Posts Tagged ‘ePublishing’

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: A Team Approach to Digital Publishing

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Last week’s PIFS’s NetGalley post earned top billing in blog hits for a single article. There’s a world of authors searching for digital publishing and promotion information. Today, let’s look at the growing popularity of using a Team Approach to releasing books independently. It’s exciting to see groups of authors who would otherwise self publish on their own are working together to share knowledge and skill sets and experience.

Dorchester’s PR team will be back soon (I should have a schedule of their PIFs visits to share next week), discussing specifics about the amazing things they have planned for Secret Legacy and other direct-to-digital titles they’re spotlighting this spring. But that’s a hybrid NY publishing model.  What about the solitary author with a backlist he/she wants to re-release or a new work of fiction he/she wants to digitally distribute, when the traditional publishing route isn’t a viable option?


Jenni Holbrook-Talty is with us today (in her non-How We Write capacity) to talk about her journey into the independent digital publishing arena with business partner Bob Mayer. Last year, he asked her to put her business and IT experience to work to help him re-release his best-selling backlist on the digital stage. The result was Who Dares Wins Publishing (WDWPub). Their learning curve was steep. There was progress, mistakes, work and rework, and the frustration of dealing with a kaleidoscope vendors and formats and packaging requirements. Until they finally began producing quality product that fans are now snatching up daily through outlets like Amazon, Sony, and iBooks.

I asked Jenni why she thought their partnership worked, and why she’d recommend something similar to other authors thinking of digitally publishing independently.

She said,The team approach allows each member to utilize their talents to their fullest capacity. We used Bob’s years of training in the world of Traditional Publishing to begin the process of publishing his backlist. I had been published by a reputable ePublisher and understood some of the things about digital publishing that Bob’s background didn’t. He knows the business better than most, but he didn’t have the technology base that I had, so by merging the two together we were able to put his books, my books, and other authors’ books out there for our readers to enjoy. The team approach also frees up our time so we can both do the one thing we love the most: write. Right now, I know Bob is going through some edits of his next release due out 12-April while I’m taking care of some necessary business obligations by finalizing the copy edits for Devil’s Sea and put the book back into production.” (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: Innovative Marketing and Promotion–NetGalley

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

My journey deeper into understanding digital publishing, marketing and promotion ramped to another level this week as Secret Legacy was introduced to the sci-fi/fantasy genre as a featured book on NetGalley. 


A site that (from their FAQ page) is a service for people who read and recommend books. Publishers upload their galleys, plus any marketing and promotional information; then invite contacts to view their title on NetGalley. Readers can also find new titles through NetGalley’s Public Catalog, and request to review those titles from the publisher.

“Is this just another way to push books that don’t have a traditional publishing path ?” you say. Browse the Buzz for NetGalley Titles link on their homepage , like I did. Look at the national media tours and blurbs and reviews of the featured books to see the projects that are generating NetGalley buzz. Traditionally marketed or not, it’s pretty impressive stuff.

“But are ‘real’ publishers using NetGalley?” Check out the Browse Catelog by Publisher link and look for the print publisher of your choice. At first glance, I see Avon, Grand Central, HarperCollins, Penquin, and William Morrow, top print publishers, all, amongst digital and eBook pioneers and leaders.

“How is this going to help you establish your series as sci-fi/fantasy?” Under Browse Catalog by Genre, choose Science Fiction & Fantasy. You’ll find Carina Press, Harlequin, Harper Collins, Red Sage (Ooo! Angela Knight, I LOVE her), and, on Page Two, me. There Secret Legacy is, waiting for anyone who loves sci-fi/fantasy to dive into and fall in love with, right next to authors from Hatchette Books, too, and Thomas Nelson, and on and on. Not bad company at all.

Secret Legacy front cover

To tell us more about what publishers are all about on the site–we have a Dorchester PR specialist with us today, the person who’s worked hard behind the scenes to position my Legacy series on NetGalley.

Everyone, welcome Hannah Wolfson to PIFS– (more…)

Publishing Isn’t For Sissies: Borders, Dorchester, YOU?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

This week’s Borders bankruptcy restructuring announcement was expected. Dorchester’s financial difficulties–people in the “know” saw a huge change coming, though not necessarily the business  model transformation the publisher adopted rather than filing Chapter 11 themselves. Are you saying–Whew! Glad it isn’t me? Are you sure about that?


I’ve been writing this weekly column  on my blog regularly for over a month, and the hits each Thursday are rising exponentially as each week passes. Because I’m so witty and relevant? I’m not buying it. The reason, I suspect, is a lot of folks coming to the conclusion I did last fall–that these “signs of the times” are coming for all of us, happening to all of us one way or another, so what the heck are we ALL going to do about it?

I’ve looked back a lot in previous posts, so check them out if you’re interested in my view of what was before and what is “most likely” now. Starting this Thursday, PIFS is going to be focused on the “will bes,” as I race toward the May digital/trade sci-fi/fantasy release that wasn’t even on my radar six months ago.

What should be my (and maybe your) focus in this rapidly changing market?

 1) Distribution. How will our books find readers now, with physical bookstores in so much upheaval? (more…)

Publishing Isn’t For Sissies: Embracing The Obvious

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Want in on a big secret these days that traditional publishers aren’t talking about but everyone knows? Print runs and sell throughs for mid-list authors have dwindled to half, sometimes three-fourths what they were just five years ago. Even three years ago. And the successful mid-list author with formerly solid numbers and loyal fans–they’re contract options are being dropped left and right, because there’s no money in it for the publishers anymore, unless you’re a branded name who can deliver six-figure sales print numbers. And how is that supposed to happen without a five-figure marketing plan, when retail chains are racking fewer and fewer books, a large print run is required to nab shelf space in discount stores, readers have fewer and fewer outlets to buy print books, and tech-savvy readers with fewer dollars to spend on entertainment can find used books and lower-priced eBooks online cheaper as soon as (sometimes before) a print book hits a store?

This was the state of the publishing market while Dorchester was ramping up to promote Secret Legacy last summer. We were positioned to make a play at doing the best we could for a mid-list book in a lagging market. We weren’t going to throw in the towel. It’s an amazing series, vibrant characters, and there was a strong following of fans from Dark Legacy (kind of pissed, some of them, because of the cliff hanger ending ;o) dying to know what happens to my psychotic, psychic twins and (Spoiler Alert for those who haven’t bought their copy of DL yet) the secret child know one knew existed until the final pages… Dorchester believed in me and my books and they weren’t going to quit.

Well, the crashing credit market and flailing publishing industry had other ideas. My small publisher couldn’t ride out the storm like the bigger dogs.  Business as usual wasn’t going to be possible any longer. At the precise moment that my book was going to print. The mass market release of Secret Legacy wasn’t going to happen. We were going back to square one, planning what was best for the book, while my publishing house completely re-invented how they do their business.


If you’ve read my PIFS posts from last August, you know already a lot of the drama of that time that I won’t repeat here. Except that, over all, my impression once the dust settled was that the shocking thing that was happening to me and my fellow Dorchester authors was, quite literally, a sign of the times. If you wanted to see the direction all of publishing was heading toward, all you had to do was look at my small press’ decision to stop paying to print, warehouse, distribute and then strip unsold mass market paperbacks in an antiquated system that everyone in the publishing industry is losing money at.

What was happening to Dorchester and its authors wasn’t a surprise. Whether or not I was happy about the turn my commercial fiction career was taking at the time, it was time to embrace the obvious facts before me as I decided what to do next.

And those facts were: (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: Independent Publishing–The author takes control of her choices…

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

The author takes a hand. That’s the gist of so many blogs and articles I’ve read in just the first month of 2011.

The majority of fiction readers still hold physical books in their hands, printed by traditional publishers. BUT the rise in viable digital and alternative publishing outlets is changing the landscape of the reading and writing world more rapidly by the day. 

indie publishing

For a brief review of the current state of traditional publishing vs. the digital wave, see the links I included in last Thrusday’s Publishing Isn’t For Sissies post.

Having had these types of industry changes affect the release of my latest contemporary fantasy (more about how my mass market paranormal romance was switched to the fantasy genre in my regular PIFS Thursday post) was only my first wake up call. I keep pretty careful track of social media discussions of publishing these days, and the flood of informed and intelligent conversation about other authors’ experiences is impressive of late.

My advice–whether you’re currently considering digital/eBook/alternative publishing avenues for your work: stay up-to-date on the waves technology is making in writing, publishing, and promoting world that controls your outlets to potential readers.

More specifically: (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: Read This!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

To sum up last Thursday’s publishing post: Did last fall’s Dorchester changes leave me shaken like everyone else? Of course. Did I abandon ship immediately because I refused to consider being part of their change? No. Why?

Here are a couple of recent articles about Amazon and Apple to get us started with today’s conversation:

In this link, Amazon, “…announced in the past two weeks a publishing list for the spring and early summer that includes 16 booksin its AmazonEncore imprint and eight booksin its AmazonCrossing imprint, which focuses on translations…Both imprints use Amazon’s extensive sales data and customer reviews to help inform publishing decisions…”

Read about Amazon’s push to become a publisher here:


In this link, Appleis “…working to funnel more electronic sales of magazines, newspapers and other content through its iTunes store, an effort that is making some publishers uneasy….”

Read about how Apple’s tightening control over it’s massive digital content offerings here: (more…)

Publishing Isn’t For Sissies: Don’t Let Change Kick Your Ass

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

In today’s volatile publishing market, an author has to listen, make difficult choices quickly, and take risks with conviction–or change will run right over you.  In this series, I’ve talked a little so far about the changes in Dorchester Publishing’s direction and my author’s perspective of what’s happening–while I listened and pep-talked myself into make my own difficult choices. This post is the beginning of sharing the risks I and my agent have taken as a result , and the crazy ride we’re on now, leading to the May digital and trade release of Secret Legacy.


I’ve said enough already about the spammers and naggers and nay-sayers who aren’t personally involved in the crisis Dorchester and its authors have faced since last fall–this paragraph will be may last say. I feel tremendous empathy for all the writers who’ve been caught up in the crush of this change and have been, like me, trying to keep the air supply going to their own Dorchester careers, both past and present, or at least trying to get out of the chaos with something more than a sense of failure.  I have, however, no respect for the industry “experts” and social media taunters who took public potshots at Dorchester’s management for supposedly robbing it’s authors blind and betraying its readers for years. That’s simply not what happened, and anyone who bothered to listen, really listen, could have seen that. Every author involved in Dorchester’s shift from mass market publishing to its direct-to-digital/trade format was entitled to the anger and shock and frustration they felt and expressed in those first few weeks. The rest of the rabble had no business giggling and jeering from the sidelines and passing judgement and stirring up panic that only made the authors’ circumstances more difficult to face. Shame on you. Okay, I’m done.

From now on, for me and everyone who follows Publishing Isn’t for Sissies, this blog space will be about–

  • Listening to what’s happening, what intelligent people are saying about it, and what’s being predicted
  • Making difficult, time-critical choices none of us wants to have to make, but them’s the breaks in the show, and
  • Taking risks with conviction, because what else are you going to do but pack it in and go home?

Let’s start again at the beginning, with the simplest moment of all in this journey. Simple and wicked fast and devastating: (more…)

To Blend or To Bleed…

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

2010 was the year I–

  • blew my first ever publishing deadline
  • pushed finishing a novel off by four months
  • finished the book while sicker than I’ve ever been
  • revised, line edited and copy edited the manuscript less than a month later, over a period of only a few weeks
  • watched said publisher nearly go out of business just a month before the book’s release

And that was just one of my publishers (Dorchester).

With the other (Harlequin), while I had a successful book release in the spring, by the fall (once I was feeling less like death warmed over), I was seriously contemplating switching to a new imprint/line in-house. Which meant even more change. Those proposals went in to the potential new editor in December–hoping to find a home at Harlequin Intrigue, where I’d be thrilled to write!

My point?No matter what was going on in the publishing world at large–and 2010 was  BIG year for digital, small press and ePub authors and publishers, and for the rest of us as these niche markets exploded all over the scene–nothing could compare to the emotional peeks and valleys of my personal little corner of the writing world.


The end result? (more…)

Direct-to-Digital, Week 1: Practicalities

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Almost a week from the day I heard Dorchester, the publisher for my November paranormal romantic suspense, decided to take their releases beginning Sept 1st direct-to-digital, and I’m approaching a place where I’ve worked through enough of the adjustment to think clearly about my growing list of questions.

Questions all authors immersed in this situation are facing, and non-Dorchester authors considering the growth of publishing’s interest and investment in the digital format(BTW, you’ll see these are market questions, not publisher-specific questions–as I said in earlier posts, my business with Dorchester, a publisher I respect full of editors I love to work with, has to stay my business until I’ve worked my way through the transition):

1) How long will it take mass market readers to shift to digital, the way LP and CD buyers have moved to digital music to the point that music producers by and large no longer cut albums? (more…)

Direct-to-Digital, Day Four

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Let’s do some analysis today. I’m providing links to other articles out there (bloggers with interesting takes, though as you’ll see, opinions I don’t necessarily agree with).

1) Is print publishing dead, and is digital going to rule the world?

This guy (the self-appointed “king” of digital book sales) thinks so:

Read the comments on this one to see a great discussion from both sides of the issue.

For me, I’m buying my first reader later this year after watching them fight each other for market position (and I’ll be buying the iPad once they work the kinks out and get the second generation going, because it offers so much more than just a reader for the same price). But I won’t be giving up my “keeper” shelves of books. Ever. We’re looking at merging markets, folks. (more…)