Monday, October 21, 2013

The Perils (and Blessings) of Publishing by JoAnn Durgin

I’ve seen a lot in the last (almost) three years since I’ve been a published author. If nothing else, you can always count on me for being honest and upfront about my life, including my writing career. Something happened in the past few weeks that might have devastated me six months ago…but now? Not so much. Let me explain: the publisher of my Lewis Legacy series decided he didn’t want to publish anymore. “Nothing personal,” he said, and I know he means it. He simply wants to concentrate on his own writing, editing and publishing projects. So, I’m being cut loose. I liken it to the bird in the nest who's now ready to fly on its own. So, on a wing and the proverbial prayer, here I go.

What to do now? Well, I could shop the series (four books out now and more to come) to other publishers, but I don’t think I’m going that route. You see, I believe the Lord prepared me for this to happen and I’ve expected it for some time. Like so many in the publishing industry, including the CBA, I’ve kept a close eye on several well-respected, multi-published authors who’ve taken to self-publishing their backlist titles or new, shorter works and listing them for sale at a low-cost price. And now these same authors are saying they’re earning their “bread and butter” from these books. Interesting, eh? Sure, they’ve been traditionally published and have earned a strong, large and loyal following…that certainly helps. Keep reading.

Let’s face it. There used to be a certain “stigma” attached to self-publishing. As Michael Hyatt told his audiences at writing conventions two years ago, “The stigma is gone.” Honestly? I never expected to be published by a big CBA house, if I was published at all. Not because I didn’t believe my writing measured up, but for the very fact that my writing is “different.” I write outside-of-the-box, non-formulaic contemporary Christian romances. From the beginning, I wrote because I simply love telling a story. I understood—if I was published at all—it would most likely be with a small, independent publisher. I wasn’t personally willing to compromise to make my stories fit the “safe” mold required by most mainstream publishers. Among other aspects, my books are longer in terms of length, and my characters unashamedly refer to scripture and things of the Lord (without “beating them over the head”), and support conservative “causes” many publishers don’t want to touch. So far, the readers aren’t complaining, and my books are reaching an audience beyond the typical “Christian” mainstream reader, and I now have a small but strong and loyal following upon which to build. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Praise the Lord!

To test the waters, perhaps, I released Catching Serenity on my own a few weeks ago, something I’d planned to do before I learned of my publisher’s decision. Again, I believe it’s because I knew this was coming. I’ve been harder on myself and agonized over this one book because it’s all mine. Put it this way: it’s a good thing Amazon doesn’t charge for reloading a file when changes are made. Self-publishing is a scary proposition and yet an exciting one. To be clear, I’ve also published with a couple of other small CBA publishers and I plan on producing more books with those same publishers in the future. As always, I’ll continue to follow His leading first and foremost, in writing as in all aspects of my life. Like anything else, writing and publication is a journey. I’m sure I’ll stumble at times, but hopefully I’ll also have times when I’ll soar. But I’ll have the freedom to help design my book covers, set my own deadlines and schedule, but more importantly to me? I’ll have the freedom to tell my story my way. And that’s just fine with me.


JoAnn Durgin
Proverbs 3:5-6


  1. SO happy to know you JoAnn your truly a woman after Gods own heart, i love your books andi am blessed with each one. God gave you a special talent and its pleasing him to see how your using so glad you dont give in to the presures of the world, i know with out a doubt i can pick up your books and not end up throwing them in the trash because of being to worldly for me, keep on writing your and Gods way, theres many of us that want to read your books, God bless my friend.

  2. JoAnn, I'm so glad you're sticking with it. Hearing news such as what you heard can't be easy. But the Lord has prepared you, as you said. I'm glad your books will still be available to read. I'm looking forward to them!


  3. Welcome to the wonderful world of self-publishing! You've joined at a great time! Of course, it has a few "downs," including self-pubbed books don't "count" for ACFW. But mostly it's an "up" journey, one I started (by choice) ten years ago. . . :-)

    1. Yes, I thought of you and several others as I wrote this post, Millie. My world and welcome to it, right? I'm excited for this new part of the journey and I know you've been very happy with self-publishing. So far, so good! Thanks for your comment and continued blessings to you!

  4. Such a positive attitude when you could be really bummed! I foresee this venture being successful for you. Go get'em, JoAnn!

  5. Hope this goes well for you JoAnn. Thanks for the post.