Yesterday, I made a decision: to publish exclusively with eXtasy Books. Please note that my publisher does not know this yet. This was a personal decision. All they know is that I sent them an email asking for them to possibly adopt my self-published books. So far, I've written twenty-one (21) books for them.
Gah! Did I just count that right? *goes back to check*
Anyway, back to this rambling mind...21????? Really?
When I first started out writing, it had been my intention to publish a few books with them, and self-publish a few others. Good plan in theory, but it didn't work out the way I'd thought it would. I mean, I really figured it would work because of how others are doing it.
Unfortunately, it seems that I didn't consider the fact that I am in the Philippines and that Amazon would not pay me through PayPal like the others do. When I signed up, I had to go through a whole process of establishing an account with their affiliate. Payoneer. I was okay with it, I mean, the others have their accounts with them, no big deal.
But it ended up as a HUGE DEAL.
Fast forward without having to go through messy details: my self-pubbed books sold. I just could not access my royalties.
Four years later, I've given up. I couldn't think of selling more of my books and not enjoy the earnings. For that is what selling the books is for: enjoyment.
All these years, I've been wrestling with emails and such and lately, no replies. I had WIPs waiting to get finished, but I didn't want to finish them. I was thinking: what if I do finish them and they sell? What then? Given my history with these two companies, I didn't want to risk selling my books through them.
Yesterday, I started the process of pulling out my books from all vending sites. I am not done yet, I have to hunt down my password for PayHip and that's going to be fun. I am not rushing, and yet I am anxious to get this over and done with.
Today, I received an email from my editor who wants to know what Titles I would be submitting so they could prepare the necessary documents. This meant so much to me. That eXtasy Books would trust me to send them my previously published works.
And this leads me to think about the others out there who are hurting after the latest kerfuffle in the MM community.
I am, technically?, a person of color or a POC. In my DNA runs the genes of my ancestors who either invaded or migrated to the Philippines. I have a combination of European and Asian genes in me. At last count, I've got six or is it seven? Anyway, why am I bringing this up?
When I decided to write, I went over too many to mention or remember publishing houses. I spent weeks pouring over submission guidelines, interacted with several authors, bought books from different publishers, just to see their styles. I examined book covers, I even examined prices. My first attempt to submit got accepted in an anthology, but that didn't last long as the small publisher had some issues and they had to close shop. Instead of submitting the same story to another publisher, I self-published that book through Amazon while writing another for possible submission. I finished the book and submitted to another house, Wayward Ink. After submitting, I wrote another book and submitted to another house, which, after three months, sent me a nasty email to the effect that my work was not good enough. I shrugged it off as by that time, I'd submitted to eXtasy Books a short little sci-fi erotic romance and it had been accepted. Compelled. I found out a few weeks after submission that it had been accepted, plus, the editor showed me a review by the one who read the piece. That was an ego boost and gave me the confidence to keep writing. By this time, Wayward had published a short piece in an anthology and I was in the editing process for Hidden: Evils. That books did very well, but my relationship with WIP didn't go so well. While I was still processing my future with Wayward, I decided to submit that horridly received story I'd gotten a rejection for and submitted it to eXtasy Books.
Objectified. It was my first, legitimate, acknowledged bestseller.
I submitted Taboo, at that time a really short 10k, to Wayward. Things got rough and I pulled it before it could be edited and immediately rewrote the whole thing, added 20k++ and submitted to eXtasy.
Taboo overcame Objectified.
The Rise of the Symbionts, Vol. I, I fought long and hard to get off from Wayward as my relationship with them had gone bananas. On December 28th, 2015, I received my rights to the series. I rewrote the first volume of three books by adding several thousand words to each, and the rest, as they say, is history.
What was the difference? Trust.
I learned to trust eXtasy while I learned to distrust the others. Not only that, I could reach out to the staff and the owners without having to suffer through red tape. I didn't have to twiddle my thumbs or bite my nails, or, as in the case of Wayward, suffer palpitations that almost brought me to the hospital.
Editing with eXtasy is not only a learning experience, it is a joy and...I really hate to say this...I look forward to it. The editors and proofers I worked with were not only professional, they had time to teach me what worked or what didn't work.
Oh, don't think it's a breeze. I've had my bad moments with them, their address is not in the Garden of Eden, it's in Canada. The staff is human after all, and so am I. But the differences were dealt with the swiftest and most professional way.
What really struck me was that they treated me as just another author. I was not someone they would bend over backward for because of my ethnicity. I was not someone they would give a pass because of the color of my skin. They treated me as a human being. Period.
Trust is not something I give easily. To anyone.
Although I am skeptical in nature and suspicious to the point of paranoia, I like working with eXtasy. I love their professional manner, especially when I ask stupid questions. They don't give me stupid answers or DUH me. Please note: two publishers DUHed me. That was not a nice feeling. And then there is the artwork. Do I even need to talk about the book covers? No. No words necessary.
Let me end this longish essay to say: Thank you to the wonderful people of eXtasy: Tina, Angela, Jay, Nicki, Laura...and all the rest. You gave my stories a home.