Posts Tagged 'historical romance'

Blogging in the UK!

David returned the favor… http://pillingswritingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/ 🙂

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Off Topic Rant: Why Readers NEED Independently Publishing Authors!

Quoting Irene Goodman (a literary agent with her own agency) from an article in the September 2010 issue of RWR – the monthly  publication of Romance Writers of America:

“It’s always sad when an earnest author spends years working on something that absolutely no one is interested in, except a few geeks and hobbyists. Let’s say you want to write historical fiction…you must pick a marquee name. If you fall madly in love with the story of some obscure Norwegian king, please don’t think you’re going to convince the world to love it, too… Even if the Norwegian king had some kind of interesting hook or quality, readers are more likely to be interested in the queen. Learn (KRIS SAYS: and by this she means “write”) what is commercial (KRIS SAYS: and by this she means “already popular”).”

I am going to make the startling observation that engaging stories are always about people – of both genders, duh – and plot. It’s their settings that make them stand out in a crowded market. Based on Ms. Goodman’s viewpoint, how many fascinating historical stories are being passed over because they aren’t about kilted Scottish warriors or English Regency dukes?

The Good News for Readers: with independent publishing on the rise, you WILL be allowed to choose these unique stories. And then, you may fall in love with ANY king you wish!

Kris <–apparently a geek/hobbyist 🙂

“A Woman of Choice” is now available:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/22944

Kindle & Paperback coming soon!

Official release date: September 8


The Death of Traditional Publishers? Final Post: Entrepreneur Jimmy Thomas

Last week I posted about the new entrepreneurs that will rise as traditional publishing descends. One of those entrepreneurs is cover model, Jimmy Thomas of Romance Cover Novels. He is a very, very busy man, but I finally pinned him down for an interview about his unique and brilliant business:

How long have you been creating and selling your own cover photos?

Almost a year. On the 1-year anniversary date of the launch of my site, I will be having a 50% off ALL my images for the entire day! That date won’t be revealed until a few days before, as I don’t want to lose sales until then. (Hint: it’s next month!)

What made you decide to do so in the first place?

I’ve always shot ‘couples’ images, from fitness, lifestyle, editorial and stock, to romantic, sensual and erotica for the past 12 years. I wanted to be on more romance novel covers since I’ve always had the knack to pull off that style.  So between that, and getting involved in the romance novel industry back in 2002, I figured why not make it happen, instead of waiting for it to happen.

Are you able to track who buys them? If so – have you seen any market shifts? Like paper to e-pubs to individuals? Or surges in purchases?

Yes, I know who buys my images and I keep very good track of everything. I’m a perfectionist so to keep sane, and for business sense, I make sure I know my biggest buyers, which publishers I have more covers with, authors, cover artists, etc.  As for e-publishers vs. print publishers, it’s about equal. (All the print publishers now put their print books out in e-format anyway; either at the same time if a well-known author, or they wait until the e-formats sell enough to take it to print.)  As for surges in purchases, no, it stays pretty steady.

Do you know of any other models doing the same thing?

Nope, none. It’s not something that just anybody can do. And again, I have 12 years experience in creating all ranges of very marketable ‘couples’ images. I have many participating photographers who have signed my contract and over 175 female models wanting to shoot. I’m a web designer so I have control of my site and editing the images, plus I have a knack for directing, producing, wardrobe, what looks good, what makes something look better, etc.  I just don’t see others coming around having all of the same abilities.  Plus, I already have the head start if someone does!

Have you considered creating your own “stable” of models and photos – expanding your services by taking on others on a percentage basis?

I will be, once I’m on more covers than John DeSalvo (1,600 will clear the air, but I’m targeting 2,000 by next Romantic Times Booklovers Convention – April 2011).  Then yes, I will allow any photographer or model, who has rights to sell and publish their images, to submit them to me. If I find them suitable for novel covers, I’ll post them for sale..  RomanceNovelCovers will be then be THE only site everyone will go to for those types of images.

Do you realize how “cutting edge” you are?

While trying to stay humble… yes, I do. *wink* But I don’t mean me personally as a model or my look, but because of my combination of abilities that allow me to create and run RNC! 😉

The beta version of Goodnight Publishing’s website is up: http://www.GoodnightPublishing.com Would you like me to list you as a resource?

Yes, I’d love to have you list me as a resource for their cover images!

THANKS, Jimmy!

Thank YOU Kris!

~~~~~

And now we have – July.

I will be taking a much-needed break for a few weeks. Who knows what the publishing world will stir up in the meantime? Please subscribe so you don’t miss whatever comes next; and thank you for your support and comments thus far. I appreciate every one of you! Kris 🙂

The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 12: Unveiling A Business Model that Didn’t Exist – Until Now

I am about to take a huge and scary plunge. I’m going to reveal my secret.

During the past year I have been actively exploring the world of independent publishing. The reason is simple: while my writing itself has been praised, the setting of my American/Norwegian historical trilogy doesn’t fit into publishers’ “kilts & dukes” boxes. (See Jerry Simmons’ June 17th post here about “safe” trumping “new.”) So my choices were to:

1. bury the books, or

2. hope that the manuscripts I have – which DO fit the “boxes” sort of – sell to publishers, and generate enough interest that the publisher might take a risk on them, or

3. publish them independently and let them stand on their own.

With my agent’s blessing, I’m taking the trilogy directly to the readers. But the issue I have with 99.9% of self-published books is that they look… well… unprofessional. Cheesy. They use ugly or mismatched fonts, over-use bold lettering, or don’t have a sense for how a page should LOOK. It’s like these authors have never read a book!

But to be fair, so do some print-on-demand books from some established e-publishers! Editing there, too, is an issue. Because e-books are cheap, somehow that translates into shoddy work.

Readers deserve better.

So, I decided to find a way to give it to them: GOODNIGHT PUBLISHING.

I soon realized that I have no interest in getting in between an author and their royalties. Or an author and their rights to their books, for that matter! So Goodnight Publishing is NOT an actual publisher, per se. But it fills a need that no other company does that I know of. It begins with:

  • Manuscripts being evaluated by professional editors before they are accepted.
  • Once accepted, the author will either learn how to do all of the following tasks themselves, or take training classes through the Goodnight Publishing website ($15 per class per 30-day instructional window).

Authors are asked to:

  1. Sign up for a free account with Amazon’s Create Space – for their POD copies – procure a free ISBN through them, and determine the physical properties for their book(s).
  2. Format their manuscript per the selected properties, or have it professionally formatted (classes and/or references provided).
  3. Edit their manuscripts, or have it professionally edited (references provided).
  4. Design their own book covers, or hire a professional designer (classes and/or references provided).

Now, this is where the genius of Goodnight Publishing kicks in: when the book itself looks professional and the proof is approved, the author will be given permission to add the TRADEMARKED logo for Goodnight Publishing.

  1. The book now has Goodnight Publishing’s logo printed on the back, spine and the title page.
  2. Goodnight Publishing’s website address appears under the logo.
  3. All book covers will appear on Goodnight Publishing’s website.
  4. Readers who go to Goodnight Publishing’s website will see all the other authors “published” by Goodnight Publishing. Just like any traditional publisher’s site.
  5. For their first four books on the website, authors will pay $2 per month for one live link from their book cover, or $3 per month for two. (Their fifth book will be linked for free.)

These live links can send readers to the author’s website, Amazon or another site for purchasing, to YouTube for their book trailer (classes and/or references provided), their blog, etc. Wherever they choose. By being listed on a publisher’s site along with other authors, the author gains legitimacy in the eye of the reader. Readers don’t care where royalties go. They just want to be able to find more books.

More key points of genius:

  1. This business model exists to enable the independent author to present their works to readers in a professional manner.
  2. Authors retain all rights to their work.
  3. There are no contracts.
  4. Live links are prepaid for 12 months (renewable/non-refundable) and pulled when the payment expires. However, the cover stays on the site. That’s good for all of us.
  5. No manuscript will be refused or removed because previous ones haven’t sold well. Each book stands on its own.

Because – this process is not about selling books. It’s about authors linking arms to BUILD READERSHIP. Long term goals are realistic, overnight bestseller is not.

Goodnight Publishing will accept submissions from all genres, but I do confess an affinity for Historical Fiction and Romance.

Do you have a manuscript that you would like to take on this path? Are you willing to do the work? Then get ready:

Submissions will be accepted beginning August 1, 2010 at www.GoodnightPublishing.com

The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 7: OTHER Editorial Tasks & The Author’s Responsibility to Their Customers

Writers should already know that they cannot expect a publisher’s editor to extensively line-edit their works, as editors did decades ago. And we already know that a good number of traditionally published books – all of which were professionally edited and produced – aren’t of particularly high quality. E-pubs tend to drop the bar even lower, sad to say.

It makes me want to pitch books across the room. In my pre-Kindle days, I waited 6 months from release until a friend’s e-book went to print. POD print, that is. I paid WAY too much ($28) for a copy from Amazon, but I wanted to be supportive. When I read the book, I realized that I never want my name associated with that (large & successful) e-publisher. The plot was a copy of a best-seller and the editing was horrific.

My last blog guest made it perfectly clear that an author can not successfully edit their own work. So what’s a new author to do? ESPECIALLY a new author striking out on their own?

Let’s assume your manuscript is completed and you have combed through it many times already. You have critique partners – other writers – who have evaluated your plot and characters, plus their goals, motivations and conflicts. Your grammar, punctuation and spelling have been checked. You think it’s finally in good enough shape to put it “out there.” How can you get it ready for print?

The answer, in my humble opinion, is to:

1. Print 3-4 copies in the form the book will ultimately take.

I learned when publishing my “Primer for Beginning Authors” that it does no good to proof a book that is not in book form. Wasted effort.

2. Recruit a battery of beta-readers.

I ordered 4 copies of my debut novel – “A Woman of Choice” – and gave it to 4 friends to read. (They cost $5.05 each – comparable in cost to printing the 103,000-word manuscript at Office Max.)

When they found a mistake, they were to mark it, dog-ear the page, then keep going. Mistakes could take any form: typos, scene breaks that fell at an awkward spot on the page, action descriptions that didn’t make sense, etc.

When I got the books back, 25% of the pages had mistakes on them – in a manuscript that I thought was clean. And here’s the kicker: they all found DIFFERENT mistakes!

3. Do it again.

I tweaked the cover, adjusted lines on the pages so the scene breaks didn’t overlap the top or bottom of a page, fixed every skipped or repeated word, adjusted the font size to be more pleasing, clarified actions described.

Then I ordered 4 more copies. 4 different friends got the fixed copies.

And they came back with 10% of the pages dog-eared, marked with mistakes that were missed in the first round. And again, they all found different ones. *sigh*

4. Do it yet again.

Ditto on the changes. But this time I only ordered 2 copies. And they went to 2 different friends.

But I already spotted 2 mistakes myself. Really? REALLY??

5. Do it again, for hopefully the LAST time.

I have 2 more friends waiting in the wings for Round Four.

Does this process take time? Yes. Is it worth it? You bet it is! I don’t want my books to look shoddy either in print or on e-pub. I don’t want to give anyone reason to say, “You can totally tell she published this herself.”

I am setting about building a readership. I respect those who spend their money to take a chance on me and my stories. I want to give them the best experience possible, whether the book is electronically, independently or traditionally published. Even if they only paid $2.99 for the e-book.

Because I’m in this for the long haul.

And the long haul demands that I go the extra mile. That my books are extensively proofed. That I listen to critique. That I give 100% effort to creating a quality product.

I wish all publishers felt as strongly about this as I do. Then I could stop throwing books across the room.


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Authorpreneur Kris Tualla

www.KrisTualla.com

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