I thought I’d better fill you in on the story so far with regards to the publication of RealmShift. The novel has been written for some time and I originally tried the route of traditional publishing. I managed to get an agent that believed in the work; one of the best agents in Sydney, in fact. However, she was unable to place it with a publisher. Harper Collins came very close to publishing it, but changed their minds at the last minute.
Publishing these days is all about the money and not about the art. The same can be said of most creative pursuits, of course, which is why we’re bombarded with atrocious films, music, books, plays and so on, while the really good quality stuff is usually found in the indie markets. With RealmShift and Harper Collins, it seems that the timing was wrong.
Getting picked up by a mainstream publisher these days is a combination of many things. You need a good quality manuscript and a talented agent to sell it to an in-house editor. Then that editor has to sell it again to the publishing group as a whole, which includes the marketers, accountants, sales guys and everyone else involved with every aspect of the business. I expect the cleaner and the lunch lady have a say if they happen to be around. Sometimes an editor can love a book, but fail to sell it at this meeting. Sometimes it’s just a case of bad timing due to other books currently on that publishers list. Maybe it’s just the alignment of the planets that day. For whatever reason, a great book can slip by. That’s what happened to RealmShift.
So the book was shelved for a little while and I worked on other things and wondered what to do. Then I came across the indie underworld of books – the Print On Demand self-publishers. Suddenly I had complete creative control from front to back cover, which suits me fine. I put the book together, bought the ISBN and launched it. I’ll have to do all my own marketing, but that’s not so different to publishing the old fashioned way. Whether a debut book floats or sinks is almost always down to how much the author chooses to promote it and the amount of effort they put in. The publisher will give them six weeks of backing and then walk away. That’s business.
Critical acclaim is what really makes people take notice of a book and RealmShift is starting to get that in spades. With any luck I’ll be able to make this work and flip the bird at those traditional publishers that turned me down. Let them come begging to me when the book is a roaring success. A lot of self-published books have picked up a traditional publisher that way.
I think it was Samuel Goldwyn that said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” So I’m working hard because I know that RealmShift is a great read. And slowly, more and more people are agreeing with me.