by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
We discovered water in our bathroom wall recently, and the damage was extensive. My initial reactions were to first blame myself: How could I let this happen? Next, to be stressed about the time and cost of the repair.
Fortunately, my hairdresser (love this woman!) reminded me that insurance pays for things like this. The transition will be inconvenient and annoying, but in the end, the bathroom will be essentially remodeled for about the price of the deductible. A nice outcome.
I’m trying to keep that in mind as I go through a similar situation in my writing career. With my latest book, a standalone thriller, my editor wants me to make a major plot change, one that I disagree with. My initial reactions were the same as they were for the water problem—a sense of failure, then stress about a negative outcome.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize this could turn well. My beta readers (including a professional) love the story the way it is, and I’m not inclined to cut a plot element that ratchets up the tension on a global level. So, as much as I love publishing with Thomas & Mercer, I’m going indie with this one.
Even though I call it a standalone, the book features Agent Dallas—introduced in Crimes of Memory (Jackson #8)—and will launch a new series. Although publishing with Amazon has been great for my career, it’s not a bad idea to diversify and keep some control of my work.
Additionally, I’ll be able to bring the book to market sooner on my own, and I’ll earn a higher royalty. So this could turn out like the bathroom situation—more benefits than drawbacks.
In the meantime, I have to get my head back into indie mode and start thinking about marketing again. This transition will also be a lot of work and at times frustrating, but ideas are coming to me, and I think my wonderful readers will support me.
What do you think? Am I crazy for sticking with the story instead of the publisher? If you’re one of my readers, will you try the new book?
The issue of crazy is probably arbitrary by now. Becoming a writer is what’s crazy. After that, anything goes. So…not knowing what your choices really are in the new book–between what and what–I can only say what I’ve enjoyed about your books and hope you don’t sacrifice it. And that’s about the quality of the relationships you build between your main characters. I’m not talking about the obvious tensions that drive a good story but, rather, how you take us inside the main characters, at least the good guys, to describe the secret intimacies they feel for one another. That’s what drives your stories for this reader. What keeps me reading is that I care how your characters work things out, and this has a lot to do with those little things your characters know about and feel about each other. Their self-knowledge becomes important. (Well, not the villains, of course.) An occasional high speed chase and gripping “peril” is good, too, but I wouldn’t sacrifice those subtle intimacies for the sake of building in more of the usual sensationalism of screeching tires, “noirish” brutishness, or apocalyptic devices.
Yes I would. I have read all of your books
Did you think of an outside the approach, wherein your publisher allowed you to keep your ebook as is and they publish the paper with the plot they like? That duality alone would generate some interesting publicity, me thinks. But I am a reader, not a writer. Tim Hallinan made a good call by going it alone on his Junior Bender series, when the publishing world wasn’t beating a path to his door and the ones that were weren’t offering much. Tim made the right call as the Junior Bender series hit double pay dirt down the road. Good luck. I have yet to read a book of yours, (so many authors, so little time) but genuinely want to. Best, Kevin
I will definitely read it! I’ve read and re-read all your books, any new books from you is like Christmas! Can’t wait to see how it all comes together 🙂
Catherin Coulter is collaborating for the first time not because she has to but because she wants She said she has this story in mind but she just didn’t have time.
As busy as your are with two books soon to be released, working with someone with like minds should be great for both of you and even great for your fans and followers.
If you are collaborating with an author who has a successful series such as you Jackson series, the end result is unlimited. Go For It