Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Dec 28 2012, 12:11 am in 2012, historical erotica romance, indie publishing, roller coaster year, Suzanne Ferrell
Wow, 2012 has been one big mass of change! It was a roller coaster year for my family, my work and my writing career! Here, let me show you:
January: my daughter Lyndsey, (y’all have met her here) was laid off from the office managing job she’d had for nearly 8 years. Talk about a kick to the stomach to start the new year. She and her hubby have 3 small children, which she would love to stay home to care for, but finances might not let her do that.
February: My friend Liliana Hart sat me down at lunch after a DARA meeting and told me “You have got to self-publish your GH books, KIDNAPPED and HUNTED!” We talked at length about the process and what would make them more successful. She ignited a spark of interest in me, then flamed it higher when she talked about cover design. An idea popped into my head, not one for making millions of $$ for my books, but perhaps a way for my daughter to start a stay-at-home business. Lyndsey is a graphic artist who loves romance novels, YA novels and Steampunk.
March: Lyndsey and I collaborated on the covers for my two GH books and with the help of my friend Kat Baldwin of Inklion Books for the formatting of the books, we launched my first Indie book KIDNAPPED. If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, then you know the scene where Harrison Ford is asked take a leap-of-faith and he’s sure he’s about to step out into a chasm with nothing to stop his fall. Yep, that’s what it’s like to decide to self-publish your own work. Not only did I launch my Indie pubbed business, but Lyndsey launched her cover design business. Now the question was…would anyone buy the books? Would people love her cover work as much as me?
April: OMG!!! People were actually buying KIDNAPPED!
May: OMG!!! KIDNAPPED made it onto the top 100 list of Kindle paid RS books @ #22!! (Who the heck is buying all these books?!?!) Lyndsey contracted to do book covers for several Banditas, (Thanks Jo and Susan for helping her build her business!)
June: Feverishly working to get HUNTED ready for release as an Indie book. Great cover, more sales coming in for both KIDNAPPED and my EC book, The Surrender of Lacy Morgan. Got my first royalty check from both Amazon and B&N. How cool! Then the bottom fell out of my world!
My father died.
I release HUNTED on the same day, because he was so proud of me, my efforts to be an author and all his family, I wanted something to always remind me of the exact day. The man who’d been there for me, the strength in my character and whose rare smile was worth any effort to achieve…was no longer going to be there to give a hug to or listen to a lecture from. I miss him so much!
July: Pretty much a blurr. It started with a fourth of July burial for my Daddy. Helping my mother start to cope. Supporting my sister in decisions she had to make for them both. Work is always demanding in the summer months and especially so this year. Seems there was a baby boom in North Texas and our 9 bed L&D unit started doing 250 deliveries a month. That’s a huge amount for our highly trained staff!! Then came the RWA National Conference in Anaheim. It was wonderful to get to end such a hard month with my critique partner, Sandy Blair!!
August: EC’s Blush line releases CANTRELL’S BRIDE. The story that started my writing career. How fantastic to see it online for people to read and enjoy. Nothing like a great Mail-order-bride book to warm hearts! OMG, KIDNAPPED and HUNTED both hit the top 100 Kindled>paid>romantic suspense list!! Another trip home to spend time with my mother, which was very good.
September: Gearing up for self publishing CLOSE TO HOME. This book is different from the two RS books and I’m a bit nervous. Lyndsey’s cover design business is taking off with requests from various authors! The income and no need for day care have strengthened her desire to be home with her kids more. A trip to Eureka Springs with my Texas writer friends, the Foxes. Great fun!
October: My first time to host a table at the Richardson Library’s Buns & Roses Tea for adult literacy! How Fun! And I got to participate in the signing. I only sold a couple of books, but we, as a group raised thousands of $$ for adult literacy!
November: Another trip home to be with my Mom and celebrate our birthdays. My present to me? Release of CLOSE TO HOME! Three Indie books out and a total of FIVE!! OMG…it took years to get published and now with the revamping of self publishing, my books are being read by thousands of people!! How cool.
December: Usually, at work, things slow down in November and December in the baby birthing world. Not this year! Add on top of it the zaniness of the Lair and the 12 days of Bandita Christmas (which was a blast, wasn’t it?) and trying to get another book ready for release, I’m not sure how Christmas got her and past so fast!! But it did.
So…to finish off the year I have another book being formatted. Yet again, a different kind of book. This is an American historical EROTICA, novella. I put the word erotica in caps, so no one will miss it! If you don’t like highly sensual or erotic novels, please feel free to skip this one. However, if you love wounded hero stories with determined heroines who mange to find their HEA despite the odds and through their erotic encounters, you will love, Love, LOVE, BELLA’S TOUCH!
Here’s the blurb:
Michael Barclay, an artist with a promising career before him, came home from the Civil War a broken man on the edge of despair. Wounded and sure his life as an artist is over, he’s ended his engagement to his beautiful muse, Bella.
Arrabella Taylor arrives at Michael’s rural Ohio home uninvited, but with great determination to confront her former fiancé. She means to find out exactly why he’s broken their engagement and try to convince him what a mistake he’s made. When she discovers he’s not only wounded from the war, but broken in spirit, she takes drastic measures to reawaken the artist soul deep inside Michael and rekindle their love.
But is Bella’s touch enough to save not only Michael, but both of them from a danger in Michael’s past that threatens their future?
And here’s the wonderful cover for BELLA’S TOUCH. I hope to have it up on Amazon as a $1.99 read before the first of January. With more books planned in 2013. I hope you will love it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
So, dear readers and Banditas and Bandit Buddies, how was your year? Was it as crazed as mine? Are you glad it’s over or longing to have some of those memories back to live over again? Is there someone you’re going to miss? A place you wished you’d travel to? How was YOUR 2012?
In memory of my Daddy and with great joy at all the fun self publishing has been for me, I’m giving away a $20 gift card to Amazon for one commentor today!
Posted by Jo Robertson Nov 5 2011, 11:58 pm in book industry, gatekeepers, indie publishing, Jo Robertson, Traditional Publishing
WHERE HAVE ALL THE GATEKEEPERS GONE?
by Jo Robertson
The recent burst in electronic books and independent publishing has set me thinking about the concept of “gatekeepers.”
We Americans, die-hard proponents of the Victorian era, seem hell-bent of having gatekeepers, those groups or individuals who keep the rest of us on track (whose track, I’m not sure). Gatekeepers guide us in proper moral and ethical deportment, as well as set standards of industry, whether it’s automobile making or cake decorating or literary criticism.
We’re comfortable with gatekeepers. They’ve long been part of our cultural tradition.
In the book industry we’re in a time when anyone, anywhere, anytime can throw a book up on Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s independent publishing arm) or Smash Words (another indie publisher) and become a “published” author.
The question begs asking.
Who, then, are the new gatekeepers in the publishing industry?
Are authors themselves competent enough to address literary content as well as adequate style (diction, syntax, point of view) along with the mechanics of grammar and punctuation?
Well, maybe. Some of them, anyway.
Clearly not all of them or we wouldn’t have “bad books” on the market. But then NY has also published bad books.
It’s a conundrum and one that NY and the electronic publishing platforms are trying to figure out.
This issue is important to both authors and readers. Authors want to make a decent salary from the hard-earned sweat of their literary brows. Readers want confidence that books maintain a standard of quality.
My take on the whole situation is, of course, just my opinion.
I believe there’s a frenzy in the book-reading world right now. We have a plethora of readers with voracious appetites. Books are consumable products they want to devour as fast as they can; their standards for quality are often minimal. Books are read so fast errors or plot inconsistencies go undetected. These kinds of readers want to read, read, read, and this phenomenon has given rise to a gazillion electronic books flooding the indie publishing sites. It’s hog heaven for the reader because s/he can read rapidly and to her/his heart’s content.
Disclaimer: Of course, not all readers fall into this category, but perhaps more today than in the last several decades. Many readers are thoughtful and careful and expect a high standard of quality from their reading.
But who’s vetting these books, if not NY?
Well, you say, the readers are the new gatekeepers, and that would be fine if most readers were careful and more critical (in the good sense), perhaps more picky than the group I’ve mentioned above.
This trend of inattention to quality writing and story-character telling may continue for six months, a year, possibly two years, but I have no doubt that readers as a group will become disenchanted with the gross amount of garbage that can flood the market.
Notice I say “can,” not “will.”
Contrary to many grumblers on various community discussion boards, not all indie books are garbage. Come on, what are the odds of that anyway?
Although some indie authors are not outsourcing those areas where they’re uncomfortable – copy editing, content editing, cover art, etc., many ARE. This is smart because it becomes a method of vetting quality along with the opportunity for readers to experience genre books that don’t fit into clear categories. Possibly even a chance for the creation of new genre cross overs.
With my own books, I wanted to write romantic thrillers in the tradition of “Casablanca,” where there’s a high level of relationship content, but an equally riveting thrill-element, and not necessarily a happy-ever-after (although so far my books do have an HEA). NY didn’t know where the niche for such a book was. Indie publishing allows me to create my own category.
I believe in the ultimate power and acumen of readers. Those authors whose writing and storytelling are pedestrian at best, and ghastly at worse, will fall by the wayside because no one will continue to buy their books. To use a cliché, the cream will rise to the top.
So when/if this indie publishing bubble bursts, we’ll still have gatekeepers: They’ll be an amalgam of readers and other professionals in the literary evaluation fields.
Just like it’s always been.
What about you, readers? Are you one of the rule-breakers or do you like to follow the rules. Are you comfortable with the status quo or do you like to change it up? Are you a revolutionary-type or do you like the comfort of custom and tradition?
Posted by Jo Robertson Oct 30 2011, 12:01 am in guest blogger Brenda Novak, indie publishing, Jo Robertson, Traditional Publishing
Please welcome back a Lair favorite, NYT best-selling author, Brenda Novak. Her latest trilogy (INSIDE and IN SECONDS) are currently available, and IN CLOSE, the third book in the trilogy, will be released October 25. Brenda’s published over 40 books and is beginning a new venture. Tell us all about what’s happening to you, Brenda.
One question I used to get asked more than any other (besides “Where do you get your ideas?” – which will probably always be #1) was, “How did you get published?”
This will probably surprise the younger generation, but there was a time in the not so distant past when getting published was difficult. I’m serious – it was tough! Not only did it require an amazing manuscript, it took TONS of patience. A writer had to snail mail (we’re talking an entire ream of paper AND a package with enough postage to return that behemoth) a copy of her manuscript to New York City and wait months (sometimes years) to get a response.
To make matters worse, an author could not submit to more than one publishing house at a time, a terrible infraction of the rules. The editors at the major publishing houses were gatekeepers, of a sort, and they were very particular about who they
let in to the publishing fortress.
But today the rules have changed. Publishing still has its challenges, but getting published certainly isn’t one of them. Anyone can write a story and put it up on Amazon.com or somewhere else. Never before has an author had the ability to send her words out into the world on this scale.
That doesn’t mean being a successful author has suddenly become easy, however. In some ways, it’s become harder, which is why I’m very happy to still be writing for New York (IN CLOSE, the last book in my new trilogy comes out October 25th and will be available both online AND in brick-and-mortar stores).
But I’ll save the reasons why it might be harder to publish successfully given recent changes for another blog.
Today I want to talk about the positive side of what’s been happening: the opportunities that exist today that did not exist ten years ago and what it might mean to certain authors and their readers – like me and mine. LOL
After I finished my first book, a historical romance called OF NOBLE BIRTH, it took me about a year to get an agent. After another year, that agent sold my manuscript. I was rejected by St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, Avon Books, Bantam (and probably a couple of others I can no longer remember) before HarperCollins called to offer me a contract. It was August 26, 1998, when I got THE CALL, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about anything (except maybe hitting The New York Times on June 16, 2008, almost ten years later). My editor was Robin Stamm, a young but eager junior editor working with Laura Cifelli. She seemed to like me, I really liked her, and I thought I was off and running toward the fulfillment of my fondest dreams.
But the path to being successfully published never did run smoothly. Before OF NOBLE BIRTH was even out of production, HarperCollins merged with Avon and let all their romance editors go. They let most of their romance authors go, too, and I was among them.
My career could’ve ended there, except for one thing. I’d gone to a small regional conference in Park City, Utah, just a few months before where I met Harlequin editor Paula Eykelhof. Although I’d never dreamed I’d write a contemporary romance, I decided to pitch to her simply because I had the opportunity.
I look back on that day now and wonder what possessed me to do such a thing when I was so sure I had my historical career on track, but I’m glad I did. I went home and wrote a proposal. EXPECTATIONS came out in February 2000. Since then we’ve done forty books together, including my latest romantic suspense trilogy, INSIDE, IN SECONDS & IN CLOSE (release date THIS October 25th.
But it’s interesting how things change. I started in historicals, got nudged out of historicals and just when I thought I’d never write another novel in that particular genre (even though I’ve had SO many readers of OF NOBLE BIRTH ask me to do exactly
that), the opportunity suddenly presented itself again—in the form of this new digital revolution.
As soon as I realized that I could get the rights back for OF NOBLE BIRTH, I decided to publish it myself. Then I decided to publish another full-length historical, a brand new book as opposed to a book from my backlist. This new book is about an
illegitimate child born to a wayward marquise who is determined to prove himself as good as any other man. He dreams of rising to captain his own frigate, but when he finds a lovely French stowaway aboard the Tempest, he must decide whether to return her to the man he knows will abuse her—or risk everything, even his life, to keep her safe.
I offer this background so you won’t be put off by the title (I had someone on my Facebook page take exception to it already so if you’re of that bent consider it done). By now you’ve probably guessed what it’s called…yep, THE BASTARD (aptly named,
if I don’t say so myself). And what a bastard Treynor is (I mean that in the most positive sense). New York Times Bestselling Historical Author Elizabeth Boyle just gave me a quote for the cover that made us both chuckle. She sent: “I fell in love with THE BASTARD.” I hope, if you give it a try, you will, too.
So what do you readers think of authors who self-publish books other than what they typically write? Do you see this as a fabulous opportunity to be able to read more from your favorite authors? How do you choose what to buy now that the landscape of publishing has changed so much? Are your expectations for a self-published book different from a traditionally published book?
Thanks for a great post, Brenda. I’ve always felt that you had a terrific historical voice and I’m very eager to read THE BASTARD.
I might add another question. As a reader can you tell if a book is independently published or published by a NY publishing house?
DON’T FORGET THAT WE’RE ENDING OUR FABULOUS WEBSITE LAUNCH TOMORROW. STOP BY TO PARTICIPATE IN JEANNE’S FABULOUS POST.
AND REMEMBER TO SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE KINDLE GIVEAWAY. TODAY SOMEONE WILL RECEIVE A “TRICK” AND A “TREAT” OF ONE OF BRENDA’S ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOOKS AND A DOWNLOAD OF JO’S “THE WATCHER.”
Posted by crocodesigns Aug 18 2011, 4:34 am in Aunty Cindy explains it all for you, ebooks, indie publishing, The Sidhe Princess
posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy
Lately it seems that anytime two or more writers get together and talk about writing, the subjects of ebooks and indie publishing come up. With the sudden increase in e-readers and the subsequent demand for ebooks, self-publishing has lost most of its negative stigma and is now seen as a good way for writers to give readers more of what they want — MORE STORIES!
After over a year of having doors constantly slammed in my face, the option of taking my stories directly to my readers has grown very darn appealing! A few of my writer-friends have been wildly successful with putting their stories directly onto Amazon and other ebook venues (by wildly successful, I mean earning six figures or close to it). Many others are achieving more moderate sales, but still better or equal to the money they’ve earned with traditional publishing (moderate sounds GREAT to me!).
Encouraged by these stories of success (including a couple of my Bandita-sisters), and by requests for more from my readers (truly music to my ears), I’ve decided to dip my toes into the big scary ocean of indie publishing.
Scary because the responsibility for everything now falls on lil ole me. The cover, the formatting, the editing, the promotion — I get to do it all. ACK!
But everyone who has spent more than five minutes in the Lair knows that I’m not one to back down from a challenge. After all, SOMEONE must discipline all those cabana boys. But I digress…
Several months I started writing a story that was kind of a prequel to my first book, The Wild Sight. I say kind of because the main character is actually The Wild Sight hero’s mother when she was a teen. I posted excerpts of this story as a special bonus for my newsletter group (and yes, you can join the group, just go here: http://yhoo.it/quNm8x ). So I’ve decided to make this story — actually a novelette (between 7,500 and 17,499 words) my first foray into the big, scary ocean of indie publishing.
I’m still working on the editing phase, but here’s the gorgeous cover I had designed by the lovely and talented Kim Van Meter (http://bit.ly/pbVV45)! And here is the blurb I’ve concocted:
In the rural Northern Ireland of the 1960s, sixteen-year-old Moira Mullins is newly released from her second stay in a mental institution. Her problem is that she can’t seem to escape the notice of the other-wordly inhabitants of the wild lands bordering her family’s farm. Creatures nobody else can see or hear.
When one of these beings, a fairy princess called the Maid of Ulster, offers to foretell the future, Moira jumps at the chance. But the Maid has ulterior motives that could have tragic results for Moira, who learns the future is sometimes better unknown.
I plan to have the novelette available on Amazon next month. Please wish me luck as the big, scary Indie ocean washes around my ankles!
Now for a few questions for my dear Bandita Buddies: Does the publisher of a book influence your buying? After the cover and the blurb, what do you notice next about a book? Have you read a good indie published book lately? Please share the details with Aunty!