Bankrupt: What do you do when your Publisher no Longer Exists?

You have two options – find another publisher or self-publish them.

This is what I was faced with recently on two of my six books/anthologies. I decided to self-publish Seasons of the Soul and Lockets and Lanterns, because they were published years ago (Seasons of the Soul in 2006 and Lockets and Lanterns in 2012).

I believe self-publishing is the right path to go on these two books. However, this meant I needed to develop a new cover. After all I did not own the rights to the covers, the publisher did. What should I do? Go with an expensive cover designer or do a nice cover without any bells or whistles?

I decided to do the latter. I could not see paying a lot of money for a cover artist on books several years old. Thus I turned to a friend who has self-published, and she is assisting me.

Now since the original Lockets and Lanterns cover never really said romance, and it is a romance, it made sense to have a cover that more matched the genre. In fact at book signings, people often thought this book was either a horror or mystery novel. Although Lockets and Lanterns includes an element of mystery – the husband’s secret – your average mystery reader would not consider it as such. It is pictured below. What do you think?

L&L Coverjpeg

The second problem was the book’s description. It needed to be revised. It did not say “romance” and, of course, it must do that.

This got me thinking about publishers who market all types of genres. They really do not know what each target audience demands. So, although going through my submitted manuscript is going to be a chore since I will have to correct the point size and fonts used and remove all editor’s remarks, it also is a time of rejoicing.

Rejoicing you say? Are you nuts? No, I have been disinterested in these books for quite a while to focus on my new material, such as the recent release of my historical humorous tale, The Bride List. The cover is pictured below.20160104_The_Bride_List_p2

However, now I am excited about these older books. Why?

Because it also took me back to when my autistic sons were younger as relayed in a spattering of personal accounts in Seasons of the Soul. I could relive those trials, such as where the family almost drowned or a humorous tale of when Andrew’s cat went missing. And, I could reread the God-inspired story, loosely based on my grandfather, in Lockets and Lanterns.

So when disaster strikes like a publishing company going out of business. First panic then take a deep breath and realize the positives. Positives of getting the books printed as you wanted in the beginning and are able to do so with self-publishing them.

Have a great spring and I would love to have your feedback on this issue and as always God bless.

10 Comments

  1. Ron Fritsch says:

    Janet, the cover for Lockets and Lanterns looks to me as if the book is a horror novel, or at least a mystery. I’d never guess it was a romance. You should rejoice in losing the publisher who came up with that.

    1. I think it does, too. I am rejoicing in the prospect of a new cover and title to fit the genre intended. God bless.

  2. nagrij says:

    Self -publishing offers the lowest cost overhead, but the drawback is all the time spent in self-promotion. That doesn’t sound like an issue with these two books, so it’s probably fine.

    The cover of the first book might throw a few people off the romance track, but not if you tag it as such. It’s a nice tasteful cover.

    1. Most authors I know say their publisher expects them to do the promotion. Unless you’re with a big publisher, you’re going to have to do a lot of self-promotion anyway, so why share your royalties?

    2. Thanks for your input, Nagrij. You are right self-publishing involves self-promotion. However, a lot of authors with publishers also are having to do more of their own promotions. God bless.

  3. Thank you. Yes, self-publishing does involve promotion. However, even some of the traditional publishers are demanding more of their authors in this regard. So, there are pros and cons of whatever way you go. God bless.

  4. I think the only real benefit of a publisher is having someone else do the book cover, formatting, and editing without paying for it yourself. They also keep track of royalties and send you a check and then send you a 1099 at the end of the year. But all of these things are easy to do this age in self-publishing. The only thing to overcome is the fear of going through the learning curve. (I’ve been in Amazon and Smashwords since 2009, and I’m still learning new things all the time.) I think you’ll find this a liberating experience.

    And I think you’re right. If we do go with a publisher, it is important to go with a publisher who knows our target audience. The publisher needs to know how to write descriptions and make covers that will appeal to your audience. If they don’t, then it makes it harder to catch the audience’s attention. I know the book also matters. A good story is always necessary. But in order to even get the audience’s attention, you need a good cover and a good description. (I wish I could do better descriptions. That is much harder than it looks!)

    1. You are so right, Ruth Ann Nordin. Publishers take a lot of burden off you, but the downfall is that royalties are less. Self-publishing also requires a learning curve and learning anything new frightens most people. However, we also are always learning something new, especially in this technology world. God bless.

  5. I look forward to seeing that new cover! 🙂

  6. Thanks Lauralynn. I think it is going to be awesome. God bless.

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