Friday, August 22, 2014

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

It's been a horrifically long time since I've updated my blog.  I can only say that for months now I have been vacillating, soul searching and trying to make some decisions about the future of my writing.  I'm happy to say,  I'm finally where I need to be.

Back in 2010, my first book "Death Is A Relative Thing" won first prize and the Editors Choice award in the Great American Novel Contest.  I was thrilled, but even more happy when TAG Publishing told me they wanted to publish the book.  They also published my second book, "Relative Identity", which was also an award winner.  They are a small print on demand publisher.  They helped me a lot, they got my feet wet in the industry, created fun cover art and did all of the million tasks I didn't want to be bothered with and truly was ignorant about like obtaining ISBN numbers, editing, formatting for print and e-pub versions, etc. For that I paid a price.  I signed over my rights to the books, shared my earnings and  lost editorial and pricing control. Of course, everyone gets a piece of the action and they did their share of work, so I never thought it was unfair. 

I started wondering though, if there was a better way.  Print on demand books are print on demand whether they are through a publisher or self published.  I started to realize that having a middleman wasn't really getting me any additional marketing exposure, in fact it was probably hurting because I couldn't call the shots, determine the platforms or decide on changes.  Having a publisher didn't change the fact that the books were not mainstream and they were always going to be a tough sell to libraries and brick and mortar bookstores. The print on demand format just doesn't fit conventional return policies or discount offerings the way large print runs do.    

I started considering self publishing before the second book came out, but I was scared.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to pull it all together, that my book would look amateurish and, worst of all, I didn't want to say that I was 'self published'.  In my world I felt that if the only person who feels I should be published was me, well then, I probably shouldn't go there.

So like I said, I've been soul searching.  I want my books to be the best they can be and I thought with a publisher that would happen, but that's wasn't my reality.  There were spelling and grammatical errors that I found embarrassing.  Some were introduced during professional editing, some were my own, but getting them fixed was difficult.  I couldn't access the files to make changes.  I couldn't decide when and if I wanted to run a promotion.  I couldn't see how many copies I had sold until months and months after the fact. Something needed to change. 

The people at TAG and I had a discussion and I got released from my contract.  Rights are now reverted back to me.  I was happy that I also received the cover art files from them, as I really didn't want to alter the look of the books now that they have been somewhat established.   But this left me with a real problem. For all intents and purposes, the books have been off market since March.  Yes, Amazon still is selling the print versions because they have some copies on hand, but the place where I have gotten the most exposure and sales has always been the e-book versions. So I have combed through the book and made small changes that were necessary.  I've added the first chapter of the second book so readers can get a little taste of what's to come. And I'm excited again.  Very. 

So that all being said, I am very pleased to announce that 'Death Is A Relative Thing' is back in e-format!  And now it's not just on Amazon for Kindle. It's for Apple and Kobo, and Barnes and Noble's Nook and Smashwords and well, really just about any reader can be utilized. 

"Relative Identity' is next.  It's almost ready to go to the wonderful people at Polgarus Studio  who formatted "Death Is A Relative Thing".  I'm anticipating about two weeks before it's online.  And I'm working on the third book in the series which is now officially dubbed "The Ghosts, Guilt and Tweezers Chronicles."  I'm working towards a January 2015 release.  I hope you spread the word and if you haven't read the first book yet, please do.  

'Death Is A Relative Thing' will be available directly from Amazon, Apple and B&N within a few days as it does take time for everyone to update their book lists, however the files for any of the readers can be purchased immediately (Yes right now!) from Smashwords.  

Sample or purchase Death Is A Relative Thing here:
And as a thank you for managing to read this blog in its entirety, ... I am including a  20% off coupon.  It's good for a limited time.  Order from Smashwords and use code XP35F for your discount.

After the e-book version of 'Relative Identity' comes available, I'll focus on pulling together the print versions. As much as the market is changing, I am still always going to want my books to be..well...books. I don't think I'll ever love e-reading as much as I love holding a book and turning a page, but I am becoming one of a minority. 

I'll update again when "Relative Identity" is online and now that my initial foray into the world of self publishing is behind me, I hope to find time to update this blog more regularly.  

Thanks to all- Holly