I am very pleased with how all of my books are doing, how they've been received, and most of the reviews and endorsements that have come in for them. I do notice that I can tell which books were published by publishing companies and which books were published independently by me through Amazon, because I don't have access to a publicity team, so it's much harder to gather reviews, and these books just don't get the same exposure that the other books get.
I've been quite amused at some of the comments that have come in for a couple of these books: Green Witchcraft Grimoire: A Practical Resource for Making Your Own Spells, Rituals, & Recipes and The Essential Guide to Wicca for Beginners. These books were contracted work. This means that I was approached by a publishing company that already had an outline for a book, a very specific outline, down to the word count for each section, and I was offered this project for contract. Once I accepted this project, the contract was received and signed, and it's very clear what's expected from you and when.
This type of work is very hard and fast. It's on a very tight schedule and it's a marathon writing project. This also includes a rigid publicity schedule for the author 4 to 6 weeks before the book is released and four to six weeks after its release. This schedule, an actual schedule, comes with pre-planned release posts that are either a "fill in your book title", or suggestions for what they want done that day, such as "make a video", or "do an author-copies received" post, etc. You get the picture. This publicity work is all included in your contract and it comprises part of the work you do for the pay that you receive.
The contents for each section of the book are created entirely by the author who was contracted for the work. There's also a lot of editing done with your editor, a couple zoom or skype meetings, a couple telephone conferences, and a back and forth editing process with our beloved Microsoft Word. It's a process, and it's a meticulous process. The company wants this book to be as pristine as possible for it's world debut.
- All in all, I enjoyed my experience, and the paycheck for this type of work is excellent, although the author does not retain rights to the manuscript. Once you write this contracted book and send it off for production, it is no longer your property and you will not receive any royalties from future sales. It's a one-time payment for your work deal.
- If you don't like to work under pressure, or under deadlines, you may not like this kind of experience. It was grueling at times, but it also taught me that I can get a LOT more done than I thought I could.
- Also, with contracted work, the publishing company doesn't act as most employers do, where they withhold taxes for you and all that usual good stuff that goes with the business end of a paycheck. You are responsible for paying the taxes on the money received for this work, and it can be substantial, depending on your perspective and your project. This was a big drawback for me. The year I had to claim this work, the taxes were paid on this income by the government simply claiming my $1400.00 stimulus check. Which sucked, but at least it was paid.
What I found amusing was a couple of quirky reviewers that didn't like some of the spells included in these books: "I'll bet she just wrote these spells up and never tried them out."... Well, ya, some of these spells I did just that using my own spiritual practices and experience, and with a deadline for the material snapping at my heels. But there were a lot of spells that I have personally worked and these spells and rituals were included in these books as well. (Coming from 40-some years experience) There's probably over a hundred+ spells and rituals between these two books.
The only aspect of this type of work that I had negative feelings for were:
1) coming up with 40 or 50 people for potential reviews and endorsements, including emails, and this was a required task... this just didn't seem like my job. I felt like I was doing someone else's job for them. I don't know if this is standard procedure, and I suppose it might be, but coming up with those names was very stressful, and then publishing a second book the same year, well, you can only ask so much of people. I didn't' want to contact the same people twice. And it might not seem like it, with all of the social media pages I have up, blogs and websites, YouTube channels, etc., but I'm actually a very reclusive introverted person in real life. I don't interact with more than a small handful of people on the internet, so this task was much harder for me than what you may think.
2) also, I didn't like a new stipulation coming up in the process, where I was asked to make screen shots of the stats for my websites and blogs, giving a report on my traffic, etc. I thought this was slightly bizarre and way out of line. And no, I didn't do this, I passed on the project I was being offered. This was too invasive for me, considering I'd already published two books with this company. This also did not feel like my job, it's my opinion that there's a sales analyst or someone else out there who should be doing this stuff.
Anyway, for writers out there, either published authors or those who are still working towards this goal, here you have it. This is one way to get published and to support yourself as a writer at the same time.