Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Books, Redux: Some of the Perils and Joys of Indie Publishing

Many have remarked that as history has continued, the already hectic pace of modern life was quickened as well. Here in Author-Land we've encountered a phenomenon that's arisen during the digital age: the frequent reversion of previously published works. 

What does that mean, you ask?

When an author "sells" a book to a publisher, s/he is actually licensing one of the bundle of rights that makes up copyright. That right to distribute a written work is finite--that is, it's limited by time. The traditional publishers would generally demand, and get, a term that was functionally infinite. For example, I will never again get the rights back to any of the five works I licensed to Harlequin; their contract specifies that rights are eligible for reversion consideration 5 or 6 years after last use. In other words--all Harlequin needs to do if they want to hang onto one of my works is to reissue it. Which they will do as long as the book is selling, a not unreasonable position. After all, we both want to make money, right?

But ebook publishers have the view that a year or so after publication, few books will sell and therefore, rights revert, meaning that I, the author, get the rights back and I can self- or indie-publish.

As time has gone on I've re-acquired more and more of my beloved books, including most of my Highland Vampires series, and I've started to reissue them in bright shiny new editions.

The series consists of three novels and three short stories. One of them is owned by Harlequin, so you, Dear Reader, will never get another edition, but here are the first two stories in the series:

Viking in Tartan: Medieval romance from the Highland Vampires series. 

Scotland, Yule Eve, 1260. A Viking raider with mysterious powers brings change to little Clan Kilbirnie, especially to the chieftain’s daughter Rhona.

Temptation in Tartan:

She had to marry a monster…

Rumors had followed the chieftains of Clan Kilborn for centuries. Said to be descended from the Viking Berserkers, they were ferocious in battle, known for tearing off the heads of their enemies and drinking their blood.

But English noblewoman Lydia Swann Williston would marry Kieran, Laird Kilborn, to bring peace to the Kilborn lands after the horror of Culloden and the
brutal pacification. A widow, she also brought needed wealth to Clan Kilborn. For her part, eighteen-year-old Lydia wanted children. With her husband killed at Culloden, she would make a new life in the Highlands.

The old chieftain of Clan Kilborn also died in battle, and she hoped that the new young Laird would lack his ancestors' ferocity.
She was wrong.


It's not always fun to be in total control of one's publishing life. It's often felt burdensome and expensive. 

Re-editing must occur, along with formatting, which includes inserting internal navigation. New covers must be created or purchased--a minimum $100 charge. And then, there's the promo conundrum. Few authors have a background in marketing or promotions, which would have been really helpful. I'm always experimenting with different approaches to help readers find my books.

Yes, it's frustrating and time-consuming, but overall, I'd rather make my own mistakes.

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