I received yet another solicitation from a small press about my Demonolatry titles today. It seems small publishers see my books and immediately think cash cow. They also seem to think that they can use the “you shouldn’t have to pay to have your book published” and the promise of “legitimacy” as an author as some sort of author bait.
Ask any of my readers and I have no doubt the majority of them (sans other writers who are still brainwashed by the fantasy that writers aren’t legitimate unless they’re published by XYZ publisher) would question my legitimacy as a real author.
You know, back in 1999 I would have never guessed that I would have been solicited so much for my Demonolatry books, let alone guessed that these particular books would be in such high demand. I also might have agreed that being an independent author/publisher was risky (and I suppose in certain cases nowadays it could be, depending what you’re doing) and that being published by a real publishing house made one a legitimate author. [For the record, DB Publishing is a real publisher as is Official Melissa — just sayin’.]
While for most folks being indie is still risky business and there’s still a stigma attached, I think going indie with my Demonolatry books was the BEST thing I ever did. Not only because I’ve been offered some shady contracts over the years, but also because people wanted me to sell out or compromise my beliefs and practices to sell some sort of sensationalized fiction of Demonoaltry, or something softer/gentler that didn’t include poisonous herbs or icky blood.
I don’t compromise or sanitize my beliefs/practices for the benefit of others and if nothing else – no one will ever be able to say I sold out.
Yes, I did start DB Publishing to publish my own Demonolatry texts (and books by other Demonolaters) because the publishers of the day wouldn’t touch my books with a ten foot pole. Funny how times have changed now that they see there is a market for such books.
Yes, I have spent my own money to publish some of these books. Yes, I’ve paid for editors and cover artists. And more importantly — yes — I made all my money back. I realize this is probably not something all indie author/publishers can say, but I can.
DB Publishing (including Official Melissa) does not operate in the red. Sure – we’re not making money hand over fist, but that’s not what we exist to do. We exist to print books about Daemon Worship and Daemonic Magick ala Demonolatry, and many of our fans and loyal readers would tell you we do it well. That is why we still exist and why we’re not operating in the red.
We make enough to keep the publishing house open, and to pay our authors, artists, and editors. Though I assure you none of our authors, artists, or editors are making their sole living from Demonolatry books. Myself included. But then that was never my intention either.
Yes – The Complete Book of Demonolatry was a solo operation. I think you’ll find the forthcoming second edition better edited and including nicer artwork (re: sigils). We can afford editors now. We couldn’t back then. That’s what happens when you grow; you can afford to pay for help.
All publishers start small and grow and there’s a learning curve there. For me – it was a trial by fire. But I built DB Publishing from the ground up. I’m PROUD of what myself, my fellow authors, my artists, and my editors have created. We have earned every reader who collects our books. We have busted our butts to give them the materials they need to further inspire their spiritual paths. Our audience has been painstakingly built over the past 13 years.
So now I ask those other publishers, the ones who have been soliciting me for my books, what can your publishing house do for me that I haven’t been able to do for myself?
The only thing I can think of is they can profit off my name because my name draws readers. I don’t object to this generally, it’s just that I know the economics of my books. I also know that I make a bit more as the author/publisher than just the author. Authors really do get the crap end of the deal when it comes to small press non-fiction. Sorry to say that, but it’s true.
So if you’re looking to entice me to publish with you – you’ve got to give me a really good reason why going with you is better than doing it through my own publishing house. What can you really offer?
I’m all ears.