Join Prism Book Alliance® as Hank Edwards goes Outside the Margins today.
I’ve been writing gay romance for a long time now. I began writing erotic short stories for magazines, and saw quite a few of my stories published in magazines like Torso, Honcho, American Bear, 100% Beef, and Mach. I was paid mostly by story instead of by word count, and once I got to know what an editor was looking for, I could pretty much guarantee a submission would be accepted.
And then things started to change. The Internet was becoming… well, bigger is really the only way to explain it. Everything that had once only been available in the slick, glossy pages of a magazine were now available online. And usually for free! Magazines began to fade away, and when they closed shop, some of them didn’t pay what they owed to staff, photographers, models, and, yes, even the freelance writers. I was never paid for several stories that I’d already signed contracts for, and a couple that I’d submitted but for which I’d never received a publication agreement. And there really wasn’t much to be done about it. It wasn’t worth small claims court (and, really, I didn’t want to state in court that a story I wrote, titled “Rock Star Rim Job” or “Hydrant Duty” or “Maul Santa,” hadn’t generated the agreed upon payment amount). So, I moved on.
To books. First there was my novel, Fluffers, Inc., which was published by Alyson. They paid me a nice advance and we started edits. I also wrote a sequel and it was accepted and another advance was paid out. But then sales for the first book weren’t what the publisher had hoped for, so the sequel was cancelled. I was, however, allowed to keep the advance they’d paid me. That helped soothe the sting of rejection, but I never made back the advance from Fluffers, Inc.
And then Alyson closed shop.
But in 2009, Steve Berman from Lethe Press contacted me about picking up Fluffers, Inc., and then he published the two sequels I’d had written and stuffed into a folder in my computer, just waiting for this day. He published all three books and they sold pretty well. But this past year I decided it was time to bring Charlie and his crazy, sexed up friends back home. I’m adding a bit to the first book little by little and giving them all a fresh read through and edit, then will self-publish them with shiny new covers. No release date yet, but that’s the plan.
Now, however, another small press is shutting its doors. The cycle, it appears, is continuing. But this one is different.
I was fortunate to be involved with Wilde City Press from the beginning. I had self-published the first book of my Venom Valley series and titled it Bounty. With a sharp cover crafted by my amazing husband, it was a wild genre mash-up of a ride, with vampires and zombies and witches and Native American spirits and gay cowboys in the American Old West. I didn’t see many sales with self-publishing, however, so I sent it along to Wilde City. It was Geoffrey Knight, marketing genius, who suggested in an email to change the title and call it what it is: Cowboys & Vampires. Brilliance. Add to that a dark and stylish cover by Jared Racker, and the series got a lot of attention. Geoffrey also snagged the new title for the second book, which I had called Bait, from a post I made on Facebook promoting Cowboys & Vampires. He sent me an email that read, “You just found the title for book two: Stakes & Spurs!”
I’ve published a number of books through Wilde City Press. The covers have never failed to impress me, and the payments always arrived on time with plenty of detail in the sales reports. Any question I sent off was answered promptly and courteously. And I had so much fun working the Wilde City Press table at GRL, where I got to know Tracy Ward, Kiernan Kelly, and Clare London. It was a fun ride.
But now Wilde City Press is shutting down. Over the last four years, they put out a number of books, all with wonderful covers and well-edited interiors. It’s the cycle of publishing, isn’t it? It just seems to be moving so much faster now. Small presses are closing down right and left it seems. Hell, even All Romance eBooks, an online retailer and publisher in its own right, has closed business… albeit very controversially. But the team at Wilde City Press is managing things with class. All royalties will be paid in full. All rights will be returned to the authors, along with the option to purchase existing cover art. Members of the Wilde City Press book club will have ample time to log in and download their books. This is how a business should be run, and I expected nothing less from the WCP team.
I will miss working with the fine folks at Wilde City Press. And I’m curious to see what the next big “disruption” to publishing will be (Virtual Reality? Hologram readings by the author? Information transfer similar to how Keanu Reeves learned kung fu in The Matrix?) Whatever it is, I’m sure of one thing: people will always, always want to read (hear?) a good story.
Stay classy, Wilde City Press, and thanks for the stories.
About Hank EdwardsHank Edwards is a curious mix of practical realist and feral dreamer, with over a dozen books published. His body of work covers a host of genres from gay romance to humor, paranormal to suspense, and mystery to time travel romance.
He is also a member of the Story Orgy group (www.facebook.com/SOGroup), a clan of writers who post free gay romance reads to their blogs every Monday morning and self-publish steamy stories based on writing prompts. Find his posts atwww.hankedwardsbooks.com/hankerings.
Like his Facebook pages (www.facebook.com/hankedwardsbooks or www.facebook.com/venomvalleyseries), favorite his Amazon page (www.amazon.com/author/hankedwards), and follow him on Twitter (@hanksbooks) to become a true “Hankie.” You may also visit his website at www.hankedwardsbooks.com or send along an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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