Thursday, September 13, 2012

Self Publishing vs. Mainstream Publishing

by Leo Maloney

Writing my first novel has been a 3-year process. When I started, I had no concept of the work and time that would be required. It seemed to me that I had a pretty interesting story, based on my thirty-years of experiences as a Black Ops contractor. I naively thought that when I was finished writing the book, a publishing company would jump at the chance to publish it. I had no training as a writer, but found I had a knack for telling a story. I combined events and characters from my past in a plot that I felt would appeal to thriller readers. Other authors had to do research … I was writing from experience, so I felt I had an edge.

I brought my manuscript to ThrillerFest 2010 in NYC with the goal of getting an agent. I didn’t. But I learned about writing “rules” and the procedures involved with publishing. Upon returning home I refined my novel and sent query letters to dozens of agents. Some sent back polite letters stating that the book wasn’t their type; others ignored me.

I considered giving up, but then decided to explore self-publishing. Having some experience with promotions, I opened my own publishing company, Independent Publishing House (IPH), with a NYC address and phone number. I found experts in the specialties that I needed: freelance editors, a graphic arts designer, printer, publicist, and a consultant who was working in publishing. With their help, I produced my book and printed a first run. Termination Orders With Lightning Source as distributor, the book was available on as both a print and e-book. I was able to place copies in a local Walgreens and independent bookstore, but was frustrated that Barnes and Noble would not talk to me.

I knew then I needed a publisher.

After about seven months, I was fortunate to have a conversation with Michaela Hamilton, Executive Editor of Kensington Publishing Corp. A couple of weeks later I went to NYC to meet with Michaela and also met everyone at the company, from the owner to the mail handler. Everyone treated me like a member of the Kensington family. Within days I had a contract for a 2-book deal. After some editing and an impressive new cover, Termination Orders was released.

I attended ThrillerFest again this year, and was asked to be on a panel. I will attend Bouchercon and will participate on a panel there as well. I have several signings at bookstores scheduled as well as radio interviews.

I think one of the most important benefits of a mainstream publisher is that “they’ve done it” … they have a formula that works. In addition, they can get you into stores that a self-published author cannot get into, unless he already has a huge reputation. It took a great deal of hard work, self-promoting and luck to get to this point.

What I have learned from this journey is not to give up. If you believe in yourself, have a good commercial product and work hard, you can be successful.

While Leo J. Maloney was serving in the army in 1966, he was recruited by a United States government clandestine agency and received highly specialized Black Ops training. Among his assignments in the decades that followed were asset extraction, espionage, and numerous missions still too secret to divulge. Now retired, he lives in the Boston area. To learn more, please visit LEOJMALONEY.COM.

TERMINATION ORDERS: Once a trained killer for the CIA, Dan Morgan has built a new life for himself. But when he receives a desperate plea from his former Black Ops partner - reportedly killed in a foreign battle zone - he flies to help. It should be a routine mission, extracting a human asset from the region. But it's not routine; it's an ambush. Now Morgan is running for his life, holding crucial evidence. With his contacts dead and family in danger, Morgan must take on a full-scale conspiracy in the highest echelons of a vast global network that plays by its own rules - when it suits them. For Dan Morgan, it's about to come to an end in Washington, D.C., on a national stage, in the crosshairs of a killer...


Miranda Parker said...

Hi, Leo.

Thanks so much for sharing your journey and welcome to Kensington. I also write for them under Dafina.

Once you became contracted with a publishing house what was the first major good difference you noticed from self publishing the book?

jennymilchman said...

How interesting to hear your experiences on both sides of the fence. Thank you for sharing your journey, and your reasoning. The trip to NY sounds like a real Moment!

Leo Maloney said...

As I mentioned in my article, a mainstream publisher has the ability to place books in places that a self-published author will never be accepted. They also do a lot of the promotional work, which gives me more time to write.

Thirtytwo degrees said...

I want to read your book. It sounds exciting to me. I really appreciated your candid remarks about the real differences between self publishing and having a main stream publisher. Much good luck in future works. I will look for your book now.