On April 8th, my book The Crashers came out. It sold pretty well. It got some nice reviews. People seemed to enjoy it. It felt like the book was gaining some good momentum, for a little indie superhero book from a little nobody author. I was making plans to return to the sequel, The Crashers: Koreatown, to get it ready for publication by winter.
On April 29th, my publisher, Booktrope, announced that they were shutting down effective May 31st. My rights will revert back to me on June 1st. Otherwise, amid rumors, misinformation, mushy legal advice, and a general wave of panic, The Crashers is now homeless. Not dead, per se, but rather shambling toward a quiet, inevitable dark period.
And so it goes. Another small publisher bites the dust. It seems to be happening more and more these days, if the amount of small press authors venting on Twitter is anything to go by. With so many publishers soon to be closing their doors due to poor sales, it's hard not to feel disappointed, frustrated, and maybe a bit foolish for buying into somebody else's dream.
There's a lot of reasons these publishers are folding up, none of which I feel like getting into today. You have Google, friend. Use it at your own discretion.
Other than doing my fair share of screaming on Twitter, I haven't said much on the topic. There have been a lot of upbeat blog posts going around since the announcement. I, uh, wasn't among the upbeat. I wasn't even among those with coherent thoughts to readily dispense on the matter. It wasn't from a lack of trying, of course. I sat down four or five times to write something about it over the last few weeks, but always came up short. At best, I wanted to punch something. At worst, I just ended up crying. It always felt pointless, be it rage or tears. I'm not the first writer to have a publisher fold on her, and I certainly won't be the last. So it goes.
As it stands right now, on May 21st, as I wait for the clock to run-out on both Booktrope's existence and its right to my work, I'm trying to take my own advice. I'm trying to be calm. I'm trying to breathe.
It still stings, and I'm still mad as hell, but I accept it. I'm madder about how this whole thing shook out than the fact that it did, but I'm pretty sure the dirty laundry's been pretty well aired out by this point. That, and you can only yell at a brick wall so long before you realize the brick wall is content to go on its merry way, regardless of how you feel on the matter. (As a side bar, have you ever gone through the five stages of grief in one weekend? I don't recommend it.)
So, I hear somebody asking, what now? What next for me and Crashers? That's a good question. I'm still coming up with my thoughts on that. I've started drafting and sending query letters. I've gathered a list of agents. I've started banging on doors. Is trade publishing an option, or even a good option, for this book? I don't know. Is self-publishing the answer? I doubt it, because I have plans for more books, and it doesn't seem like a feasible long-term solution. I just don't see myself being able to afford the costs of paying the necessary editors and cover designers for the foreseeable future.
I don't have answers. But what I do have is a book and a give 'em hell attitude. So I guess that will have to do for now.