The very prolific suspense author and physician, Dr. Richard Mabry, used to be the only male among us, a Suspense Brother, if you will. His busy schedule forced him to withdraw from regular contributions to this blog, but he keeps in touch!
So, Richard, what’s been going on with you since you left Suspense Sisters?
At that time, my next contract was with Gilead Press. However, publication of my novel, Cardiac Event, was delayed by a hold-up in financing the new publishing house. When the delay stretched out, they were kind enough to allow a reversion of rights back to me of that novel (including the cover), and after considering the options, I decided to indie-publish it.
Even though I did this through my agent (making it actually agent-assisted publication), there was a lot for me to learn and to do. I now have four indie-published novellas and one (soon to be two) novels that were issued without going through a traditional publishing house. It’s been a long journey. I continue to learn, but there’s more to come.
What differences have you seen between publication via a traditional house and indie-publication?
A traditional publishing contract is vindication of a sort, and I think this is important, especially in the early days of a writer’s career. They suggest ways in which the manuscript can be improved, handle the cover design, arrange for line- and copy-editing, market the book, and in general are in charge of things.
When an author chooses to indie-publish, they bear the ultimate responsibility of manuscript editing (and I can’t stress enough the importance of using a professional’s help here), cover design (again, a situation where using a professional pays off), marketing, and lots of other things that weren’t ever worries when a publisher handled them.
The main difference, of course, comes in the schedule—a book must be slotted into a publisher’s schedule, while an indie author controls the timing—and in the royalty structure. Publishers pay an advance against royalties, while the indie author gets nothing until the book starts to sell. Actually, he/she has paid to have the book edited and a cover designed.
So, what’s next?
My next full-length novel, Guarded Prognosis, releases on July 17. It’s available in Kindle and print format via Amazon.com. It’s actually offered for pre-release starting June 25, with a special price for the Kindle version during that time. Here’s the back cover copy (and, oh yes, the indie author has to write that as well):
When Dr. Caden Taggart saw the two men sitting in his waiting room, he didn’t think they were patients. He was right, and when they introduced themselves as agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency, things started to get bad.
Then Caden felt as though someone had gut-punched him when his father, Dr. Henry Taggart, told him he probably had carcinoma of the pancreas. When he talked about his son assisting with his suicide, Caden wondered how he could talk him out of that.
When he shared his news with his wife, Beth, she tried to assure Caden that God was in control. But as things progressed, he was unsure that was true. At first, he feared for his freedom. Then for his ability to cope. Eventually, he feared for his life.
You’ve had quite a journey since we last heard from you. As a final word, would you advise indie-publishing for the authors among our readership?
As I’ve said, a traditional contract is a vindication of sorts, and I think it’s especially important for a previously unpublished author. However, publication is a business, and slots for new authors are getting to be fewer. Many of us who have been previously published by various houses are now exploring the world of indie-publication, becoming “hybrid” authors.
The best advice is always what I’ve heard from the very beginning. Write the best book possible, keep on learning, and roll with the punches. That should be the mantra of every writer, whether unpublished or multi-published.
Thanks for letting me talk with your readership. And I look forward to your next one, as well.
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