Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Angie Fox on Taking Charge of Your Career

Angie Fox
The Last of the Demon Slayers
Pub date: November 2010
Agent: Jessica Faust

(Click to Buy)

Jessica talks a lot on this blog about taking charge of your publishing career. I used to think that it meant learning all you can about the business so that you can make an educated decision about agents, publishers, and how to make that first sale. And that is very important. But since I’ve been published, I’ve discovered that securing that initial book contract is only the beginning.

My first book came out in 2008 from Dorchester Publishing. The Accidental Demon Slayer went on to sell very well. In fact, it hit the New York Times bestseller list. The second and third books in the series followed. I worked hard at my craft, at telling the best stories I could, and I enjoyed the looks on some readers’ faces when I told them I write about a demon slayer who runs off with a gang of geriatric biker witches.

Then the biker witches hit a pothole. My publisher was having trouble distributing books and paying authors. Dorchester wasn’t meeting its contractual obligations regarding my books.

Jessica and I considered things carefully before we knew what we had to do. We contacted my publisher – the publisher I’d been so thrilled to sign with – and we took back the rights to my upcoming book. I would no longer publish my series with Dorchester.

Yes, it’s easy to say: Take control of your publishing career. But I’ll be the first to tell you – it’s daunting. It was the strangest feeling knowing that I alone was in charge of my next release. I mean, some days, I can barely find my car keys.

Now I had this great book on my hands – a book I’d worked so hard to write and that I was so proud of – and I had to decide what to do next. There was a demand. The Last of the Demon Slayers is a great stand-alone book. It takes the biker witches on this crazy cross-country ride. People have been asking about it, even when they haven’t read the first books. I was getting a lot of email from both new and established readers asking when they’d see the book. And after the issues with the publisher became public knowledge, many readers worried if they’d see the book.

So I took another plunge. With Jessica’s help, I’m releasing The Last of the Demon Slayers on Kindle today. But even if readers don’t have a Kindle, they can get Kindle for PC (that’s what I use) or Kindle for Mac, which are both easy ways to get the same book on your computer. We’re also hoping to follow up with a paperback version.

I owe it to my readers to give them the book that they’ve been hearing about for the past year. And I’ve come to realize I owe it to myself as a writer. I’m so stinking proud of this book and I need to get it out there, if only to stay sane and happy.

And I’ve learned an important lesson through all of this. Publishing is hard. Things don’t always turn out how we wish or how we’d planned. But the most important thing you can do is commit yourself to keep writing, and innovating, and growing.

In fact, I just signed a three-book contract with St. Martin’s Press. I’ll be writing a darkly humorous paranormal saga about an otherworldly M*A*S*H unit, called The Monster MASH. And I’m also writing two fun, quirky novellas for Kensington books. Both of those are due out next year. It just goes to show you that publishing can be rocky, but the ideas don’t stop.

Looking back, I don’t know why I thought things would always go smoothly after I sold that first book. Life just isn’t like that. We can’t always expect it to be safe or comfortable.

In fact, I’m as keyed up about today’s release as I would be if The Last of the Demon Slayers was sitting on a shelf at Walmart. This is an unknown, a whole new experience. But it was something I had to do. So I suppose today is the perfect day to take a bit of advice from the biker witches: Control what you can, let go of what you can’t, and enjoy the ride.

Would you like to learn more? Visit Angie at www.angiefox.com.