Friday, January 7, 2011

Changes Happen

First, a very happy new year to everyone. I hope 2011 brings you everything you wish for.

The publishing industry has seen a lot of changes, and they're happening almost faster than we can keep up with. Aspiring authors would dream of being published, and figured once they crossed that hurdle, they had it made. Not so. In my own case, one of my Five Star Expressions books was remaindered, so it's out of print. Then the publisher canceled the entire imprint. So, Five Star Expressions will cease to exist at the end of 2011. Another, Cerridwen Press, is now branded as "Blush," and is part of the Ellora's Cave line. So, how does an author deal with these setbacks. The world of e-publishing has offered another venue.

What's in a Name? had garnered some recognition. It was a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, A Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist. 2nd Place, Volusia County Laurel Wreath 3rd Place, Aspen Gold Romantic Suspense. A Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews, Four Stars from RT Magazine. So, it seemed a good choice for re-publishing, and I requested the rights back.

The flip side to owning all rights to the publishing process is that you're responsible for everything. Editing, cover design, marketing…it's all on your shoulders. Thanks to my son, I managed to get a new cover at very little expense. (More about that here). I followed all the formatting guidelines required by the various venues. And I re-read the book, editing and updating it—cell phones instead of pagers, flash drives instead of CD ROMs. And a lot of reworking the names—I couldn't believe I had 3 characters named Henry! (More about that here).

What's in a Name? is now live at Smashwords and the Kindle Store. (The end of this post gives a discount code for Smashwords.) Here's a sample:

The next most important item on her list, a Certificate of Occupancy, wasn't exactly dessert, but it was Windsor's responsibility to bring the cabin up to code, not hers. Still, she ought to check. As she strolled down the path to the cabin, she told herself it was important she keep tabs on his progress.

Blake called down from the roof when she approached. "Everything all right?"

She squinted into the sun and looked up at him. Her heart did that tap dance again. He'd taken his shirt off and was on hands and knees, hammering shingles. Shading her eyes with a forearm, she said, "Fine."

"You want the nickel tour?" He stood up, balancing on the pitched roof without any trouble.

"No—you keep on doing what you're doing. I'll only be a minute." She stepped inside, inhaling the scent of fresh-cut wood. Without the plywood covering the windows, the room seemed bigger. Sawdust danced in the gold afternoon light, swirling in the breeze, dusting her like a winter snow flurry. In place of stacks of lumber, she imagined the cabin with ten bunk beds lining the walls. She heard children whispering in the dark before falling into a dead sleep the way you did after being in the mountain air all day, hiking along the trails.

Unbidden, a smiling cherubic face flashed in front of her. Lucas. He'd have been in third grade now, like the first group of kids coming here. Memories burst through her defenses. The smell of talcum and baby breath when she lifted him from his crib in the mornings. The warmth of his hands resting against her bare shoulders when she carried him. The weight of him as his body relaxed into sleep. She blinked back tears.

I'm sorry. It was all my fault. What kind of a mother runs out of milk for her baby?

That was another lifetime, when her universe was normal. And happy. Charles and Lucas were gone. Nothing could bring them back. And then too-good-to-be-true Robert Kilian had stolen the life she'd tried to put together after she'd lost them, leaving a life of looking over her shoulder as his legacy.

She'd tried to lock the memories away someplace deep inside her, but they refused to stay buried.

"I should get to the windows tomorrow or the next day." Blake's voice from the doorway made her jump. "Once the roof is fixed and the windows are in, she should be weather-tight."

She kept her head down. "Sounds like you've got everything under control."

His footsteps told her he was coming inside. She tensed. He walked past her, to a small cooler in the corner and removed a bottle of water.

"It gets hot up there." He peeled off his work gloves, took a swig and wiped his mouth.

She nodded. In the dim light, his eyes didn't grab hers. "You need to watch it. You can get a real burn at this altitude, even if it doesn't feel hot."

"Thanks for the advice. I'm afraid it might be a little late though." He turned so his back faced her. "What do you think?"

Think? She thought of rubbing sunscreen on those broad, well-muscled shoulders. That fluttering below her belly started up again. Ridiculous. She pivoted and strode toward the door. The nature trail could wait until morning. Right now she needed to burn off these impossible feelings with hard, physical labor. She glanced at him over her shoulder. "What I think is that you should put your shirt on, Mr. Windsor."

You can buy What's in a Name? at the Smashwords store. Use coupon code XC48J at checkout, and the price will be 99 cents. It's also at the Kindle Store, priced at 99 cents for a limited time.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Terry,

What's in a Name sounds like a really good book and certainly worth updating. Please keep us informed about how things work out with self-publishing an e-book. I think it's a topic of great interest to all published as well as aspiring writers.

Terry Odell said...

Jacqueline - thanks. I've found the process to be relatively painless once you take the time to follow the rules. I've chosen to limit my efforts to Smashwords and Kindle, although there are those who will re-format and resubmit to the other major players. I'm lazy and let Smashwords do it for me.

The down side is that you have to spend a lot of time marketing and promoting, and those (despite today's post) are still hard for me to do.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Sharon Hamilton said...

Well, all those awards and Kudos certainly got my attention. So easy to order on my Kindle, and I did. Good luck. You completely underscore what I've heard from others about doing things yourself, but also that it's worth it.

Terry Odell said...

Sharon - thanks so much! I'm still watching to see how it works out.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Terry: Informative post, as yours always are. Who knows where things are going? All we can do is go with the flow, but it's an interesting time to be an author!

Terry Odell said...

Joyce, yes, isn't there an old curse: "May you live in interesting times."

Kara Lynn Russell said...

I heard recently that people (don't know which people) are predicting that children born in 2011 won't know what print books are. I know there are a lot of changes in the industry right now and I do love ebooks but it kind of makes your head spin to think about how fast things are changing. It definitely makes career planning for writers more difficult.

Terry Odell said...

Kara Lynn - that would be scary. I love my e-reader, but I love paper books. I hate it when people step into the all or nothing arguments. My grandson is 3, and he loves books and using his parents' iPad. And we read books on my NOOKcolor when he visits. Right now, he doesn't care about the format as long as Buzz Lightyear--with space wings--is in there somewhere.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Joyce Yarrow said...

Hi Terry - I'm sure that "What's in a Name?" will do well and the upside is that you have time to promote and build a fan base for it, whereas with the traditional publishing model it's do or die within 6 months.

Have a wonderful, happy and prosperous new year!

Susan Oleksiw said...

Terry, first, congratulations on all the recognition and awards your book won. That's the kind of thing that used to matter and moved a book up the scale. But book things certainly are changing. With your book up on Kindle now, you can have the time you need to build a readership--and your book won't go out of print unless you want it to. Good luck, and I hope you'll give us an update in a few months.

Miriam Minger said...

Good luck with What's in a Name, Terry! It's an exhilarating and exhausting time for writers, isn't it? You're right; we have to do everything now--but think of the freedom. What a plus!

Terry Odell said...

Joyce - well, Cerridwen published it several years ago, but distribution was very limited, and I think their prices were too high. We'll see if it does better as an indie.

Susan, Thanks. I'll see what happens.

Miriam - thanks. Definitely a double-edged sword.

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