and promote ebooks in my name when I know these ugly reviews from people who were clearly never going to like my book (the publisher gave them for free) will pop up and work against me. So, name change anyone?

Probably not but really, it's hard not to feel like even when the gatekeepers are on your side, you gotta watch out not to get your fingers slammed in the gate.