In Which I Want to Punch Someone

I am all kinds of fired up, and I think it’s because I’ve stayed quiet about this for too long. Authors are awesome people; despite gargantuan odds, they chase after their dreams with big hearts, bold ideas, and a smidgen of recklessness. Almost anyone familiar with the process knows it’s next to impossible to get a book published. So it amazes me when writers, despite being an intelligent, educated group–turn into raging idiots.

When my agent took my first book, THE COLLECTOR, on submission, she pitched to lots of different houses: Some traditional NY houses, some medium-sized innovative houses, and even a few small, digital-only pubs. Know why she did this? Because my agent gets that the world of publishing is changing. There are more options now, whereas before there were few. Almost all agents understand this. Most editors and publishers get this. So why are some authors still clinging to old ideas?

Does it sound like I’m angry? If so, it’s because I am.

When I signed with Entangled Teen for my paranormal romance series, I did so for several reasons. A few of which are that Entangled understands how to market romance books like nobody’s business. Another is that they are author-friendly and pay ridiculously high royalty rates. They also assign a publicist to each author (one that actually emails/calls you every week), and they allow the author to have a say in how their cover looks, etc.. In a nutshell, I signed with Entangled Teen because they were the best choice for THE COLLECTOR trilogy.

To this day, I’m happy with my choice. Thrilled, even. Know why? Because the Entangled team is amazing and I know just how lucky my ass is that I was given a chance by ANY house.

*Takes deep breath*

Even though I’m pleased with the decision I made, it seems others aren’t. Allow me to cut to the chase and directly quote a few authors (who I will not name, ever) regarding their thoughts on Entangled Teen. Please keep in mind that these people are saying this directly to my face:

 

“In a few years, Entangled will be like a real publishing house and then you’ll be happy you signed with them.”

“I thought about it…but I just didn’t want a critique partner that wrote for Entangled. I mean, how good could they be?”

“I mean, if her book had been good it would have sold to Big 6.” [An unpublished writer referencing an author’s book that sold to a large independent house]

“Wow, Scholastic? Now you’re like published for real.” [In regards to my Scholastic sale]

“I know I could always get a deal with Entangled. They take everyone.”

“Once you publish with a house like Entangled, you’re pigeonholed as an author New York won’t look at.”

“No, if I’m going to go on submission to sell my book, I’m going to do it the real way.” [In response to me suggesting that Entangled might be a great house to sub to]

“I just think if I took a contract with Entangled, I wouldn’t feel like I was really published.”

And my all time favorite (again, said straight to my face):

“Entangled gets the books that the NY houses don’t want.”

 

*Claps hands* Even I have to admit that last one was a particularly nice dig. Here’s the thing, do we really believe everyday readers care who published a book? Or that they even notice this kind of stuff? I don’t buy it. So why do some authors miss what agents/editors/publishers already grasp? We. Have. Options.

Option 1 – Sign with a big house and typically get better exposure and a larger advance, but less control and lower royalties.

Option 2 – Sign with an independent house and get more control and higher royalties, but less advance and marketing dollars.

Option 3 – Self-publish and keep all the profits and control, but get zero advance or marketing support.

I understand that this is terribly simplified. There are many other things to consider such as editor experience and what not, but you get my point. These are options. I believe most authors get this. They understand that someone who self-publishes or signs with an indie house isn’t a terrible writer–they’re just making a different decision. But there are still some very cruel, small-minded authors out there, and this post is for you, my classy friends. Because no one, including myself, should be made to feel inferior.

But Victoria? You left Entangled Teen to go to Scholastic so you must agree with all the idiots you quoted above.

No. I didn’t leave Entangled. I made a decision based on my needs for that particular series. It’s the same thing I will do for any book I write in the future. I will determine what that book requires, what I need at the moment, and which path is best. And I’ll tell you one thing, if the house I choose chooses me back, regardless of who they are…I’ll be on my damn knees thanking them for the opportunity.

That is all.

I love you Entangled Teen.

I love you Scholastic.

And to all the houses, big and small, in between…I love you too.