G.D. did me the favor of submitting The Rogue Decamps to Dark Owl Publishing. He has a relationship with them, having done some editing for them. The head of the company gave a quick reply. GD reports:
“She said she did enjoy the manuscript and loved the illustration, but the books she’s currently featuring are darker, horror stories. For some reason, she suggested that Baen Books might be interested in publishing it.”
Frankly, when I looked at Dark Owl’s website, at their range of books, I was not optimistic that Sly would go there. I have looked into Baen. I have the same impression. It is another genre site, of the horror/fantasy/ wizards/dragons variety. Also, I am put off by the many very specific instructions for submitting. I fear I will break a rule and be immediately rejected on that account.
I have found two small publishers on ‘29 Book Publishing Companies For Authors Without Agents’, on Kindlepreneur. Both publish such a variety of material that Sly might fit. Am I mad? This is fast company; both have published titles that have made the New York Times Bestseller lists. On the other hand, what have I got to lose? A genre publisher is not going to take me.
I will submit to Skyhorse Publishing and Kensington Publishing. I’ve already submitted to a small publisher in London. I hoped my Elizabethan nonsense might appeal to them. That was my thinking when I tried Unbound several years ago. I never heard back.
But I will continue to ready ‘Decamps’ to self-publish, while I solve my image problems. What are my image problems? I cannot pin down the definition of ‘fair use’. (Encompassing, so I read, images that are altered to a substantial degree, something entirely new made of them.)
I pull images off the web, marry them, and manipulate them. I have the top half of one face, and the bottom half of another. Feathers are feathers, who’s to say where I got them? I can replace the unique ribbon-doo-dad. The ruff, I am very attached to that ruff.
Dreamstime will sell me the rights for personal use (a greeting card, etc.) for one price; for commercial use (a published book) for another. I must purchase the rights to four images, and mess with three others until they are unrecognizable.
Easiest is to place Sly on Kindle, but the advantage of these small publishers is that they display their books as in a catalogue; you have a chance of being noticed. Your book is not one of the millions that sinks in Amazon’s Sea of Heartbreak like a stone.
Do I dare to buy rights for personal use only? Another reason to self-publish. I may take a chance. I can’t ask a publisher to risk it. I’m thinking of throwing my money at the cover, and deleting the other images in the book.
Another thing about Baen. They want at least a hundred-thousand words. I’m thinking, gang ‘Rogue Decamps’ right-side up, ‘Rogue at Sea’ upside-down, the back cover is the cover for book two. You’ve seen that done, right? Books one and two ganged will give me the hundred thousand words.
I read that publishers don’t want to take on a novella. Too much work for too little profit. It’s Kindle for me, I’m afraid. At least we have Kindle. Kindle is a distribution mechanism few, twenty years ago, dreamed of.
I’m going to call Dreamstime on Monday and lay my cards on the table. I’ve just been advised (on Medium) to pay it straight. And I see that when I sign up for a subscription plan I get a certain number (how many depends on size and use) of free downloads. I’ve made up my mind, I guess.
The path to publication: a rocky road.
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