Back to Top

Tag Archives: publishing

I have what is very big news for me: I finally got all my ducks in a row, and my old Kalen Hughes books, which have been out of print for several years now, are available again! The eBooks are up on Amazon and enrolled in KU for the first 90 days. The print books are also there, but I’m having a bit of trouble linking them up.

I have spiffy new covers, by Jessica T. Cohen (one of my best friends, who happens to be a professional illustrator). I’m gonna give her a plug here, because she’s really amazing and you should check out her work. She’s got covers coming for Pam Rosenthal soon, and they’re pretty spectacular. She’s open for bookings and she can do fine art styles in a host of different styles and mediums as well as the style you see here. She even did custom “dingbats” for my chapter headings and scene breaks.

Sin Incarnate

Formally Lord Sin

I knew I wanted to try illustrated covers (who knew they’d suddenly be big again and I’d be on trend for the first time in my professional life?!). Jess and I put our heads together and decided on a clean “paper cut” look for them, with additional embellishments. I was blown away by what she came back with. I simply adore the arches. And the putti. Everything is better with putti.

Scandal Incarnate

Formally Lord Scandal

They’ve been brought over to my Isobel Carr pen name, and given new and infinitely better titles (IMO). And look, my half-Turkish hero isn’t BLOND AND HAIRY on the cover this time around. *roll eyes*

I had a ton of fun doing the typography layout on top of Jessica’s amazing art. There was just something really rewarding about combining our two skillsets and making someone beautiful and functional. And yes, the “sexually aggressive heroines” was a theme we’d consciously gone with long before that horror movie poster hit Twitter, LOL! And we’ll be sticking with it.

The whole experience has been very enlightening, and I have to give major thanks to Carolyn Jewel and Zoe York for all their help and advice and handholding. I’ve been a complete wreck trying to figure all this self pub stuff out. It’s actually really hard to find all the basic info on format and size and file type. Every time I thought I had what I needed, I’d get an error message informing me I was wrong. Hopefully things will go smoother from now on … though I’m waiting for the plagiarism notification email from Amazon. You think by now they’d just have a place for you to upload your reversion letter when you’re setting up the book.

There’s a third cover in the works, for my previously “self-published only on my website” novelette, which I’m going to call Temptation Incarnate. I’ll have it up hopefully in the next week or two. And best of all, I finally have my writing mojo back! While I’ve been working on all of this, I have been noodling about (which is as close as I get to plotting) with ideas for then next Incarnate book, and low and behold it’s going to be F/F. My dashing lady rake popped into my head and announced that while she likes men fine, women are where it’s at for her. So the duke that was her destiny will get kicked to the curb early on and she and her lady-love with get their HEA.

Ok, Sapphic muse, let’s roll…

I’d like to continue Diane’s discussion about Historical Romance. I’ve now been writing long enough that I have “survived” cycles. At least twice since I published my first novel (a historical romance!) the Historical has been declared dead. Vampires have been dead. (BWAHAHAHAHAAHAH! Ohmygod you have no idea how fun that was to write!) Westerns: Dead. Contemporary Romance: Dead. Romantic Suspense: Dead. Zombies: The Walking Dead.

What I have continued to hear throughout my writing life is that Regencies sell and sell a lot. You can’t sell Victorian! ::::Courtney Milan:::: You can’t sell Edwardian ::::Sherry Thomas:::: You can’t sell Georgian ::::Jo Beverly:::: No more Scotsmen! And for God’s sake, not Culloden! ::::Monica McCarty::::

For a long while, the Angsty Historical was IN IN IN!! Right now, they’re a hard sell. Oh my GOD!! Nobody tell Cecilia Grant!  And what about lighthearted historical romances? Are they In or Out? The answer is yes.

Publishers will always buy more of what’s sold in the past, and they will keep doing that until 1) people stop buying them and/or 2) someone comes along with an extraordinary book that breaks with the past– because editors, while of course they buy what’s sold in the past, also, from time to time, buy a damn good book that isn’t like what’s popular. And should that damn good book break out, then of course publishers will buy more of that, too.

Now there’s self-publishing thrown in there. But first, what’s the one thing publishing DOESN’T do that every other company does? Yes. Market testing. Publishing doesn’t survey the end-user. They don’t focus group covers or (to my knowledge) A/B test anything. Publishers know next to nothing about what readers are inclined to buy. The traditional market, driven by middlemen who purchase for Big Stores, has removed publishers from the consumer who would, in the aggregate, buy more varied books except that the middleman (the stores who buy lots and lots of only a few books) has artificially whittled down the selection.

In other words, the genetic diversity required for a robust, healthy population withered away in the face of a dangerous inbreeding. The problem with limited diversity is you don’t realize it’s unhealthy until the offspring are dying. Or one of the studs or brood mares dies. In this somewhat tortured analogy, the offspring are the books, the studs and brood mares are the Big Chains.

One day, After All the Editors Went Home, the Slush Pile and an Abandoned Marketing Research Plan Partied Hard

Nine months later …..

A baby!!!

They named it Self-publishing. But all its rowdy friends call it Indie for short.

Because, really, what is self-publishing but one big genetically diverse market test for publishers? Setting aside all the missteps so far, self-publishing is a crucible from which shiny new kinds of stories emerge market-tested. Traditional publishers can watch what catches on, and place their bets with greater confidence than before. 50 Shades proved there’s a bigger market for erotic romance than they knew. “New Adult” showed up in self-publishing first. If publishers manage to get their Beer Goggles off, they may find they’re in a good place.

Oh, Historical, Where Art Thou?

As the publishing ecosystem continues its transformation, we’ll see Indie authors do riskier things with their stories — and they can do it because they don’t have to listen to anyone tell them they can’t publish a story with THAT in it. They can write in the mid-Victorian period if they want. And maybe that story will crash and burn because (all other things being equal) what readers want is a Regency. Or a Vampire. Or something else. But there WILL be new and different historicals.

So. What do YOU think?

If you look over there — there. In the sidebars …. You may see the covers of my historicals Scandal and Indiscreet. Those are the US covers done by Berkley Books, and they are lovely. That’s John Marron, by the way, on the cover of Indiscreet. ::waving:::

I’ve spent the last year being silent about that fact that the books were, until about last week, unavailable in the US or Canada. Berkley mistakenly took them off sale in the latter half of 2012.

Long story short, by February of 2013, I instructed my agent that we should stop our (fruitless) efforts to get them to fix the mistake and simply request a reversion after the next royalty statement. And that is what we did.

My reversions arrived last week. I have been working to get them on sale in the US and Canada with the covers I commissioned for my non-North American version of the books. By “version” I mean different covers, a couple of typos fixed, and a reformatted interior. Some of you may recall that the original eBook version of Indiscreet was unreadable. The corrected file, when it was finally produced, was … readable. I’ll leave it at that.

It’s odd. I loved writing for Berkley. I loved my editor, I’ve adored all my covers. The copy-editor for Scandal was amazing, and I did have regrets about declining the opportunity to do additional books for them. But the fact is that Scandal and Indiscreet mean more to me than they did to Berkley– the company. The economic harm during the nearly year and a half the books were not on sale was disproportionately mine.

Then there’s the harm to my writing career. When Dear Author had long threads about historicals with exotic locations, I know for a fact people tried to buy Indiscreet (because the book was mentioned in the threads) and could not. I know because a couple of them emailed me. How many didn’t? Not so long ago, Scandal was again reviewed on Dear Author. Not to sound too vain, but Scandal was a RITA finalist. It made a list of one of the 100 best Romances. My agent called it a tour-de-force. And a website that gets hundreds of thousands of hits from romance readers reviewed it again, nearly four years after its release. And nobody in North America could buy the book when it should have been available.

When those two books disappeared from sale, Berkley wasn’t motivated to fix the problem. I, on the other hand, was fielding emails from readers who’d heard about the books and could not get them, and there was nothing I could do. My agent and I had already made multiple requests to get the books back on sale.

To everyone in  North America who wondered why there was no eBook and practically no print availability, this is why. I’m sorry for the long wait and the silence, but once I decided I was done with the situation, I was worried that Berkley would (at last) notice what had happened.

Scandal and Indiscreet are both good books. Really good books. If you like angsty books, then hey, I’m your gal. And at last, if you’re in North America, you can get the books for $4.99 US.

Here are the links I have so far for Scandal:

Here are the links for Indiscreet:

I’m not sure why Kobo hasn’t managed to get the books on sale yet. Hopefully soon. Google Play and Print versions will be coming shortly.

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By