There are lots of highs and lows in publishing, and you have to take the rough with the smooth. I'm grateful that, in general, the lows haven't been the Gaping Chasms of Disaster, or the Purgatory of Plagiarism, or the Snaring Tendrils of Rights Grabbing Contracts. I count myself damn lucky.
But last week marked the very definite end of an era. Although the digital formats of my debut SciFi romance Keir were removed from all retailers when the publisher was bought out in January 2014, and the last print edition sold in August, the Lyrical Press publication remained listed on Amazon. While I still didn't have Keir ready to republish, it probably did me more good than harm to have the book and its reviews still in place on my author page (though potentially frustrating for those who did want to buy it and couldn't. My apologies).
That changed at the start of this year as edits were in progress, and the new cover art was finalized. I set a tentative re-release for 7th May (what would have been Keir's third book birthday and my anniversary as a published author). With the cover reveal scheduled for 28th January (also a 3rd anniversary, this time for my tenure as a member of Spacefreighters), I had a concern. What if, when I relaunched Keir, my version caused conflict with the still existent Lyrical version? The possibility of copyright issues, or reviews being left on the wrong version even though both would be on my Amazon page, or not being able to ask previous reviewers to repost their reviews to the new version worried me. Call me paranoid. I just like to cover all the bases.
So I contacted Amazon. They weren't a huge amount of help. Firstly, they told me publishing through KDP would not cause any copyright issues with the version already listed, though failed to answer my concerns about the same with a future print edition. Secondly, they told me I'd need to contact the publisher to have it removed. Combining the Lyrical edition with my own to preserve the reviews was not an option.
Now, while Lyrical and I parted ways with no apparent hard feelings, Lyrical had now become a part of Kensington. I wasn't sure if they'd be able to deal with my request, or even if they'd want to. Not really their problem any more. I contacted my former Lyrical boss with trepidation, not even being sure that she'd still be with Kensington.
She didn't exactly respond, but I was cc'd in an email to two other people with her note to the effect of could they fix it. I waited and waited. No further emails. And Keir remained on Amazon.
Ironically, the day after the new cover reveal for Keir when I did my usual daily...okay, I admit it-hourly...check of Amazon, I noticed something missing. It didn't register at first. But a closer look confirmed it. The Lyrical version of Keir had gone.
And so ends the saga of Keir at Lyrical. Although I was happy to see it down as requested and the path completely clear for the relaunch, there's still a pang. My first book. My first publisher. My debut as an author, now gone forever. Also the book that first introduced me to my stellar freelance editor and cover designer Danielle Fine. That debut changed my life, and I shudder to think how different it might have been if Lyrical Press hadn't offered me that contract.
It's the end, but also a new beginning. Ahead lies the relaunch of Keir with a new cover, a new blurb, and a new tagline. And now the series can continue...
Incidentally, I made a point of copying all those Amazon.com reviews, including the links to the reviewers (I didn't do it for the handful of reviews on the other sites). Closer to the launch, I'll be contacting them to ask if they'll repost their reviews to the new version, and I can even send them their review so they can just copy and paste. They may turn me down, but it can't hurt to ask. Right?
I promised to do some feedback on my marketing plans from January, so I'll do a quick run down.
1. KU. Just under a month after putting all three of my short stories into KDP Select and KU, I've had my first borrow! There's been no change to my sales, other than being a smidge better than December (though I'd hoped for better even without KU). I still have another 60 odd days to go though, and since it's taken a month to get the first borrow, I'm being patient with it.
2. Reading up and researching new marketing. Um, fail. I've not done much. A few articles, and I've had my book launch workshop which had promotion ideas and techniques as part of it. I've implemented some for Keir but not so much for current titles. So this is going to have to be a continuing project. Also I got behind on the book launch homework in the last week due to having guest posts to do for my tour for the print release of Restless In Peaceville and taking a couple of days out to spend with my husband. So I've missed out on some of the brainstorming but still have the lessons downloaded to work through. I would say it was worth the cost.
3. I've not cut any further into my TBR list...and have since added new books. Sigh. I think I might as well give up the idea of getting through them. I've also not managed to write up any reviews for the books I read other than brief recommendations and ratings on Goodreads.
4. New keywords for Tales. There has been a slight rise in downloads, but only back up to the pre-Christmas levels (they dropped significantly November/December). So I'm not convinced the keywords have made any difference. I still need to apply this to my other titles, but I'm actually finding it difficult to assign keywords that I feel might raise the titles' profiles.
5. Keir relaunch. So far, I feel my planning for this is going well, and the cover reveal seemed to go down well too. I splashed out on a little swag to test out moo.com - I designed a double sided bookmark, had them printed two to a postcard, then chopped them up with my guillotine (when I say 'designed' I mean I took Dani Fine's excellent banner and book cover and set them on a background. Not really challenging). The quality was amazing, they arrived two days after I ordered them, and prompted me to order a second lot immediately. Admittedly moo were having a sale (25% off) but even at full price I'd still rate them over Vistaprint (whose shipping charges are frankly a rip off!). I've also ordered a poster print of the cover to give away during the release.
6. Writing. I'm making just over the 250 a day word count that I set myself, though it's generally been in big bursts of 1K followed by several days of nada. But I'm adding words, and that's all that matters. I had hoped to finish the two anthology shorts I was working on by the end of January, but it didn't happen. I still have two months to finish the first.
How are your plans going?
It's begun! The stellar triple launch at Spacefreighters Lounge took off on Monday with the release of Sharon Lynn Fisher's SciFi romance Echo 8.
The print release of my YA paranormal - Restless In Peaceville - takes place next week, but it's already up for pre-order at my publisher's site HERE. This is the first of my books from last year now releasing in paperback, with my SFR Tethered coming 24th March, and superhero romance When Dark Falls 30th June. Woot! The mini tour for the print release of Restless starts tomorrow at my blog. Or you can enter the Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy.
I have four covers in the Judge a Book By Its Cover contest - yes, FOUR! While the Houston Bay Area RWA also judges the covers, the Readers' Choice part of the contest is now open until the 9th February, and I'd really appreciate your votes if you love my covers. Voting is DEAD simple (hurray for that!). Go HERE.
Still to come, we have debut SFR novel releases for Laurie A Green and Donna Frelick. Woo hoo! Could this be the most exciting year ever at Spacefreighters Lounge?!
Good luck and congrats to my fellow co-bloggers as they celebrate their launch or soon-to-launch debuts!