Ok, I’ve scared you away from the
vampires agents/big publishers, and I’ve scared the vampires so much they have resorted to name-calling only because they cannot refute anything I posted. (My favorites so far are MAGA-lover – I didn’t vote for Trump – Rabid – I was never a member of the Rabid Puppies during the Hugo Awards kerfuffle in 2015 or ever before or after – and the grand finale of the desperate who can’t refute facts – a racist white supremacist – my Hispanic wife, half-Hispanic children and half-Asian grandchild are still laughing at that one). Come to think of it, I’m sure my Cherokee ancestors (maternal side people, I’m not 100% Italian-American) would be laughing at these desperate vampires too. But you still don’t want to go full Indie because the prospect seems scary and daunting.
So, you ask, now what am I supposed to do?
First, there is no shame in not taking the leap of faith that Indie publishing requires. It isn’t an easy thing to do and not everyone has the confidence needed to gamble on your own abilities.
But if you don’t want to fall into the trap and let the vampires suck out every ounce of your artistic soul while promising “one day you’ll get to the Big Five!” and see your manuscript wither and die in a New York City slushpile but you just don’t feel up to the task of taking on the full load yourself there are a few options.
Smaller houses exist that don’t require an agent for an author to submit. In fact, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few of them as my Indie career has progressed. And had I not gone Indie and had the success I did, I would never have had the opportunity to work with them.
Belanger Books – which does Sherlock Holmes anthologies and sci-fi is run by the Belanger brothers. I have had three of my stories appear in their Holmes’ anthologies – “A Lesson In Mercy (Beyond Watson -2015)”, “The Woman Returns (Holmes Away From Home – 2016)” and in December of this year “The Misplaced Mystery Writer (Holmes in the Realm of H.G. Wells”. They are also soon to release “My Peculiar Family, Vol. II” which I will be a part of with my story “Spinster’s Manor”.
Superversive Press – again, mostly sci-fi, but Jason Rennie is publishing some great stuff and I will be a part of the upcoming 11-book Planetary Anthology series due to be released throughout 2018.
Silver Empire – Russell Newquist’s sci-fi, fantasy and horror imprint is off to an incredible start and I see great things to come from them. I have submitted to their “Stairs In The Woods” anthology and I can’t wait to read it.
Baen – they are the monsters in sci-fi, and it takes a year to hear back from them on submissions because that’s how many they receive, but if you want a house that does not require an agent this is the one to go to.
Castalia House – say what you want about Vox Day, this house can produce content and does not need an agent for you to submit. They also don’t give a damn about PC, they just want great stories (as do all of the other houses in this list.)
Now there are many other non-sci-fi/fantasy small houses that are good to submit to and you will need to do your due diligence on each of them to make sure they are a good place to do business with. I recommend checking out their authors and see how well those books are doing. Reach out to them and to others for as much information as you can get your hands on.
But let’s say you do want to go Indie but just don’t know how to proceed. There is one house that might work for you. (Disclaimer: I am a partner with them.)
Black Dog Publishing has started a new program for first-time authors looking to Independently publish their work. The program provides triple-editing, cover creation and e-book & print production formatting. The manuscript is then uploaded to online platforms to be sold. And, the author is booked for a one-hour appearance on The Writer’s Block, an online radio show with a documented weekly audience of over 400,000 listeners (i.e. potential customers to purchase your book.) The author also gets a considerably higher amount of the royalties than they would anywhere else. Both Jim Christina and I want to see new authors succeed and keep as much of the profits from their work as they can.
So there you go. There are plenty of other options that will likely produce a great deal more income for you – again depending on how much work and effort you put into it.
If you still aren’t sure, let me provide a couple of examples for you. Google Larry Correia, an independent author who has been so successful he just bought a mountain – that’s right, I said an honest-to-god MOUNTAIN! And I’m not talking some little foothill either.
And look at me. Escaping Infinity’s incredible run of awards and sales this year was no fluke. And the just completed Del Rio Series is off to a great start too. I wrote them, had them professionally edited and released them all on my own.
When I threw garlic and holy water at my agent and traditional publisher I didn’t know a damn thing about Indie Publishing. I’ve since won several awards and am receiving 5-Star reviews that would make any Acquisitions Editor drool over. I’m doing just fine – okay, I don’t have my own mountain (yet) but we all can’t be Larry – and I have every confidence that you will be fine as well.