Friday, December 28, 2012



You've written a proposal and started writing. You are immersed in the characters and the storyline of this new novel. You've gotten 30,000 words into it. But you've gotten  'no' from publishers your agent submitted to. Maybe there are a couple that have not replied back, but it's been months. Do you finish this book you love? Or do you dump it and try to come up with something else hoping to get a contract?

I'm currently writing an Edwardian era novel without a contract. I love this story and my hero and heroine. This is a new era for me. I've loved the research -- the clothes, culture, innovations, the changes from a more rural relaxed life to a more modern urban one. The first book in this series takes place in Chevy Chase, MD, a then budding suburb of Washington DC. The story will then move to a small village way out in the mountains of western Maryland near the Savage River. It is a lovestory between two people of opposite natures, upbringings, and lifestyles. It's also about the love and compassion for orphans, for a down syndrome child, for the elderly, and the poor.

I hear you. What publisher would not want to contract a book like that?  

I can't abandon these characters that I've come to know so intimately.  I've had readers ask me when the book is going to come out, that they are excited I'm writing a romance in this era. I tell them, 'no contract yet'. My heart is being poured into this story like no other. If you saw the main characters and the storyline, you'd know why. Often it has become my escape from the worrisome world around me. I'm drawn back to another place and time, and into the minds of two people who fall desperately in love with each other, and committed to the lot God hands them.

If I shelf it, I know I'll lose something in the process. This is a writer's life. The business side is something else altogether. It is about sales, money, profit. For the writer it is our life's blood, our hearts, the air we breath. We have to write, no matter what. We keep on writing, and for those of us who are believers we keep trusting the One who gave us the gift of writing.

I'm trusting God on this project, even though I've gotten rejections. He will place it where it needs to be. I've been told I'm one of the hardest working authors in the Christian industry, that I'm easy to work with, and meticulous. Yes, I agree I am those things. And I'm patient. In God's good time this book, this series will be written and be in my readers' hands.

Writers have to be diligent in their work and patient in order to keep going. We face rejection and disappointment, that our writing has to be the thing that holds us up, that and faith. In the midst of all this there is great joy. Joy in a story unfolding that never was before. Joy in sharing it with others. Joy hearing from someone who read the story how it changed their lives. The sweetest thing I ever read in a review was a woman said after she finished reading Before the Scarlet Dawn, she went into her little girls and hugged them while they slept, being thankful to have them.

So, author. What do you do in a situation like this? You've gotten rejections. Do you finish this book you love? Or do you dump it and try to come up with something else hoping to get a contract? You finish it! You keep believing one day that book will find a place. It could be a diamond in the rough that later, maybe years later, you bring out and polish to a high sheen. Just don't give in or give up.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bringing back to your readers your out of print novels.

Ever hear the saying ‘take the bull by the horns’? Sometimes you have to do just that in order to make your dreams a reality. This post is about publishing a backlist of books that have gone out of print with your rights reverted back to you. Remember it is your career…no one else’s. It takes a tough skin in this business and you have to have initiative and passion to make it happen. No matter what rejections or delays come your way, know thisyour out of print books do not have to languish in obscurity.

Back in the early 1990s, I began writing after my cousin, a world famous romance writer, handed me one of her books. I read it and the desire to write stories rekindled in my being. First I wrote a novella, just to see what I could do. Then I wrote my first full-length novel, and I was so wet behind the ears that I had no idea about word count and ended up with a 150,000-word manuscript. 

In 2001, The Rebel’s Pledge went to a print on demand company, and was out of print by 2005. I went on to write and publish six more novels, and in the summer of 2011, I set out to revise The Rebel’s Pledge according to publishers’ guidelines, but had to set it aside for a time to work on The Daughters of the Potomac Series. My then agent presented the idea of publishing my backlist of books, three in total, to Kindle and CreateSpace, since I now have a following of readers. When I discovered that well known authors, such as Robin Lee Hatcher, Kathi Macias, MaryLu Tyndall, and Lena Dooley,  were reissuing their out of print novels, I was even more intrigued. 

Late in the spring of 2012, I finished my revisions and tightened up the book to 93,000 words. I decided to go ahead with it, with the help of my husband Paul. He uploaded and formatted the file. My son designed the cover. When I found a Charles I gown on a website made by a UK designer, I emailed her and asked for her permission to use the gown on the cover. She was more than happy to oblige, and I gave her credit in the book. 

Now, with Kindle they have templates you can use that will upload your title onto the one you choose.
One piece of advice. Before you approve your Kindle copy, upload the book to Create Space for paperback. Order a review copy, and check your front and back cover, and inside layout. Sit down with red pen in hand and carefully read through your hardcopy, circling anything you want to change. You can go back to your book and make corrections before you approve it.

Here are the nuts and bolts of Amazon Kindle. Authors upload their book, cover, and go through the steps toward approving their book for Kindle. They set the price, although with Kindle Publishing Select there is a low and high end price you can go. You own all the rights but with KPS you keep your ebook version exclusive to Amazon Kindle. Authors received a 70% royalty. Amazon has the Lending Library, and for each time your book is acquired through LL, you receive a royalty depending on the amount Amazon has in an overall pot and how many books are loaned out that month. Authors are given a 90-day window to belong to KDP Select. During that time, you are given 5 days to offer your ebook for free. What? Give it away? That’s right. Your ebook will get into the hands of hundreds, maybe thousands of readers. You have a greater chance readers will want your other books. The Rebel’s Pledge hit the bestsellers list in its genre through this program. 

I am now exploring Amazon’s audio book program. It would be thrilling to have an audio version of The Rebel’s Pledge. It is astounding to me but the ebook version of The Rebel’s Pledge is out selling my other novels. It could be the price and word of mouth. It's only 2.99. Who knows?