Bankrupt: What do you do when your Publisher no Longer Exists?

You have two options – find another publisher or self-publish them.

This is what I was faced with recently on two of my six books/anthologies. I decided to self-publish Seasons of the Soul and Lockets and Lanterns, because they were published years ago (Seasons of the Soul in 2006 and Lockets and Lanterns in 2012).

I believe self-publishing is the right path to go on these two books. However, this meant I needed to develop a new cover. After all I did not own the rights to the covers, the publisher did. What should I do? Go with an expensive cover designer or do a nice cover without any bells or whistles?

I decided to do the latter. I could not see paying a lot of money for a cover artist on books several years old. Thus I turned to a friend who has self-published, and she is assisting me.

Now since the original Lockets and Lanterns cover never really said romance, and it is a romance, it made sense to have a cover that more matched the genre. In fact at book signings, people often thought this book was either a horror or mystery novel. Although Lockets and Lanterns includes an element of mystery – the husband’s secret – your average mystery reader would not consider it as such. It is pictured below. What do you think?

L&L Coverjpeg

The second problem was the book’s description. It needed to be revised. It did not say “romance” and, of course, it must do that.

This got me thinking about publishers who market all types of genres. They really do not know what each target audience demands. So, although going through my submitted manuscript is going to be a chore since I will have to correct the point size and fonts used and remove all editor’s remarks, it also is a time of rejoicing.

Rejoicing you say? Are you nuts? No, I have been disinterested in these books for quite a while to focus on my new material, such as the recent release of my historical humorous tale, The Bride List. The cover is pictured below.20160104_The_Bride_List_p2

However, now I am excited about these older books. Why?

Because it also took me back to when my autistic sons were younger as relayed in a spattering of personal accounts in Seasons of the Soul. I could relive those trials, such as where the family almost drowned or a humorous tale of when Andrew’s cat went missing. And, I could reread the God-inspired story, loosely based on my grandfather, in Lockets and Lanterns.

So when disaster strikes like a publishing company going out of business. First panic then take a deep breath and realize the positives. Positives of getting the books printed as you wanted in the beginning and are able to do so with self-publishing them.

Have a great spring and I would love to have your feedback on this issue and as always God bless.

Guest Post: 3 Self-Published Masterpieces by Amelia Wood

The breakout success this year of E.L. James’s 50 Shades of Grey may have blown away all kinds of misconceptions about the commercial viability of self-published books (or smut, or fan fiction for that matter), but one thing it won’t do is remove the most basic prejudice against self-publishing: that a book must have been self-published due to its simply not being any good. Because 50 Shades, whatever else you can say about it, isn’t.

Luckily, there’s a venerable tradition of truly excellent writers publishing their own books. Here is a handful of examples to show that even the very best sometimes have to cut out the middleman:

1. Swann’s Way (first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu) by Marcel Proust

Yes, that’s right: the most massive, sweeping, most praised, least read novel of the modern era, adored by critics and anyone else who made it through the seventh book before they died of old age. The first book, Swann’s Way, was turned down by several publishers, until Proust himself had to pay to get it in print. Sacre bleu!

2. Ulysses by James Joyce

The only contemporary competitor to Proust’s cycle in terms of genius, difficulty, and scope would of course be this 1922 masterwork by James Joyce. Beset by obscenity charges and other legal problems throughout the 20th century, the book’s launch was delayed by a more basic problem: no one would print the damn thing. Expatriate American Sylvia Beach ended up printing the famous first edition (now worth a fortune, out of her bookstore Shakespeare & Co. So there you have it, the two most Earth-shaking works of early 20th-century modernist literature, both starting out self-published.

3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Unlike the first two entries on this list, which both feature minor writers hawking difficult manuscripts, this is another kind of self-publishing success story. Mark Twain was already a famous author due to works like “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, to which Huckleberry Finn is of course a sequel. Apparently they didn’t have a good airtight contract on Twain’s intellectual property, because he fled “the foolishness of his publishers” to control his own destiny as well as that of his characters.

So don’t let anybody tell you have to get some suits in New York to approve your book before you can have it printed. “Light out for the territory” like Huck and make a name for yourself!


This guest post is provided by Amelia Wood, who loves to help point people toward medical billing and coding careers through her writing. Reach her at