Why I will pursue an agent and a traditional publishing contract when the time is right

There’s been a lot of publishing doom and gloom over the past year, with countless websites telling us the end of traditional publishing and the big six is nigh, and the ebook boom will change the world. There have also been a few murmurs of the ebook bubble bursting and so forth, and a few people piping up with how once an author tastes the high life of self-published royalties, they’ll never go back to pursuing book contracts.

I, for one, am an author looking to have one foot in self-publishing and being indie, and the other firmly in a traditional contract with a big publisher.

I’m neither a naysayer nor a blind fool. I don’t think the ebook boom will cripple the publishing industry. They were caught on the back foot a little last year and hadn’t anticipated such a sharp rise to power by digital books or indie authors, but they are quickly catching on and will probably provide more competition this year. I don’t think ebooks will suddenly go pop and we’ll all go back to reading paperbacks. I also don’t believe that we’ll all go digital. My money is on half of readers turning to a mixture of digital and paperback books, and the other half remaining firmly away from technology and sticking with paper. If I see a book on offer in paperback format for cheaper than the ebook (not hard most of the time), I buy the paperback.

Now, many people think that authors who pursue traditional publishing deals are looking for validation. That’s not what I need from a book contract or an agent. I don’t need a publisher to make me feel that my books are worth reading or I’ve made it as a writer. The reviews I receive for my books and the support from my growing number of readers, and the fact that I sold over 155,000 books last year (note: Sold, not gave away for free. I also had over 50,000 free downloads too) is validation enough for me.

I have a plan as an author, and part of that plan includes finding a good agent and getting a great book contract because I want to reach a wider audience, people that I can’t reach at the moment through ebooks and expensive POD paperbacks alone. You know, the people who shop in bookstores or prefer mass-market paperbacks? In order to reach the widest audience possible, I need to have one foot in the indie world and one in the traditional world of publishing. I don’t care that I will probably make less money from the books I sign over to publishers. I care that I will have the power to reach more readers and touch more lives. I write books so I can reach readers and give them a few hours away from their daily lives. It’s the number of copies sold that excites me and keeps me writing, not the dollars and pounds flowing into my bank account.

I would never give up being an indie author though. I have paranormal romance series on the go at the moment, such as my popular Vampires Realm series that I write as F E Heaton or the extremely popular Her Angel series that I write as Felicity Heaton, that I will most probably keep as indie published series. I do have series that I will write soon that will be for the traditional publishing market. My reason for doing this is above, and the fact that I have always wanted to see my books published with someone big and that I believe they will be picked up. I’m not being conceited when I say that I have faith in my books and that my writing is good enough for a book contract with a major publisher. I’m sure all authors feel that to some degree or we wouldn’t pursue book deals at all.

But the time isn’t right for me yet. My four year plan that started last year is only entering phase two right now and it’s not until phase three and four that I intend to rope me an agent and then a publisher and wrangle them into submission. Of course, if a publisher or agent emailed me tomorrow and told me that they wanted to contract my books, I would seriously consider it. I don’t leap into things without looking at it from all angles first. Ask my husband. I took weeks to decide whether to contract my Her Angel series with a Spanish publisher before deciding that it would be a good move for my career. I just hope that this first translation deal leads to others as I’ve found I like the thought of big foreign publishers translating my indie books.

I’m digressing. I think the point of this was to let new writers and old see that you don’t have to join one camp or the other. If an author wants to get a traditional deal for her books, you don’t need to sneer at her and call her stupid. She’ll have reasons for what she’s doing and in the end it’s down to her. The same goes for an author who decides she only wants to be indie. Or someone who says they’ll only publish their books on Amazon Kindle. We all have reasons for doing what we do.

Mine is reaching readers, not making money… so I intend to make my mark in the indie publishing world and then rock the boat in the traditional publishing market.

If you’re a writer, what do you want for your books and what do you want from writing?

About Felicity Heaton

I'm a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books as Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. In my books I create detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione, Kresley Cole, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will love my books too.

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