Ladies and gentleman, I’m proud to host the following piece by my good friend, and fellow author, Mr. Claude Bouchard.
Not quite three years ago, I pulled up the first of three manuscripts I’d written in the mid to late 90s. I’d thought they were good back then and with the advent of POD suppliers, I just had an urge to see one of my books in print. I started reading what I’d written some fourteen years prior and was pleased to see that, though biased as I was to judge the work, it was still pretty damned good.
From that day onward, I spent hours every day, reading, revising, nipping and tucking until I had self-published not just one but all three books and started writing another. Receiving my novels in print was a joy and handing out a bunch of signed copies at a family gathering was quite the rush. I was a published author, even if the publisher was, well, me. Then something incredible happened… A total stranger in Pittsburgh bought my first book! Someone paid money for my writing.
Skimming through the months which followed, I continued to write all while diving into the social media game to get my name out there. EBooks joined my printed formats which helped increase sales and word of mouth slowly pushed things forward. Then came December 2009…
I was approached by someone I’d met on Twitter who informed me she was becoming a literary agent under the watchful eye of a close friend who was already a highly successful agent. Would I be interested in representation? You bet your tuckus I was! Having started from nothing, I was now on my way to a publishing contract with marketing support, printing facilities, distribution networks! I had really made it!
Months went by but nothing happened. In fact, eighteen months went by before something did happen. The problem was, what happened sucked. My agent, who also represented some twenty writers, either self-imploded or spontaneously combusted. We never found out exactly which but the bottom line was, we no longer had representation.
However, the cool thing was, my books were already out there and my sales were consistent to modestly increasing. While losing my agent was initially a slap in the head, the sting was pretty much gone by the next morning as I got up to start another day of what I was already doing; writing and selling my novels. And I’ve kept going and progressing since.
At the time of the agent meltdown, I had five books out there. Just over half a year later, I have seven, my latest, Discreet Activities, having been released just yesterday. I’m making all the decisions. I write what I want, I’m not pressed with deadlines, I set my prices, design my covers, offer specials when I decide, all of this with nobody to report to or convince but me. Sales are improving as well. In December, I sold as many books as I had in my first twenty months in the literary industry. My January sales were 13% over December’s.
The traditional publishing world has always been a difficult one to crack and that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the literary industry where POD, eBooks and publication ease has opened major avenues for indies. Yes, there is some bad stuff out there but there is also some incredible work which none of us might have ever seen without this indie revolution. I certainly know I wouldn’t have sold the thousands of books I have to date, nor would I have fans, yes, fans, asking me when the next one is coming. So, until something major happens to sway me, I’m 100% pure-blooded indie.
Website of crime thriller author Claude Bouchard