I'd like to welcome Monique DeVere. You may recall that Monique has made a couple visits to my blog and I'm pleased to have her back today to talk about her journey from traditional publishing to indie publishing. I'm sure you'll all find something interesting here.
Plus, her book More Than Friends Is FREE on Amazon February 12-14.
Thank you for the introduction, Celeste!
Today I’m talking about traditional publishing, book rights, and indie publishing.
First, allow me to draw a quick picture of my path to publication. Like many wanna-be Harlequin Mills & Boon writers, I spent more years than I wish to reveal trying to crack the category market without success. In the mean time, I was getting short stories published and read on radio but I just couldn’t break into Mills & Boon. I kept at it nonetheless, excluding any other possible area of publication. I became almost like a dog with a bone—obsessed.
Each time I had a rejection, I’d convince myself I had no talent and should look elsewhere for a career, so I’d toss out the MS and go off to study something in complementary therapy. All the while, I’d still be writing because I just couldn’t NOT write. Then I would grapple back some confidence and send off something to HMB again, only to be rejected, and the process would start all over again.
Finally, my husband suggested I send the last rejected book to a small press and see what happened. To my shock-horror, they accepted Divorce Etiquette straight away and offered me a contract!
I envisioned a rapid succession of books going out the door. I wrote and sent my new publishers a novella, which they took and all looked bright...
That is until a couple of months before the first book was due to be released when my last baby (then age seven) got sick and it turned out to be Leukaemia. I was living miles away at the hospital with her when my first book released so I did no promo for it. I wrote another novella while in hospital with my little girl and that got accepted also. Proof that I really did have some kind of talent, even if it wasn’t for category romance.
After that, things became a bit of a haze of chemotherapy and sleepless nights for three and a half years. My books weren’t really selling, but why would they when I wasn’t promoting?
Let’s fast-forward four years to present day and why I decided to go Indie. I have a few girlfriends who made the decision a few years ago and are doing amazing on their own. They encouraged me to take the plunge and late last year I did so with my novella More Than Friends. I wanted to start small so opted for a novella to get my feet wet. Now I have total control over my books, and I love it that way!
I got back two of my novella rights this year and decided to add those to my indie list. I can’t get back the first book rights just yet since I signed an extended contract offer when the book was picked up by a publisher in Greece who has translated it into Greek.
When you get your rights back, you aren’t allowed to use the cover the publisher commissioned, and you have to change the contents a little so it isn’t the same book the publishing house first published.
I think Crystal Swan, my cover designer, did an amazing job with the three covers she’s created for me. So with covers sorted, how much work did I have to do to change the contents? Not as much as you might think. For More Than a Playboy, I added an epilogue and a full love scene, changing the novella from sweet to sexy. I’m not sure how it happened because I hadn’t don’t any real promo, but More Than a Playboy made it to 55 in one of Amazon’s Bestseller lists only hours after going live! It hung in there for a couple of days. Not a long time, but I’ll take it!
For Let’s Pretend, I added two chapters to the beginning and ‘went all the way’ with the love scene. Previously, I’d closed the door, but it’s wide open in this new version of Let’s Pretend (about to go live on Amazon any day now).
I love having sole control of how my books get into the world, and I love that I no longer have to wait close to a year to see my books on the virtual shelves.
I say if you’re considering going it alone, you should first ensure you have access to professional editing and amazing critique partners. I love, love my CPs and wouldn’t feel as confident without them. As Indie authors, we have to wear many hats and we have to remember we are competing with the big six authors out there. We need to give ourselves the best possible chance at success.
This means, good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better best—in every area of your book project. Indie books are getting a bad rep and we need to pull this back! As they say, an author is only as good as her last book. A scary prospect, don’t you think?
Thanks for having me back on your blog again, Celeste! As always, I love hanging out with you. J
You can find Monique at any of her hangouts below.
More Than Friends is free at Amazon from 12-14th Feb 2013!
Download your free copy of More Than Friends here:
More Than a Playboy can be purchased here: