Friday, July 27, 2012

Self-Pub VS Traditional Pub Series#1: Free Fall into the Trash Bin and NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING

So you want to publish a book? After dealing with a situation that made me feel powerless, I've decided to create a series of posts which will include warnings and advice for aspiring authors, as well as information for my beloved readers who need to know what's going on. Please check the bottom of the post for links to other Noble authors for more information.


This is a wonderful time for authors! There are so many options out there to bring your work to your readers. Literally hundreds of ebook and traditional publishers (which will both be lumped into trad pub in these posts just to simplify) are looking for authors, going through thousands of emails every day, and they are not just looking for the next EL James, Stephenie Meyer, or Amanda Hocking (yes, the last is self-pubbed, but I'm making a point! :^P ). Publishers know there are many wonderful authors out there that won't sell bazillions, but whom readers will love.

To top it off, if you're the type who likes to go it alone, who wants complete control of your work and has the confidence to step into the big bad publishing world bare ass to the breeze, then you have the power to do so! And it's never been easier! As long as you have the money for an editor, a quality cover artist, a formatter, and some to spare for promo, you're good to go. It's hard work, and it could take years before you make back your investment, but if you're good at networking and have some experience under your belt, you might get lucky and make it back within a few months. Kallypso Masters proved it can be done. I stopped being afraid, took her advice, and managed to do the same. I'm not as big as she is, but I've made back my investment and am now making as much money as my SO who gets paid 20$ an hour (and does LOTS of overtime).

**note** MAKING not getting. I'll be getting that money in September, but I'm doing decently for myself right now. Just had to add that for full disclosure.

Now, let's start with the warnings. Why? Because there are things you need to know before you take your first steps. I will give a few warnings about self-publishing before I bring up traditional  publishing because that will tie in with the situation with Noble Romance.

Self-publishing seems easy. With next to no effort, you can publish a document of almost any length with any picture--maybe even one you took yourself. You just need to upload it. There you go, you've got your own ebook. But who cares? You are one unknown amongst thousands of authors and you probably don't have the first clue as to how to get noticed. And if you didn't spend a whole lot of time learning your craft and polishing up that book, the few people who do pick up the book probably won't be impressed. Which ruins any chance you have at getting a jump start from the word of mouth train. This is one of the reasons I suggest most authors publish at least one book with a publisher before trying to go it alone.

There are exceptions, and you may be one of those who have the life experience to make a go of it so I won't say don't go directly to self-pub, but you must make sure you know what you're getting into.

Okay, so you want to go with a publisher. Now I need to give you a great BIG warning-and yes, I'm about to get to the part most of you have been skimming over everything else for <g>

DO NOT send out a single submission until you know everything you can possibly learn about a publisher. I say this because once you send out those emails, you will be so excited to hear back from anybody that you might just take the first offer. You may get rejected so many times that you think no one wants you and then OMG! Someone does!

I am with 2 publishers right now. Total Ebound and Noble Romance Publishing. Total Ebound is a publisher that I can personally recommend. Their covers are beautiful. Their editing process is excellent. Their royalty reports are detailed. I have had very good experiences with them.

As for Noble Romance Publishing, I could have made this entire post about my experiences with them, but I've given them enough of my time and will no doubt be forced to give them more as the situation continues to deteriorate. I would, however, like to take a moment to lay out the facts.

-Royalties are now a week late. Cover artists and Editors have not been paid. In the letter we received which has now been made public, this is the explanation for the delay:

The royalty payments which usually are sent out around the 20th to 25th of the month have not yet been sent out this month ONLY due to the fact that Jill did not provide the necessary royalty reports prior to her resignation.

This will mean that these royalty reports, unfortunately, will have to be compiled by others who do not have the same experience doing them and it will take until possibly the end of next week to have them completed properly, particularly with Sara's vacation schedule.


-Communication has been an issue for a very long time. Emails were consistently ignored. 

-The author's loop where the authors should have been free to discuss their concerns was closed.

There is more, but I am avoiding bringing up anything that may be speculation or hearsay. These are the things I know. These are the things you need to know before submitting to a publisher.

Some publishers may be very new and it may be difficult to find any information on them. However, there are a few ways you can inform yourself. Connect with other authors. Ask questions. I would even suggest bringing your contract to a lawyer who has experience in the business before you sign it. 

Most importantly, find out who the owner is. A majority of publishing houses are run by people with experience in the business. If they've been involved in a publishing company with issues in the past, find out how they handled it.

I am sharing my experiences for that very reason. To make sure aspiring authors are given the tools needed to make informed decisions. I do not know what will happen with Noble Romance Publishing in the long run, but several red flags have gone up that authors in the submission process, now and down the road, need to be aware of.

I will let one public comment made on Facebook speak for itself:

I know some may think it unwise to share this, but my silence in the past has cost myself, and others, enough.

For more information about the situation with Noble, please visit Collection of links to information about Current Noble Romance Publishing Situation

Moving on.

For the next week or so, I will be putting up posts with information and links that you may find helpful in starting--or expanding--your career. I will be opening up the blog to guest posts for anyone who has information they'd like to pass on. This will include positive experiences authors have with their publishers and posts from self-pubbed authors. If you'd like to be included, please email me biancasommerland AT gmail DOT com. 

To finish this off on a positive note, I will be giving away a book on each post to commenters. I think comments are very important because we all have different experiences that may be invaluable to someone. This series is mostly about passing on information, but a little incentive never hurts ;)

**NOTE** The image in this post is from Morguefile

morgueFile free photo:You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using this work in a stand alone manner.

Quoted with permission:

**Although the term has come into the mainstream now, it originally was designed by PublishAmerica to differentiate themselves from standard New York publishers. Of course, it's also tough to come up with a different term, because there are so many models out there. If you're contrasting electronic publishing with self-publishing, you may wish to be a bit more specific than "traditional". With publishers moving into new outlets (such as Harlequin's vanity press), who is to say what's "traditional" anymore?


A better word may be 'standard' or 'commercial' publishing. I used the term familiar to me, but I thought I'd clarify. ;)

**edit** I have been informed that there was an issue because the screenshot contained pictures of people not involved. I have edited the image to removed those pictures. Thanks.


  1. Bianca -

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am looking forward to reading everything you have to share. As a person who does beta reading, editing, and is an aspiring author, i am extremely grateful to read what you have to share about the ins and outs of both sides of publishing.

    You have always presented your arguments clearly and with a great deal of information making it easy for someone reading to form their own opinion.

    Best of Luck in what ever comes your way and I can only speak for myself, but will follow you wherever your stories are published :)


  2. Bianca,

    I also want to thank you for sharing this very personal battle with you fans. Your writing is amazing and look forward to a time when you and my other favorite self publishing authors will receive what is due to them. As with any other occupation, people (usually) do what they love and reaping the rewards of their hard work.

    I am ashamed at the behavior of some in the publishing world. Your presentation is packed full of supported information with links to back it up showing your dedication to your craft.

    Your adoring fans love and support you faithfully. When the dust settle, we will be here with open arms <3.


  3. New authors--and those who've already been published for that matter--should always check places like Preditors and Editors, Writer Beware and the Absolute Write Water Cooler--their forums. They have information on just about every publisher, especially at Absolute Write.

    As a published author I've been burned in the past--early on when I was just getting started--and I've learned to listen to the warning bells that go off in my head. I'm glad I listened to that bell when Jill Noble sent me an invite to join their company. I turned her down, politely, and now I see, yet again, I have avoided a mess.

  4. Bianca

    Thank you for sharing your experiences so others may benefit from your trials.

    - Shannon