Archive for the ‘e-publishing’ Tag

End of an Era

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Most books aren’t published forever. Print publishers make room for new titles by having limited print runs, and backlisted titles that don’t sell are often not reprinted. Since e-books are technically forever, e-book publishers often deal with this by offering time-limited contracts.

Sadly, this means that my three-year contract with Lyrical Press for SUFFER THE CHILDREN has now come to an end. The e-book in its current format has disappeared from all online retailers. This has been a hard thing to deal with. It’s particularly depressing to discover that it’s gone from the Amazon Kindle list, along with the handful of generally positive reviews it had notched up. Somehow seeing it on Amazon made me feel validated as an author.

However, the good news is that with the end of the contract, the rights have reverted back to me, to do with them as I see fit. And SUFFER THE CHILDREN will return as an e-book, although with a different cover. In fact, I’ve commissioned an artist I know to work on the new cover image. Watch this space for more information.

In the meantime, SUFFER THE CHILDREN is still on Goodreads – at least it is at present. With the recent news about Amazon taking over Goodreads, who knows what’s going to happen. For now, at least, it’s there, along with a few reviews that people have posted there. So if you enjoyed SUFFER THE CHILDREN, why not go post a review there? It might help me boost sales when the rebooted version is released.

If you didn’t get around to buying it, all is not lost, as it will be back in the near future. In the meantime, you could try DEATH SCENE or SOUL SCREAMS while you wait. Both of them are still available from Amazon…

Coming Soon…

(Cross-posted from WriteClub)

I am pleased to be able to announce that my next publishing project is in the pipeline. A collection of my short stories, with the working title of SOUL SCREAMS, will be released as an e-book and POD version, with a scheduled publication date of February 2012.

I’m working with a new e-publisher for this project, but their editor I know well and have worked with in the past, and I have every faith in them.  The anthology will contain previously published short stories, as well as some unpublished ones.  They are all horror-themed, but much of my earlier work dealt with psychological horror rather than supernatural horror, and characters in very dark places.  It’s not going to be an uplifting read, put it that way.  Unlike my novels, my short stories rarely end happily.

I am not able to say much more about this project at this time, but I am very excited about working on it. I will release more information soon, so be sure to watch this space!

What I Learned From My Editor # 3 – “Stop Burbling”

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

The two e-books I have on Lyrical’s list both went through a rigorous editing process.  I tried to take on board what my editor told me.  In fact, I find when I write now, my “inner editor” has taken on her voice.  “If it doesn’t move the plot forward, take it out” is what I hear most frequently.

My amateur sleuth, Shara Summers, has a habit of “burbling”.  When I am writing about her, I find myself with pages and pages of self-reflection that are really no more than her opinion on things and do nothing to move the plot forward.  Or I’m focusing on too much detail.  I’ve talked about this before.  if Shari gets out of a car she’ll remove the key from the ignition, take her seat belt off, open the door, get out, close the door, lock the door, and so on, when all she really needs to do is get out of the car and the reader will assume the rest.

I’m currently working on Draft 3 of the second Shara Summers book, and when I get to the end of this draft, I hope it will be ready to present to beta readers. As I work on it, I am hearing this voice in my head, and I’m sure it’s my editor’s. “You don’t need all this detail. What’s important in this chapter? The six paragraphs you’ve got before that are slowing the story down. Cut to the action.”

It used to be that when I was working on Draft 2 onwards I’d be adding words, feeling the need to pad out the story. My editor has taught me that this isn’t necessary.

However, this means that I’m writing much shorter novels. Both SUFFER THE CHILDREN and DEATH SCENE lost over 10,000 words in the editing process, and neither of them were particularly wordy tomes to begin with. The current WIP was less than 60,000 words by the end of Draft 2. At the rate I’m going, it’s going to come in at less than 50,000 words when it’s finished.

I always thought I was a novel writer. Maybe I’m more a novella writer. Perhaps it’s fortuitous that I’m an e-author. There’s far more scope for short novels with e-books than with print books.

The End Of the Edits

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

The galleys for DEATH SCENE are finally done, and I am rejoicing.

For the uninitiated, galleys are the final proof of a novel before it gets published. For my e-books, the galleys arrive in the form of a PDF file. This is the last chance I have to make edits, so I have to read them carefully, and make notes of any changes in a separate word document, to be submitted back to the editor.

The pesky day job has been seriously hampering my writing time the last couple of weeks (and before that was my holiday…) so I was not able to devote as much time to my galleys as I would prefer. Still, I managed to read them twice. I found a few things that looked wrong, I made notes, and I despatched them back to the editor.

Submitting the galleys marked the end of the emotional roller-coaster ride that was the editing process. At the beginning of this process, I was excited that my book was going to have a place in the world. By the third or fourth round of edits, I was sick to death of the story and convinced it was a load of rubbish and I had no business calling myself a writer.

When I got to the galleys, that changed. As I read through them, my faith in my story was re-confirmed. It wasn’t a bad book after all, I thought. In fact, by the end of the editing process I was rather proud of what I’d achieved, and had rediscovered a belief in myself as a writer.

My involvement in the editing process is now over. My actress amateur sleuth, Shara Summers, is waiting in the wings for her big entrance into the world. I can’t help but feel a little nervous on her behalf. Will she get a standing ovation, or get booed off the stage? I guess only time will tell.

E-books and Editing

(Cross-posted from the WriteClub blog)

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a one-woman crusade to champion the cause for e-books. But there’s a lot of prejudice out there against them. One misconception is if you’ve got an e-book, you’ve PDF’d it yourself and stuck it up on Amazon.

It’s true there are a lot of self-published e-books. There are a lot of self-published print books also, but I guess e-books are easier and cheaper to produce if you’re going down the self-published route. Self publishing has always had bad press in the industry. Just because a book is self-published doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad – although I have read some that have made me understand where that assumption comes from.

The fact remains, though, that more and more small publishers are specialising in e-books only. This doesn’t mean they scrimp on quality. There’s still a rigorous editing process. SUFFER THE CHILDREN went through no less than seven rounds of editing, not including the pre-edit. DEATH SCENE is still in the process, but there’s already been three rounds with more to come.

With the nature of publishing changing the way it is, I think we’re going to see more and more independent publishers setting up as e-publishers. Sadly, much of the industry still has to come to grips with the fact that just because a book is an e-book only and has no print version doesn’t mean it’s not a ‘proper’ book.

I’m on a personal crusade to disabuse people of this notion at every opportunity. In fact most people who know me are bored of me banging on about this now. The publishing industry is changing. Those of us who are e-book converts just have to wait for everyone else to catch up.

Sales Figures

I get the impression that in the publishing world, discussing the amounts of royalties a writer receives is Not Done – it’s a big a breach of etiquette as discussing someone’s salary.

In some ways, though, it’s hard to get an accurate view of what “normal” sales are for a new and lowly author. In a world where the unenlightened hear the worlds “published author”, think of JK Rowlings and assume you’re making a killing from your writing, the reality of modest sales can be very depressing.

So, in this spirit, I have decided to declare my sales figures here. In 2010, I sold a total of 73 copies of SUFFER THE CHILDREN. Twenty-four of those were bought in April – the month the e-book was released – by people that know me. A further 26 were copies of the e-book on CD – mostly bought by people who know me, but a few were bought by people who did not, at the London Film & Comic Con in July.

So, that means a maximum of 23 copies were bought by people who might have come across one of my guest posts, or found my blog, and decided they liked the sound of my e-book.

Lyrical Press have recently released sales figures for their top-selling e-books of 2010 – no titles, just genres. The e-books that are selling into the four digits are all erotica. The top-selling e-book, selling more than 9000 copies in 2010, is a BDSM erotica e-book.

If this is your genre, then kudos to you – you’re on to a winner. My paltry 73 sales look rather pathetic in comparison.

Notoriety as an author does not happen overnight – the e-book’s been out for less than a year. And nobody has the power to wave a magic wand and turn me into a best-selling author immediately. It’s sometimes very discouraging to keep on hammering at the promotion when tangible results are not evident. But the only solution seems to be to keep at it. Without it, some of those extra 23 sales last year might not have happened. Maybe this is the way it has to be. I am at the bottom of a very long ladder. One tiny step at a time is the way to go.

So saying, I have two more guest blog posts lined up this month. I better go and get on with them.

Not a “Proper” Book

The first thing I did upon receiving my publishing contract was to join the Society of Authors. Their website states that if you have a contract, you can join as an Associate Member, and the Society will get their solicitors to peruse your contract and offer advice on its legitimacy. Once your book is published, you can then join as a full member.

The contract vetting service was immensely helpful, and as an Associate Member I am able to attend the Society’s AGM. However, my second year of membership now approaches, and although my book is now out I am not able to upgrade to full membership. The rules state that e-books, self-published books and POD books are not eligible for full membership.

When my horror book was released, I also looked at joining the Horror Writers’ Association, which is an international organisation for professional horror writers. I am not eligible to join, however. Their rules state that in order to be eligible an author must have sold a book to a publisher for “professional rates” – which they define as a mininum advance and a minimum rate of royalties. Although I qualify with the royalties, I do not qualify with the advance. Most e-publishers – and indeed an increasing number of independent print publishers – do not pay advances.

Now that my crime book is also to be published as an e-book, I wondered whether the Crime Writers’ Association would include me as a member. The guidelines on their website only specify that one is eligible to join once one has had a crime novel published. However, further investigation revealed that I will not be eligible to join until I have had a “proper” print book published. Again, e-books don’t count.

Thus I have come to realise there exists a great deal of suspicion and ignorance about e-books in the publishing world. Most of this stems from people not understanding what e-books are about. It is true there are a lot of self-published e-books around, and self-published books have never been considered to be “proper” publications. But the number of legitimate e-publishers is growing, and a lot of people in the publishing world seem to be lumping all e-books under the “self-published” banner, without really understanding that the process of publication for an e-book with a legitimate e-publisher involves a rigorous editing process, and the author gets royalties as a percentage of the sale price every time the e-book is purchased, in just the same way as they would a print book.

Getting the book contract was one dream fulfilled. My dream of becoming a full member of a “professional” writing association remains, sadly, out of reach for the time being. Until, perhaps, the publishing industry decides to embrace e-authors as “proper” writers. Or I become so well known as a writer I have the “big players” queuing up to give me contracts and fat advances.

Hmm. Not sure at this stage which one is more likely. I think I see a flying pig…

Talking About E-Publishing

There’s another new interview with me on the Internet today, on NK Kingston’s Solelyfictional blog, where I talk about the pros and cons of e-publishing. Take a look here.

Exciting News About The Next Book

I’m very pleased to be able to say I’ve just signed a contract with Lyrical for the next book. This is to be a crime novel – in fact THE crime novel, the one I’ve been shopping around for the last couple of years.

The book is called DEATH SCENE, and it’s the first in a planned series featuring my amateur sleuth, Canadian actress Shara Summers. As with the last novel, Lyrical will be publishing it as an e-book, hopefully in the next 12 months or so but I will keep you updated – watch this space…


New Year Musings

I know a lot of people who will be glad to see the back of 2009. For me, however, it was a really good year. This was largely due to my publishing contract – well, that’s just the best thing ever, and it really doesn’t get much better than that.

Turning 40 was also a highlight of the year. Not only was the party awesome, but I end the year with a new sense of confidence, and security in who I am and where I’m going. Yes, there are a few more grey hairs and wrinkles, more saggy bits, and the older I get the harder it is to lose weight and not find it again. But I am happy to accept it all, and there’s no way I would want to be 18 again. I am 40, and I am proud.

Perhaps the day has not yet come when I can quit the day job and write full time, but I finish the year in gainful employment, at a time when a lot of people have been made redundant or face uncertainty in the job market.

So what will 2010 bring? It will bring the publication of SUFFER THE CHILDREN, which is fantastic. I’ve also decided it’s time to get going on the next book. I plan to return to my urban fantasy, and kick it out the second-draft slump it currently finds itself in. After all, with the publication of one book, I need to have another one ready to go, and since the first book is horror, it’s probably best for me not to stray too far away from that genre, at least for the time being.

2009 was a bad year for many, but it was a good one for me. I look forward to seeing what the new decade will bring.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2010 be good to you all.