Often times as authors, it is the little things that come our way that make all the difference. We are not in this writing business for the money – well, yes, partly, but the raison d’être for most of us is the passion to weave words together, tell a story, create an alternate world, stir the emotions. Making money is never the top priority nor is being in a race to sell the most books, and if it is, then at the core of the matter you are not a true writer. You are a book seller.
I recently came under vicious criticism for the dismal sales the first few months that Wings At Dawn came out in 2019, and as you can imagine, it came from someone who is neither author nor publisher, not even involved in any of the literary genres, and worst of all, a person who has never even read my book. It was vicious, ignorant, and well, from someone who will never understand the passion that drives a writer to write!
As a literary activist, if one book can change the life of just one person, save someone from abuse or trafficking, create awareness among a small group of people who were blind to the issues, then my heart is fulfilled. I can’t be out there with the social workers, lawyers or other anti-trafficking organisations to do the actual field work. My weapon is my warrior spirit and my pen, and this is the conviction that helps me push ahead every morning when I place my hands on the keyboard. Satisfaction is not in the sales report from my publisher, but in the emails from my Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. family (officially I have to refer to them as my publishing team) reassuring me that they have my back, and continue cheering me on no matter what.
For the uninitiated among you, there are three types of publishing options: the traditional, self, and the hybrid or contract (sometimes referred to vanity publishing). I won’t go into detail about who does what, but to make a long story short, I tried self-publishing for three books and marketing was not only a nightmare, but also an utter flop, a lot of it due to inexperience and a stubborn refusal to tap the power of social media for drumming up publicity (Twitter in particular is mind-boggling powerful).
Finding an agent and going down the traditional publishing path is far more daunting than anyone will ever tell you. It is a cut-throat, cruel world paved with rejection, but one that trains and seasons you to perfect that damn query letter. I’m getting very good at it, mind you!
Then there is the niche that I stumbled upon and do not regret for a day – hybrid publishing. In this sector, the marketing and listing of the book in the bookstores worldwide is handled by the publisher, the royalties are split between publisher and author, the author shoulders the costs but maintains all rights to the book, in addition to having input in editing, design and marketing. It is hands-on teamwork without the stress of self-publication and agony of traditional publication. The disadvantage here, which I discovered only later on, is that if you want to join certain elite literary circles for your particular genre, e.g. the International Thriller Writers Association, they only accept traditionally published authors, and consider hybrid publishing as self-publishing. The list is long of where you can or cannot be accepted as a “hybrid” author and it is a severely underrated and unacknowledged sector which I hope will gain recognition sooner rather than later for the sake of the authors.
Where am I going with all this? I’m glad you asked! Fiction books dealing with controversial social issues such as human trafficking, child trafficking, child pornography are much harder to sell and market than many other genres out there. I have no steamy sex scenes or passionate romance to offer – the sex and passion in my books take on a very different form, being close to a walk on the dark side rather than entertainment. Most readers of Wings At Dawn will tell you that my brand of sex and passion makes it difficult to get through the scene and turn the page. So yes, it is a struggle, but like I said, it is all about changing lives. Having said that, yesterday I received a charming email informing my that Wings At Dawn is eligible for the Book of the Year Award, and was given instructions on how to proceed. You bet your bottom Dollar / Euro / Peso that I jumped at the chanced and got all fired up. So here is the link: