Why I left My Publisher

Posted January 19, 2020 by elizatilton in Young Adult fiction / 0 Comments

This post is long overdue. It’s also one I’ve been thinking about for a very, very long time.

Before I get into the heartbreaking details, I want you to know one thing: I have no ill will toward my previous publisher and we had a very good relationship.

So what happened?

I’m still not sure.

First, I’ll start at the beginning.

Right after I gave birth to my second child, I received a contract for my first novel, Broken Forest. In 2012, Curiosity Quills Press was fairly new. There wasn’t a ton of information on the new indie publisher, but I believed in their philosophy and decided to sign.

In 2013, Broken Forest released. The experience was a bit bumpy, but any formatting or cover issues we had, we’re quickly resolved. That book ended up going through THREE cover changes over the years.

One thing I loved about Curiosity Quills was their ability to adapt to the times. We worked together, planned out my future, and we had a facebook group where all of us “Literary Marauders” connected and helped with releases. I made great friends and still talk to those people today.

One of the owners, Alisa Gus, worked with me on a publishing schedule and was always around to spitball ideas. In fact, I credited Alisa with all my Russian words/phrases in my book, Shadows Of Kiev. When I pitched her the “Viking” concept, she loved it and wanted to publish the story herself–this was back in 2016.

And this is where Curiosity Quills began to slip.

Having worked at another indie press myself, I understood how much time and focus was needed to publish a book. I believe most of the issues Curiosity Quills faced was due to an overloaded publishing schedule. Too many books. Too many authors. Not enough worker bees.

It was also around this time that Alisa began to shift her focus to another venture called WishKnish. I won’t go into the details, but the goal was that Wishknish would help the press and us authors.

Alisa was our momma bear. She came up with anthology ideas, pulled us together, and personally helped me focus on what books I needed to write. With her separated from Curiosity Quills, things at the press started to get a bit hectic.

Now, I did not have any issues with royalties, paperbacks, or publishing. Some of my author friends did, but that is their story to tell.

In 2017, I made the decision to put Shadows of Kiev in a boxset. Alisa and I talked and for me, it was a great opportunity. That boxset hit #46 on the USA Today Bestseller list and introduced me to Rebecca Hamilton who’s helped my career in so many wonderful ways.

I still planned on publishing with Curiosity Quills, but at this point my focus switched to self-publishing.

I released a final book with Curiosity Quills in 2018. Pained Love (previously Deceptively Beautiful) concluded my YA Epic Fantasy series: The Daath Chronicles. By this point, many of my fellow CQ authors had left or were on the verge of getting their rights back. My editor had left, and there seemed to be on overall nervous feeling in our facebook group.

Authors were posting in the group about books missing deadlines, no paperback available, and a slew of other concerns.

Then two key people left and that was when we realized our beloved CQ was in trouble.

I didn’t want to leave Curiosity Quills. They took a chance on me. I wanted to believe the press would fix any issues–I even offered to help in some areas–and they would get back to the wonderful and successful indie press we all knew.

But it never happened.

January 2019 I requested the rights back to my books and said my goodbyes.

It was heartbreaking.

I wasn’t having the problems other authors were having, but I knew enough about the indie world to know me and my books would be just fine.

Since then I’ve self-published a new series, and continue to write.

But I MISS having a publisher.

You can be extremely successful with self-publishing, and some of my favorite books are self-published, but when you self-pub, it’s all you.

I miss the colloboration.

I miss having a partner.

So, this year in between finishing the Unholy Magic Saga, I’ll be writing a new Young Adult novel which I plan to query.

Will I continue to self-publish? Sure.

The husband and I have a book scheduled for next fall, and Hunter of the Song will publish this year.

But I want something more for my writing career.

And I’m going to work my hardest to get it.