Posts Tagged ‘digital publishing’

Where do you buy your books? A statistical rant.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Where do you buy your books?

I’ve heard in author discussion recently that the publishing press and the traditional publishers they front for want us to still buy that 70% of all books sold are still sold in bricks and mortar stores.

If they’re talking about only print books, and maybe hard cover books or best-selling authors (and I mean the ones who sell millions of copies of each release), then, yeah, I’ll buy that. And if you’re one of those authors who can score a decent hard cover print run or for whom it doesn’t matter where you sign your next contract you’ll sell because you’re already branded, then New York must seem quite flattering and attractive for you.

old books

If you’re mid-list author or a newbie, or even some of the best-selling authors I know (who’ve for years been hitting lists left and right and USED to score tasty hard cover print runs but not so much anymore), you aren’t buying the above statistic any more than I am. Because you live in the real world where digital is the new mid-list, mass market platform and traditional publishers have no clue how to make digital publishing work except for the branded, and for the branded the money’s still in physical stores.

In the real world, at least in commercial fiction,we want to see our books in stores, but we know that 70% of our sales won’t happen there. At least we hope not, because print distribution more than sucks, it’s becoming non-existent.

I write for Amazon. Montlake. They’ve made me more money in a year (my first novel with them launched the end of Oct., ‘12) than my primary traditional publisher has in my entire career (and that would be over 8 years of being “successful” on their lists). Montlake finds readers who love my work (reviews prove that), buy almost exclusively digital (95% of my sales) and come back for more (proof that my new team understands their marketing business and doesn’t care that we’ve been blacklisted from most physical stores). They’ve sold more of each title so far (including the one that’s currently been out for just a couple of months) than my traditional publisher could through their “successful” print distribution when I walked away.

Do I wish that my Mimosa Lane books were in print bookstores?

I do. Print readers would love them, too, and I trust my publisher to make that connection for me when they can.

Do I regret that I’m making TEN TIMES the royalty rate on my digital sales at Amazon Montalke than I have at any of my traditional publishing houses?

I do not.

Do I believe the publishing press that doesn’t want digital publishing to be the end of the print publishing model as we know it (notice I don’t say the end of print publishing, just that the way it’s always been done is going to have to change) includes my and my peer’s digital sales in their calculation of “book sales” to come up with their 70% statistic?

Don’t make me laugh.

GoodReads Giveaway: Christmas on Mimosa Lane ARCs

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Exciting news… To celebrate Christmas on Mimosa Lane’s October 23rd launch,  we’re giving away 5 ARCs on GoodReads.

Just link over and enter!

7009141_frontcover low res

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: Me and Dorchester, the CliffsNotes Version

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

You have to be willing to take risks in this business of ours. Calculated risks that are nonetheless precarious for the careful thought you put into jumping off whatever cliff of opportunity looms before you. Sometimes a marvelous parachute glide awaits you, easing you into your next step forward. Sometimes there turn out to be holes in your plan and you land in the trees–if you’re lucky. Sometimes you crash and burn completely. My experience with Dorchester Publishing these last few years, like many authors, has been more the latter.  But as of last week I can officially say it hasn’t been a crash and burn fiasco, and the trees that were grabbing at my chute are receding farther and farther away each time I look back. Perspective?One might call it that, this ah-ha sensation filling me. Hind sight gives us the illusion of finally seeing things as they were always meant to be. Maybe it’s just dumb luck… You be the judge.


Too often it feels as if I have absolutely NO idea how I got to this moment of deep sighing and appreciation for a journey well traveled and a fight bravely faced and won (Amazon, the publisher who also recently signed a three book deal with me to publish a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series has bought out Dorchester’s list at auction and will not only pay me royalties due from the last three years, but will re-list and potentially buy new titles into my sci-fi/fantasy series).

To be honest, I have some idea. But my mind’s still spinning as I process the twists and turns and decisions and retreats–stopping myself, ultimately, from making several end-game decisions that would have ended this wild ride before I achieved what I’d set out to. What follows is the CliffsNotes version of that adventure, because publishing can be a sucky journey for all of us and I’m happy to share my personal suckage if it might possibly help others finding themselves in their own potentially no-win situations, trying to choose the least objectionable of the unsatisfying options before them.

no win decision

But first, let’s identify what exactly I wanted to achieve from the start. Because the best business decisions are potentially bad business decisions, regardless of the odds in your favor, if you don’t understand your goal. My best advice to anyone when they ask me my opinion of what they should do about a book, agent, publisher or contract is to figure out what you want and determine the best way to achieve that. Beyond that, I got nothing. Because as you’ll see below, the rules are always changing and what works for me or someone else now may be a no-win choice for you tomorrow. You have to be flexible in this business. You have to dodge and duck and know when to jump or stand still.  None of which you can do effectively if you aren’t sure where you’re headed.

My goal with my sci-fi/fantasy series: To establish my mainstream fiction work and to build a series for a broader audience than my contemporary romance roots, into which I could continue to sell future novels. Simple right?

success failure

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

  • Round about the fall of 2008: Dorchester offers a 2-book deal for my Legacy Series. Dark Legacy to release nationwide in mass market paperback in the fall of 2009.
  • I deliver the book on time, but the advance money isn’t coming from the publisher as quickly as it should. Agent pushes hard behind the scenes, but we don’t pull the book from the schedule. It’s more important to my goal to be established as a mainstream author with bigger stories to sell than my category romance roots, than it is to join in the shrieks of dissatisfaction with the publisher beginning to rumble all over the Internet.
  • Fall, 2009: Dark Legacy in stores, positioned well, I’m signing in the B&N flagship store in New York’s Lincoln Center, and we’re off. Sales are good but nothing fabulous. We can do better, publisher says. My series is repositioned away from traditional romance and closer to the sci-fi/thriller market it’s better suited for.
  • Secret Legacy due to editor in early 2010 for a rushed summer 2010 release because they want to break it out. They’re behind this very different, edgy thing I’m doing with my mainstream work 110%. They’ve also by now paid me the advance I’m owed to date. Agent and I see this as a good chance to shine within a smaller traditional press, so I keep working.
  • Health issues and surgery prevent me from turning the second book in on time. Editor and publisher couldn’t have been more understanding. Deadline for delivering Secret Legacy is pushed to the spring of 2010, with a fall release. It’s the hardest writing period I’ve ever had, and I called my agent to quit more than once, but the book was finished and revised in a gruelingly short amount of time. If nothing else, this experience proved to me that I had to keep writing–if for no other reason than I couldn’t seem to make myself stop.
  • Fall 2010: Serious money spent on my part and committed by publisher to promote the book that should break out, even though remaining advance for the second book on the contract hasn’t yet been paid. However, lots of publisher plans–print and digital promotion. Extensive online blog tour being set up. Again, agent and I are staying focused on the publishing possibilities and my investing in my mainstream future, which means I continue to do my job and play nice while she rattles their cages fighting to get me the money owed.
  • Two weeks before Secret Legacy’s launch: it’s announced on the Internet (not to individual authors) that overnight Dorchester’s pulling their print publishing arm (meaning all my mass market print books are being yanked, never to be distributed retail) and beginning immediately  to shift to a digital first/print on demand business. My break out release: not going to happen. My sizable investment in promoting to mass market retailers and readers: wasted. My remaining faith in publisher: destroyed.
  • (more…)

Pre-Release Guest Blog Winners–more to come!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Everyone loves free books, right? And I love giving stories away, especially to readers who dig what I’m writing. Isn’t that why we do this crazy thing called publishing, to get our words and ideas and characters out there so they can flourish in someone else’s imagination?

My pre-release blog tour is wrapping up (though you can still win a free digital copy of Her Forgotten Betrayal if you hurry and enter at Close Encounters of the Night Kind). Entangled has amazing plans for all the Dead Sexy launch titles, so starting next week look for even more chances to win not just books, but gift certificates and even a Nook!

In the mean time, here are the lucky ladies so far who’ve participated in my guest blogs and won a digital copy of HFB;o) Take a spin around each fun post to see what you might have missed and why my gothic thriller’s getting rave 5 Star Reviews…

cover blog lowres 

From Close Encountes of the Night Kind: A killer look inside the making of Her Forgoten Betrayal–CONTEST STILL RUNNING!

Don’t forget to enter–maybe you’ll win!

From the lovely Ginger Calem’s blog: What’s at the heart of your fear?

Pamela Mason

From Romance Bandits: A KILLER HFB interview!

Ireanne Chambers

From The Writing Playground: A Dark and stormy night. Happily ever after. What’s your favorite part of a thrilling story?

Laura G.

From Stacy Green’s Twisted Minds and Dark Places: Embrace the things that go bump in your night.

Robena Grant

From the Romance Author Hotspot: A genre-bending interview  ;o)

Natalie Damschroder

Her Forgotten Betrayal is Live! A “Dead Sexy” Gothic Thriller…

Friday, June 15th, 2012

I’m leaving on a jet plane in the morning to teach this weekend, but I wanted to shout it to the rafters before I go…

Her Forotten Betrayal, my launch title for Entangled Publishing’s Dead Sexy Books is LIVE! Check it out. And just look at the beautiful cover these amazing folks created for lovely new baby.

 cover blog lowres

Two more AMAZING titles are on their way any minute now (uploading gods willing): NO Hero from Mallory Kane and Sacrifice of Passion from Melissa Bourbon Ramirez. And don’t miss May’s Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies from Cynthia Cooke! All four Dead Sexy launch titles will knock our socks off (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote one of the books and edited two of the remaining three ;o)

It’s been a mind-numbing few months–working hard with amazing editors and publishing professions to get all these books ready. I particularly want to thank Nina Bruhns, Liz Pelletier, and Vicki Wilkerson for all their vision, hard work, dedication and patience. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of your team, ladies ;o)

Keep checking back for all the promotional details. Entangled’s going all out with this launch, so there will be tons of chances to win free books, a Nook and other great giveaways.

Have a GREAT weekend, everyone!

The Soul of the Matter: Love the One You’re With…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Writers aren’t all that different for saner mortals. Even though most of us wear our freak flags like parade banners. As part of our every-day, we offer ourselves up for rejection–the very reality we tend to fear most. Because we’re bent that way. We write about our neuroses and dreams and innermost secrets. Then we go one step further in our quest to understand, by slapping our names onto what we’ve created before sending it out into the world to be judged. Which is tantamount to dropping your pants, then plastering a pic of the gory details all over social media. And in the end, most of us writer-types, the honest ones anyway, will admit that we’re TERR-I-FIED by the entire process, even though we cant’ stop ourselves from indulging in it. Why? For the same reason a “normal” person follows his or her passion. LOVE.


You don’t get to pick and chose how your mind works or what makes your creativity thrive. Life, in my honest opinion, is about learning to love who and what you are–and the love that you’re born to pursue.

Challenge that core reality, and you’re denying the inner freakishness that you’re here to explore and share. Take a look at my Things My Teenager Says series, if you want an idea of how proud I am of kids (and adults) who figure out exactly who and what they are, then fly that uniqueness proudly. I’m still on a path to owning my own stuff, probably a step or two behind my gifted teen. But I’m a writer. What can I say? I pay more attention most days to internal landscapes, than I do the world around me. I’ll catch up eventually. I’ll understand, one of these years, everything that love is supposed to mean to me and everything it’s not. Until then, I’ll be crazy, loud and proud, and fake it ’til I make it.

crazy love graphic

Being crazy in love with your uniqueness, even when it means standing out in ways that shriek at your insecurities and desperation to belong–that’s the life goal I wish for myself. And yourself. (more…)

How We Write: When we’re waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Writing like we’re on fire is every author’s dream. Creating free and feeling the juice and dying to find out what happens next. But how is that zone possible, when your control of the “business” world of your publishing slips beyond your grasp? I’m asked this question all the time. Possibly because I’m riding that slippery slope most of the time these days ;o) Not sure that’s a compliment to the state of my business. But it’s nice, too, living the unpredictability of my world in an outward way that makes others want to know how I’m dealing with all of it.

There are those, in my opinion, who want to tell you how to do what they themselves aren’t, because they’ve been blessed with the answers you can’t find anywhere else–self-help folks, especially in writing circles, who haven’t actually done what they’re promising they can help you be a success at, chap my hide.


If your fiction writing guru has never actually published a work of fiction, you should probably take that as a sign.

Just saying.

There are those who are going through what you’re needing help with, and just want to rant. I’m not a big fan of that approach either. Everyone needs to vent when the going gets tough, but making a career out of shocking the world with your bitterness or need to blame everyone but your own choices for your circumstances is a little too weak for my tastes.

Then there are those who live their trials and their successes in the open, with the same kind of honesty, and invite you into their up-and-down journey, as they try to make sense out of the mix. I’d like to think this latter approach is what I’ve been rambling about doing in How We Write. (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: But you absolutely MUST whine…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

You hear it all the time, how hard this writing and publishing thing has become. Or whatever else your thing is, you know what’s making your journey impossible. ”Suck it up,” everyone says. “It’s just business.” And they’re right. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to say, “‘Tis,” and battle on. But other times, you need to whine. If you don’t let the frustration and anger and disappointments out, how will you know what’s most important to you and what’s worth waging your epic battle over?

epic battle cuteness

I mean, you need to have a plan, right? Beginning with a goal, so you know what you’re staying in the fight for. When it gets ugly and you want to quit, your battle plan is all you have to keep you going. Make the battle simple and clear, and about what’s most important to you. And your army must be filled with those who see your vision most clearly.

pez army

How do you give yourself all of that, if you’re  not honest about what you’re fighting for. If you’re not whining with clarity ;o)

My full proof plan for whining with purpose and pride, whatever your battlefield ?

  1. Begin with a tantrum. A completely out of control moment where your barriers are down and there’s nothing left but what’s driving you round the bend and the people who’re willing to stand beside you, calmly watch the meltdown, and be there when the dust settles to help you pick up the pieces.
  2. Dig beneath those real emotions for the core conflict that sparked your freak-out. What’s being threatened that’s so near and dear to you, you can’t let it go, no matter how irrational your instinct to rebel? That’s your nugget. That’s the invaluable part of you that you feel powerless to get/protect/preserve/make thrive.
  3. Now, leave the irrationality behind, and suit up for battle. (more…)

How We Write: The Soul of the Matter

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

My Soul of the Matter posts are usually about my life and the life I see going on around me, and how I try to change daily the things I let prevent me from actually living. Because surviving isn’t enough. Thriving should be the goal. How We Write is usually a motivational rant about finding the soul of your writing, and not just worshiping craft rules. Today, I hope to accomplish both.


How we write isn’t always about process and technique. Because we’re creating story. And story is a powerful mechanism for changing minds, and through them our world. Always has been. We write because something drives us to touch readers’ imaginations and hearts and emotions. Their souls. That’s a powerful motivation that should never be completely obscured by our how.

My point?

Every story has a beginning. No matter how beautifully you’re capable of stringing words together, your story begins and ends with your character and your reader’s experience of that character’s journey. Your story must resonate with the heart. It helps if you connect with a theme (even in comedy) that reaches deep inside for a universal truth that can’t be denied. Then, if your gift is writing and you can master the toolbox of techniques that we must learn to bring that vision to life, your reader’s world will most definitely be touched by whatever inspired you to reach them.

How do we write ?

We focus first on the story, for as long as it takes to discover what we most want to say. And only then do we sit down to write.


For me, I’m an angsty writer who wishes my gift was making folks laugh until they cry. My work is cathartic at more of the other end of the spectrum. Darker-themed, challenging emotional journeys come to me. Always have. Like this morning, when it only took the first five minutes of my news program for my entire day (my life) to shift as I listened to this. (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: Inside the Barrel

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The end-all-be-all of surfing is riding inside the barrel, where the wave hollows out and curls over you and you’re riding free inside the monster. It’s a bitch to get there, it’s a dangerous place, yet it’s heaven at the same time. Much like how a writer feels, cruising  toward the last third of a novel’s rough draft. It’s a desperate place, hollowed out and empty, but it’s magic–if you can grit out the ride long enough to get yourself there.

surfing barrel

Most writers are clucked from time to time: a surfer’s term for being scared of waves. Writers, we’re scared of our stories more often than we want to admit. Not exactly what we want the world that devours our end-goal to know. Because it’s not really the story, in the end, that freaks us out. It’s the drop (yeah, this will be a running theme, deal with it ;o).

surfing drop

While surfing, the drop is where a surfer first gets up on a wave, then points his board straight down the face of it, plunging toward nothingness, until he either takes the needed turn and flies, or eats it. (more…)