Episode 2: The Publishers Strike Back
Posted on July 31, 2009
Original MySpace Publication Date: July 31, 2009
The following is a reprint from Novelspot.net when I hosted a series of behind-the-scenes blog posts during the week of July 20-24.
NovelSpot Blog Day 2
Magandang hapon po! Or as they say in Detroit, good afternoon…or “yo” or “wassup”. We’re a bit informal around here.
Anyway, enough about you. Where were we?
Ah, yes. I’m Kristoffer Gair and this is day 2 of my week-long blog of behind-the-scenes on how my books ever saw the light of day. (And, just for the record, I don’t believe in needing a card to get a sale price at a store. Why apply for a loyalty card when there’s no chance of my being loyal? I’m just sayin’.)
So, the main character of Andy Stevenson in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation” might best be summed up with an analogy I wrote in the book that came to mind when reflecting back on my own life. And I’m paraphrasing myself here, “A friend once told me to look at any potentially negative situation as a glass half full, not half empty. I just wanted to know who drank out of my glass when I wasn’t looking. He said I missed the point.” Andy misses a lot of points in life, which is why I believe he was so much fun to write.
The first draft of “A Funny Thing…” took about 3 ½ months to complete, then I started sending query letters out while I edited it. Publishers weren’t interested, but I did find an agent who was willing to represent me. She did so for a year, only nothing came of it and she took her agency in a different direction. I can only assume that meant “up” or “profitable”. That aside, I began sending query letters out again and finally caught the eye of a small press in California. They wanted the book, sent me a contract and I had a lawyer look it over, something I recommend EVERY writer do before signing one. The book came out a year later.
I was officially published! Yes, I had my very own book that featured a cover that had nothing to do with the plot of the story and bled when it got wet, binding that fell apart if you opened it one too many times—severely limiting my audience or so I felt, a missing punchline at the end of the chapter because it would have meant an additional page they didn’t want to provide and, last but not least, an inconsistent printing process.
Regardless, I busted my hump getting word out about the book, garnered some favorable reviews, arranged a book tour, financed it with the help of my partner and did the best I could with what was available. It was enough to attract a publisher for the historical book. Unfortunately, as with “A Funny Thing…”, there was a catch. The new publisher put a $33 price tag on the soft cover book, which severely limited the audience.
My first publisher, meanwhile, paid me one royalty check and then stopped paying their authors altogether, eventually going out of business a year after that. This left me with only a few copies I was able to snag from a distributor who was kind enough to sell me what they had since all the other books from that publisher were going in the garbage. Incidentally, I found an original copy of the book listed on Amazon last year for $300-$400. Somebody was enjoying some crack.
So, I no longer had royalties coming in from the first book and found out that I would only begin receiving royalties from the historical book after the first 1,000 copies were sold. And when I did, which I haven’t yet, they would be split with my co-author.
Talk about a bleak Empire Strikes Back ending!
But there was hope on the horizon…and it had nothing to do with Sharron Stone coming back for Basic Instinct 2.
In Two Weeks: what happened next.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
One Response to “Classic Blog Post: Episode 2: The Publishers Strike Back”
Katy Trick says:
June 29, 2013 at 9:22 am
Yikes! Good thing you write for the sake of writing and now the e-publishing business has made it a little easier o get published. This sounds a little bit like a nightmare.
I love your writing, so I hope you keep it up and I hope getting it out to the public is never that agonizing again.