Getting the rights back to a book is like going through a divorce. It’s a decision to terminate a contract, negotiate a deal, get custody and part.
It’s ironic that I worked over twenty difficult years to secure a publishing contract from a top publishing house and after getting that contract, decided to part ways. Like marriage, we began on amicable terms. A new line was being started by an established publisher and I was contracted as a debut author. Finally, an editor understood my work. One contract led to five additional contracts and I felt at home.
As with a poorly suited marriage, my editor left and the new editor didn’t understand my work. The line I had sold my manuscripts to was never promoted and authors were left to drift on their own. Debut authors were essentially abandoned, as the new editor had a new focus, new ideas and preferred styles of plots and writing. When my sixth contracted novel (four were published during the previous editor’s employment) was in the editing stages toward publication, I realized that it wasn’t going to work. My beloved novel, my baby, was being ripped apart and the request was for a total and complete rewrite. My style and the editor’s were at odds.
I made the decision to request a rights reversion of that novel and it was gladly given. After seeing how my earlier novels were languishing, I decided to have the rights reverted to them as well. I regained custody of my novel.
Self-publishing no longer held the stigma of inferiority as it once had. Many famous and midlist authors were going the self-published route. If I were to promote my novels by myself, I may as well maintain total control and sink or swim alone.
Slowly but surely, I am republishing my novels. I’m doing them my way. There is a sense of freedom to this process. It feeds my entrepreneur spirit.
It is like being single. I am now in charge of my own product (my babies) and my own destiny. Having control takes money and has a learning curve. Success isn’t guaranteed or easy to attain.
I am still new at this game.