Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Why I’m quitting my e-publisher

Five years ago when my first novel, Spirit Bear, was accepted by an e-publisher, I was a happy guy. Sure, it wasn’t a traditional publisher, but it was a beginning.


The contract was for three years, included free cover art, a forty percent royalty for sales from the publisher’s site, and a complicated formula for sales by third parties.


It didn’t matter.


Within a year I had two more novels published by them: Eagleridge Bluffs and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. The three books comprised the stand-alone series Eco-Warriors, contemporary romances with a sub-plot that addressed important environmental issues.


Sales for these three novels have been at best very disappointing, and at worst non-existent. They’re not great books, but they deserve better.


Like everything in life (at least for me) publishing is complicated. There are a myriad of reasons why a book succeeds or fails. I can’t deal with myriads of anything so I’ve narrowed it down to two elements – success is measured in sales and sales alone, and if I don’t have sales it’s because my books aren’t good enough.


I simply have to believe that an excellent book will find an audience. I still believe this despite mounting evidence it’s just not the case. For example, I’ve discovered three stellar novels: War in a Beautiful Country, The Last Bad Job, and Not Lost for Lookin’ in e-book oblivion - for free.


If these three authors could have their work overlooked, well maybe…


My last two books, Forest – Love, Loss and Legend, and The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic are commercial/literary and so it seemed pointless to list them with a publisher whose site features primarily erotica, fantasy, and genre romance.


Having some expertise in publishing and graphic arts it wasn’t difficult to self-publish. And guess what? My self-published titles are outselling the books on my publisher’s site. Let me rephrase that. My two self-published books are doing no worse than the three on my publisher’s site.


So within a year I’ll have withdrawn these three books from my publisher’s site and will re-issue them as self-published titles.


Will they do better? I don’t know, but here’s what I do know:


- Right now these books are listed for $5.99 on my publisher’s website. According to Amazon and Smashwords the price is too high. As a self-published author I can control the price.

- I can also be more engaged in marketing. With my publisher it was difficult if not in violation of our agreement to have sales, giveaways, or other promotions.

- They’ve only agreed to convert one of my books to paperback – Not Wonder More. As an indie author it costs me nothing to have a print version as well as digital one available to my readers.

- they can’t do worse.


Self-publishing is becoming more sophisticated all the time. The ease of use, value added marketing programs, and attractive royalties make it a viable if not preferable option over contracting with an e-publisher.


E-books will continue to flourish, but not, I think, e-publishers.