Thursday, September 12, 2013

A New Beginning

I have a bit of news. Not life-or-death news, just disappointing news.

Sometimes a door can close when you’re least expecting it. And when it does, you have to roll with the punches because that’s just how life is. Once a door closes, you have a couple of choices. You can give up and move on, or you can push onward. Sometimes, the door that just closed needed to close in order for the next door to open. I’m hoping this is one of those times. In fact, I consider myself an optimist and, therefore, choose to believe that this is one of those times.

If you follow Rhemalda Publishing or any of the other Rhemalda authors then you probably already know my disappointing news. If not, read on. It is with regret that I relay the announcement from Rhemalda Publishing that they are closing their doors effective October 1st. I am officially a free agent. There are several factors that contributed to this decision by those in power at Rhemalda, but let’s just leave it at this: The publishing industry can be a tough business and the headwinds against small press publishers have grown too strong. In addition, the Internet has made it possible for authors to print their own books with a quality that had previously been reserved only for publishers. Even the big publishers are struggling to compete in today’s environment.

As a company, Rhemalda started their business with the goal of being author friendly at all costs. As far as I’m concerned, they have consistently made good on that goal. Also, Rhemalda set out to release a high-quality product, and if you've read any of their books over the years, I think you'd agree that they have succeeded. In the end, I consider myself fortunate ...
to have been along for the ride, and I believe with all my heart that they did all they could do to be successful in this market. Ultimately, it just didn't work out.

I’m not going to lie. This news was tough for me to wrap my head around at first as I had focused an infinite amount of time and effort and sweat into doing my part to help Rhemalda succeed. After all, their success was symbiotic with my own success. We were in this together. But, alas, it wasn’t to be.

Despite this unfortunate turn of events, I consider my time with Rhemalda overwhelmingly beneficial, even if we didn’t set the world on fire with what we had created. Rhett and Emmaline and the entire Rhemalda staff have been nothing but top notch and at this point I consider them more friends than business partners. They have handled the ups and, more importantly, the downs with grace and professionalism. In fact, with the end of Rhemalda fast approaching, they are still handling their authors in the fairest way possible.

All of this leads to where I go from here. My initial reactions to the news were sadness for Rhemalda, disappointment for myself, and I’ll admit, fear over what happens to my previously released books as well as my future as an author.

First and foremost, thanks to Rhemalda’s integrity, I can report that the rights to all four of my books have been reverted back to me in their entirety. That means I don’t lose my books as I might have if Rhemalda was forced to go bankrupt or chose to fight to keep my rights for whatever reason. That is one of the biggest concerns anyone should have when signing with a small press. But because of Rhemalda’s decency as well as their business sense, they aren’t going bankrupt, so losing my books isn’t an issue. Also, Rhemalda and I have reached a more than fair agreement for me to acquire the covers, maps, and everything else that makes my books what they are. I am eternally grateful to them for it.

This means my books don’t have to disappear with this announcement. Since the day I decided to seek publication, I did so with three main goals in mind. None of those three goals were to be rich, and I’ll be honest with you, I don't care if I ever make much money off my books. No, my three goals have always been (1) to create stories and see them in print with the highest quality possible, (2) to get my books a click away for anyone who stumbles upon them, and (3) for those books to always be available. Rhemalda gave me the opportunity to accomplish my first two goals and I am happy to report, because of their help, I plan to continue the third.

My books will continue to be available in the same places they are now. Readers won’t notice much interruption, if any, in the availability of them. The eBooks should have no interruption at all, while the paperback versions will go on hiatus for only a few weeks as I upload them into Lightning Source (the same printer Rhemalda had used). That interruption is simply because the upload process can take several weeks.

Since I’ll be using the same printer, there will be no drop in the quality of my books. There should only be two differences that anyone will even notice after October. One is necessary and minor while the other is of my choosing. The first will be my new logo (created by Steve Murphy), replacing Rhemalda's logo. Here’s a first look at it:

Second, a more noticeable change will be in the cover font of my Epertase trilogy. I was never completely satisfied with the font we had chosen and now I have the opportunity to change it. This visual change will, in part, commemorate what I visualize as a re-launch of my writing career. Also, I will probably label these books as second editions, so hold onto the ones you currently own because when I do this, first editions (the Rhemalda editions) will never be available again.

With some of the shock and disappointment over the news waning, I am starting to get a little excited about this next path for my writing journey, even if it isn't a path I would have preferred. In the distance, I see a tiny crack in a door that’s waiting to be opened.

So, let me end this long-winded blog with a peek at where I'm going from here with future works. I plan to keep writing, that’s not even a question. My current project is a dystopian fantasy novel titled The Death of the Grinderfish. I have been working on this book off and on for a couple of years and am really excited about how it’s coming along. The first major draft is finished.

When my Grinderfish story is in tip-top shape, I will spend a brief time seeking out a new publisher. With no offense intended to Rhemalda, this time I will seek out a larger publisher for the added security that comes with such a choice. In saying that, I realize I will narrow my chances greatly, but after this brief search, I will happily put the story out on my own alongside my current library. I think it would make a great addition.

In retrospect, I’ve enjoyed having a publisher behind my work. I’ve learned a lot and my books are better than they ever would have been if I had done it all on my own. Now, I can take what I’ve learned as well as the connections I’ve made, and I feel the quality of my future books can be just as good as I feel my last four are.

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe I’ll find another publisher who believes in me and maybe I won’t. I have more to offer now than I did before.

For one thing, I am a far better writer than when I searched for a publisher for the first Epertase book. I think my improved writing is readily apparent to anyone who has read all three books in the trilogy.

The second reason I look forward to this search is that my resume will now include several published works. I have been published four times and have decent sales numbers to show for it, which is a great plus. Rhemalda is closing, but I am still standing, ready to see what’s behind that next door. Today, I begin striking out on my own. Where’s this going to lead? I have no idea. All I can do is put together the best stories I am able, work hard, and let the pieces fall where they may.

Let me close by bidding a sad farewell to Rhemalda, the company. I hope all of the other wonderful authors, editors, artists as well as Rhett and Emmaline stay in touch and have nothing but success in their future endeavors.


  1. I was so sad to hear about Rhemalda closing its doors, but I'm glad your work will still be out there. I enjoyed TAMED and the Epertase books, although I still have book three waiting to be read. :)

  2. I wish you all the best, Doug, with finding another publisher. I'm sure you and your books will be a success, no matter what path you follow. If I can ever be of help to you, don't hesitate to ask - you do know I'm a freelance editor, don't you? *winks*