Publishing Perils and Mental Health

I self-published The Next Stage back in October. Before I did this, however, I sent it out to a few publishers that when I didn’t hear back from, I decided to go ahead with publishing it myself.

A few weeks ago I received an email from one of the publishers that I’d sent to, saying they would like to publish it.

I won’t lie; this got me a little excited as I thought I was finally getting somewhere. Unfortunately, this feeling wasn’t to last.

We looked into this publisher and found that they had published some fairly well-known books, so we thought “Great, they seem reputable.”

After reading the email more thoroughly, I found that they didn’t want to publish my book with a traditional contract, but with something they termed ‘Hybrid.’ I was still excited though as I still thought that this was going to be
something good.

However, when we started to look into what that meant, and the testimonies of others that have tried to do things this way, my good feeling evaporated and left me feeling down.

Let me explain what we found.

Basically, the hybrid contract that this publisher was offering sounded pretty much like self-publishing, only you’re not doing it, you’re paying someone else to do it for you. And for this service, they would ask for a pretty large sum of money – which I don’t have.

We started to look into what other people have said about these kinds of contracts, and the good feeling faded further.

Many people said that this company took their money and did very little for them. That they refused to do any of the marketing that they promised to do. It seemed that they reneged on all of their promises to other authors and left them with a book that was selling and a massive deficit in their finances. This just wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

I’ve only been writing for a while, and I am well aware of the perils of traditional publishing. You may get twenty refusals for every one acceptance, but having this acceptance snatched away from me so unceremoniously took a real bite out of my mental health.

There was part of me wondering what the point of even trying was. I felt like I wasn’t going to get anywhere.

Now, I know that The Next Stage is a good book. The reviews speak for themselves. But struggling with a mental health issue means that even the slightest setback, can cause significant damage to my self-esteem and my want to continue with my writing career.

I’ve now recovered from this setback – because that’s all that it was – I’m continuing with my writing, and I’m probably a few months away from my next release, but this whole thing has left a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to sending my books to publishers.

I know that not all publishers are likely to give me the experience I had above, but I’m now warier than ever about dealing with anyone.

I hope that in the future I will feel confident enough to send things out once again, but for now, I’m just going to stick to doing things myself. It’s hard doing everything from writing to publishing and marketing yourself. But I feel a modicum of control over it now which I’m not willing to give up at the sake of my mental health.

I warn any other – not just those with mental health issues – to be wary of who you send your books to. Please make sure you research them beforehand and be sure of what you’re doing. I obviously didn’t do enough. I think I was probably having a very slight manic “this will be a good idea” moment. But at least now I have learned from the mistake and am now able to continue with my writing.

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