No one likes seeing a dream come to an end, but that's what happened for the partners at Kunati Books, a small Canadian publishing house in Ontario that began signing authors back in 2006, then went out of business in 2009. I was one of their first authors and I can tell you that being a Kunati author has been a real eye-opening experience.
In January 2009, I got my rights back for my novel Whale Song and it was taken out of print. Call it irreconcilable differences. I didn't agree with some of the practices; they crossed ethical boundaries for me. Call it the terrible economy and recession. My books were selling consistently, but not moving in 5 figure increments. Regardless of the reasons, I was happy with the decision to leave Kunati.
When Kunati Books first announced it was closing, the authors who got the calls were shocked, but not surprised. After chatting with some of the current Kunati authors, it appears that after the news reached them, it hit hard and created a lot of havoc in the first week or so. Many of these authors were understandably disappointed by the news. They could see their dreams going down the drain. Most authors are now coming out of the aftershock phase with a more positive outlook on their futures, and I am glad for them.
The possibilities for success for my author friends are endless. While some are considering self-publishing now, others are still hoping to get that decent book deal with a professional publisher. I sincerely hope they achieve their dreams. Some are awaiting a final royalty and making decisions on whether they want to buy their books back.
Some positives came out of my experience with Kunati; in particular, the wonderful friendships I made with many of the other authors. Many of us suffered at various levels through a frustrating time and we bonded because of it. We also celebrated each others' successes, and we continue to do so.
So what have I learned? Well, I'll be blunt. I've learned that it may not be the wisest decision to go with the "new guy" on the block. For all the big splash that Kunati made in its early days, it didn't matter in the end. Sometimes it's best to go with the old, tried and true. But the splashy, bold and controversial are appealing and draw you in.
That being said, I don't think I'll ever take a chance again on a small, new publishing company, especially one run by aspiring authors. Not that they're all doomed, but my experiences had enough red flags, thank you. My aspirations are for a lifelong career as a novelist, and I need a publisher who can work with me as a partner to achieve that goal.
My advice to authors looking for a publisher: do your homework!!! Check them out online and email their authors (current and past). Don't believe everything you read about them--good or bad. And remember the old adage: "if something looks too good to be true, it probably is." And "be careful what you wish for; you might just get it."
Wishing you all much success and happiness.
Read my original post about the closing of Kunati Books