Number 13 in The A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction, part of the A to Z blogging challenge.
Why? Now that’s a good question. Why did I go through Meizius Publishing to bring out One Green Bottle when I could have done it on my own? When you self-publish you get to keep 70% of the retail price – go through a publisher and it’s less than a third of that. As for promotion, it makes little difference – you have to do it anyway. Unless you’re Martina Cole or Lee Child, gone are the days when the publisher did it all for you. So what’s the point of being traditionally published, especially by a tiny outfit like Meizius?
When I started out, I knew nothing about all this. So naturally, the first thing I did was approach agents. I got the usual mix of standard rejections, nice rejections and the occasional you-came-very-close rejection. One who said, ‘I like this very much. Can you tell me more about yourself?’ So I sent a brief bio and never got a reply, which had me wondering where I’d gone wrong in my life. OK, I’m Welsh, but even so. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that I eat babies. I’ve heard that agents can be a bit squeamish about that. Another answer I got was, ‘Please do consider us in future if you decide to write a novel.’ Silly me! I’d obviously clicked the wrong link and sent the dishwasher instruction manual.
So anyway, after a while, I got fed up and wrote directly to publishers. Meizius, second on the list, said yes. So I said yes too, and that was it.
There’s a whole debate about this: TP versus SP. ‘For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way,’ proclaims Ros Barber in The Guardian. Which a few days later was countered by Rachel Abbott’s piece, 14-hour days, marketing and dealing with snobbery: my life as a self-published bestseller. Now, I’ve read a lot of the for and against and reached one firm conclusion: the arguments go round in circles and cancel each other out. So back to the original question – why Meizius?
Well, for a start, it was good to be accepted, however small the publisher. So I’ll always be grateful to Aaron Meizius for that. It may simply be, in the words of Atthys Gage, a veneer of legitimacy, but it’s legitimacy all the same. Then there’s a sense of belonging. I don’t have much contact with other Meizius authors, but it’s good to know there’s a group of us under the same umbrella. Writing is solitary enough as it is, and I didn’t fancy reinforcing that. And along with that comes support. Prompt responses to my emails. A flexible approach on various aspects from cover design to giveaways. Production of an audio book (forthcoming). Proof-reading, editing, formatting. The general feeling that we’re in this together, and what will benefit one will benefit the other.
I’m not saying I’ll never self-publish – in fact, following the book a break competition, there’s a short story anthology in the self-publishing pipeline. Nor do I rule out seeking agent representation. But for now, Magali Rousseau and I are committed to Meizius Publishing. And both of us are happy.