Last weekend I was away at PaganCon, which is a small, regional Pagan conference held in Preston every year. Though it’s a small event, it’s a particularly good one with a variety of topics covered in the talks and workshops rather than the same old tired rehash of the same old stuff that you get at some conferences, even big ones.
That’s only part of the reason I go there. I have friends in the area, including the organisers of the event, and it’s a chance to visit and catch up, which also tears me away from my computer for a break for a couple of days once a year. This year I was purely a guest and didn’t do any talks or workshops. It made a nice change. Among other interesting things going on, a rescue bird organisation was set up and I got to have an Eagle owl named Elsie sit on my arm, which was great fun.
One of the friends I ran across among the guests is the owner of a well-respected publishing house which is to occult publishing what Tor is to Fantasy books, THEE publisher to aspire to. My publisher for my early books is perfectly respectable, but they tend to do a lot of beginner stuff and lean more towards Wicca while this other publisher produces more intellectual stuff aimed at magicians, which is where I self-define. Ironically, I’ve put a couple of people their way while still publishing with the more witchy publishers.
I’ve blogged before about putting out some new stuff and my plan to simply self-publish it to maintain control. I’ve long since made my reputation in this genre and my past publisher is still dragging their feet about joining the digital market, while I keep getting requests from my readers for digital versions of my books. I can’t exercise much control over books already contracted to a publisher, but I can write new ones and publish them independently.
Enter a spanner in the works: The respected magical publisher has asked me for some of my new stuff. I told him about what I’m working on and he’s very interested. So, this brings up the question: which path is better for the books in progress? A well-known publisher with an established distribution network who will place the books in appropriate shops worldwide, or maintaining control and selling solely online?
By the end of the day I had decided that he will get the Ganesha book. Ganesha deserves that level of respectability, and it will give me an opportunity to see how things go with books placed with this publisher. The next books which will cover subjects I’m known for and already have in print, chaos magic and nature spirits, I will go ahead and self-publish so that I can compare results.
Luckily I have more than one book on chaos magic planned, as that’s a subject that will be of particular interest to this publisher. It’s an area that I’m particularly known for and am continually amazed to see my name put in the same lists with the early luminaries of the subject. I may even change my mind about self-publishing those at all. Some other projects on the back burner can be assessed when I get to them, after I see how things are going along.
Among them is a basic guidebook to occult traditions that I started years ago and have procrastinated on for far too long, partly because my old publisher would not accept it with left hand path information included and I was not prepared to water it down. The whole purpose of the book is to guide those interested in the subject on what paths are out there and what they do. It’s the sort of book I would like to have had available when I was young and new to the subject and would probably be best placed with a good publisher who will get it into shops as well as online sources where those who need it most can access it, even if they have a need to do so privately.
It’s pretty cool when a top publisher in your genre comes to you. Unlike the fiction, I’m an established author in the field catalogued as Mind, Body, Spirit and there is a definite market for my books. It will be interesting to compare small publishing to self-publishing in a niche market. Either way, the books will still be for sale on Amazon.
I’m not abandoning fiction by any means. I had an unintended compliment from one of the trolls in that arena who mistakenly accused me of also being another author (who is actually a much better author than me in my opinion) recently and has even got a couple of her friends to write bad reviews of his book based on samples. Luckily the author in question only laughs it off, as well he might when these sad people make themselves so obvious. Pen names do confuse some people and I do have another one, but the trolls have never sussed that one and there are no publishing connections to connect it with me, as I use it solely for commercial writing.
I’m nearly finished with the final edit on the last goblin book and should have it available in the next week or so, then I will be releasing a combined edition on Amazon to make use of their KDP Select tools. I’ve had an upsurge in sales these past couple of months and making time to finish the science fiction novel keeps nagging at me, despite too many projects demanding my attention at once. I’m on a self-imposed deadline on the film editing which will get a lot of my time once this book edit is complete, but I will make some time to finish off the Ganesha book this year for sure. I’ve been a published author in the occult genre for nearly twenty years, getting invited to submit something to one of the genre’s most respected publishers makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.