Back in 2013, I blogged about the four reasons I chose to publish the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy through a small press rather than to self-publish. To summarise:
- I wanted someone else to edit my book
- I wanted someone else to do all of the other things that are required when publishing a book (cover design, typesetting, etc)
- at the time, Amazon’s royalty payments to Australians involved sending cheques in US dollars; I wanted someone to electronically transfer me royalties
- and because, in all honesty, I felt like it would give me a sense of validation.
And then, in October last year, I blogged about the reasons I was no longer with said small press. I suppose in hindsight I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I’d just self-published in the first instance, but I gained so much valuable experience in releasing the three books through Turquoise Morning Press that I don’t regret the decision.
In the four months since then (wut?!), I’ve self-published not one but four books. To be frank, that was an utterly insane decision, but I was already locked into the release date for Lucid Dreaming, which I’d decided to self-publish in the meantime, and I wanted to get the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy back on the market as soon as I could. I was just lucky my designer could work to those timeframes.
Now I’m out the other side I can finally think and breathe again. So how do those four reasons stack up?
Obviously, with the trilogy, I got the external editing I was after. But I re-read and re-proofed each book myself as well, before self-publishing; I didn’t just upload them as they were, because there were a few tiny stylistic things I wanted to change. Normally it’s impossible to edit — even to copy edit — your own work, but when you take a several-year gap between finalising them and re-reading them it is a lot easier to be objective.
For Lucid Dreaming, several awesome friends critiqued it for me, and then I paid for it to be edited by a professional editor who is also a good friend. This was money well spent.
Cover and design
I paid for all four books to be professionally designed by another good friend. This was also money well spent. I can slap together a teaser or a meme just fine, but the finer points of cover design completely escape me, and there’s no doubt that all four book covers are beautiful and have a similarity of appearance that ties them together.
I expect I could learn how to do paperback and ebook layouts (though not the Smashwords table of contents procedure — I tried to read the instructions and my brain turned to mush). But the value to my mental health and stress levels of having someone who gets how it’s done and can apply a theme to the entire book was immense.
As for how to navigate Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords and Createspace, I managed to muddle through. Practice makes perfect, and by now I’ve had a lot of practice!
Amazon royalty payments
Now that Amazon Australia exists, Amazon pays via direct deposit. Hallelujah!
Well, this is a tricky one, isn’t it? I’ve read some excellent blogs by authors much more successful than me, in which they say that no matter how successful you are, there’s always someone doing better than you. Once the heady rush of having a three-book deal wore off, I found that I spent a lot of time qualifying my success to people. They’d be gleeful and I’d be self-effacing. So I guess in a way I never got the validation I was after.
The upside and the way forward
There are definitely perks to self-publishing, most of which won’t be a surprise to anyone. Being able to control the various design decisions mean that I adore all four of my covers, rather than having to compromise on and have less input into ones designed at someone else’s expense. Live sales reports are a mixed blessing (and can be downright depressing unless you’re a smash hit), but there are advantages there if you want to test out different forms of advertising to see what sales effect they have.
So, after all that, would I publish with a small press again? No, I wouldn’t. Although self-publishing the way I want to, with more professionalism than I can bring to bear, costs money, I’d rather do that. Small presses are a mixed bag, and the Amazon-dominated market is unkind to them. (It’s what killed TMP.)
Would I publish via traditional publishing, were the opportunity to present itself? Yes, because they can offer something I can’t get via self-publishing: market reach. The idea of being a hybrid author (one that does both traditional and self-publishing) has a huge amount of appeal to me.
Have you tried multiple avenues for publishing your books? Which worked best for you?
Melpomene’s Daughter, the final book in the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, is once again available at all good (and some evil) online book retailers. You can find the buy links for it, and the rest of the series, here.
Isla struggles to embrace her fae nature while preserving her humanity in the final, exciting instalment of the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy.
Isla has spent months persuading the Canberra fae that she isn’t a tyrant like her mother, trying to prove that—despite her mixed blood—she’s human, not a monster. That she’s one of them, not one of the high fae who enslaved them.
But a vision of a fresh-dug grave warns that someone is going to die.
When the Old World fae once again move against her family, seeking revenge for old wrongs, Isla will stop at nothing to keep those she loves safe. She just wants to be left alone. But to win that right for herself, her family and all Australian fae, she must cross the oceans and take the fight to the country of her birth.
Isla must prove she really is Melpomene’s daughter after all.
I’ve been sitting on some big news for a few days now, because I wanted to wait till it was official, and to give myself a chance to let it digest. My publisher for the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, Turquoise Morning Press, is closing its doors this month. That means that the books will soon be temporarily unavailable while I get them ready to re-release.
I admit the timing isn’t great for me, given that Lucid Dreaming comes out next month. (Speaking of which, signups for the book blitz are up now!) But TMP hasn’t gone broke — meaning royalties are getting paid out — and the owner is doing her damnedest to look after the authors. That puts it light years ahead of some small press closures that I’ve heard of. #silverlining
Anyway, all of this means that, if you want to buy the trilogy with its current covers, you need to be quick*! I’ve decided to give the books a fresh look, with covers by KILA Designs, the same cover artist who did the gorgeous Lucid Dreaming cover. I want the books to all have a similar feel, since they’ll all be released by the “publishing house” that is me. (Branding, yada yada yada.)
In other news, I am over at Aussie Owned and Read today, talking about writing your way out of a sad place. The timing is coincidental, I swear!
*If you’re interested in a paperback of Isla’s Inheritance, I have a limited supply available that I am happy to sell for AU$10 plus postage — that’s less than cost! Send me an email at cassandrapage01 (at) gmail.com.
On Tuesday at Aussie Owned and Read I interviewed Shelby C. Madison, the Senior YA Acquisitions Editor at Turquoise Morning Press. She’s the one that acquired the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, so give her lots of love! ❤
In good news for those of you who might have a romance book (or one in another genre with romantic elements) looking for a publisher, Turquoise Morning press is opening to submissions on 1 January next year (and not just for YA!). Read more for details!
Today I’m interviewing Shelby C. Madison, the YA and NA editor at Turquoise Morning Press, or TMP. Shelby is the person that acquired my trilogy, so of course I luff her. ❤ If you’ve got a romance novel looking for a home, or a book in another genre, but with romantic elements, this may well be of interest to you!
I mainly deal with young adult, with the occasional new adult submission. As a whole, TMP looks for engaging stories with strong female protagonists. Within your non-traditional romance genres, like mystery or crime fiction, we like a romantic element to play out in the story. We find these characteristics engage our readers. Check out our submissions page for more…
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As part of the Small Town Charm, Love and Mystery boxed set blitz, some of the many fabulous authors have stopped by to talk about love in mystery. I’d love to hear what you think too — please leave a comment!
Julie Anne Lindsey. I’m a huge fan of mystery, amateur sleuths, cozies and all sorts of who-done-its with a witty heroine and a circle of friends and family that draw me in to sequel after sequel. You could say I’m obsessed. (You shouldn’t, but you wouldn’t be wrong!) In fact, I write cozies as much as I read them. One thing I never leave out is a little chemistry between my heroine and a man smart enough to keep up with her. There’s just something about throwing love into the mix that ups all the stakes. On the one hand, what wouldn’t we do for love? On the other hand, what complicates things faster than a new romance? Right? Watching the heroine juggle her real life, career, family and a budding murder investigation is great fun. Watching her do that while hoping not to ruin things with a cute new friend is just fabulous. I vote for Love in Mystery!
Jennifer Anderson. Yes, yes, yes! A little mystery can add to the angst. The longing looks. The…mystery that is love! And I think in most love stories there is a drop of mystery. Of course, you do have those stories where the heroine is in love with a guy and she’s not sure if he’s killed someone, but I think that’s an entirely different question! In my personal life, which isn’t a story no matter how much I think it is, I like a little mystery. Being married for almost 15 years and with the same man for 20, I’ve found you need a little mystery to keep the spark there.
The boxed set
Small town America has its charm—not to mention its fair share of romance and mystery! Everyone knows small towns have their own unique charm, that’s why they make fabulous settings for stories! Turquoise Morning Press presents the best of their small town settings—all in one volume, and for one very small town price! From Drakes Springs, Florida, to Briny Bay, North Carolina, to Wheeler, Texas, where a little romance and a lot of murder and mystery take center-stage—and then to Honey Creek, Ohio and Legend, Tennessee, where home-grown romance blooms, and love lives right next door. Eight fabulous authors share their views of small town charm, love and mystery in this eight book boxed set—providing you with a satisfying glimpse into the lives and stories of the quirky characters who live in these charming settings.
Release date: September 2, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-62237-334-5 Retail Price: $5.99 Promotional Price: $0.99
Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future. Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one. If they let it, love will find a way to bloom. Julie Anne Lindsey really brought me back to the books that made me love to read. Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars; Bloom is one of those romances that transports you back in time. Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars
Buried in Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry Roxie Turner finds herself up to her neck in trouble her lifelong nemesis, Georgia Collins, is discovered buried in the town’s landfill. Worse, with her characteristic Southern sass, Roxie has been saying she’d kill Georgia for more than twenty years. I had Janet Evanovich, Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis and Pamela DuMond all grouped together for this category. But I think the crazy sisters, Roxie and Trixie just had to come out on top. What a feel good book Buried in Briny Bay was, as it kept me smiling from the first page till the last. Another Look Book Reviews Award, Best Book to Bring on Smiles
Midnight in Legend, TN by Magdalena Scott. Midnight Shelby has grand ideas to help her adopted hometown, and she’s not going to let a stick-in-the-mud realtor get in her way. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I must warn you, however, that [Magdalena Scott] will quickly become addictive. Brenda Tulley of The Romance Studio, 5 Hearts
Murder at the Blue Plate Café by Judy Alter Small towns are supposed to be idyllic and peaceful, but when Kate Chambers returns to her hometown of Wheeler, Texas, she soon learns it is not the comfortable place it was when she grew up. Alter serves up a delicious whodunit by stirring up a healthy serving of suspense and a splash of romance, then bakes them to downhome perfection. Add an appealing protagonist, and you have Murder at the Blue Plate Café. Highly recommended. Polly Iyer
Shades of the Future by Suzanne Lilly Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allows her to see the future. Suzanne Lilly weaves an engaging world populated with charming and eccentric characters that readers will want to visit again and again. Brenda Hiatt, award-winning romance and young adult author
Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough When Jeremy’s aunt gives him a second chance, he must decide if he believes in the unbelievable and the pet psychic who teaches him about faith…and love. If you want a humorous, sweet book for a quick read at the pool or beach, this is it. Ms. Addie is still stirring up things in the town of Legend, even after her death. Amazon Reviewer, 4 Stars
Rebuild My World by Cheryl Norman More than anything, Taylor Drake wants her life back. Suffering from the agoraphobia that has plagued her since a brutal attack, the once confident and successful photographer now cowers behind closed doors with a loaded pistol. …Ms. Norman is a gifted storyteller. I loved Rebuild My World and eagerly turned the pages, excited to see what event would next happen to keep this story moving. Not only is it well plotted, but the characterizations draw you into the lives of these people. Ms. Norman tells a compelling tale that keeps you guessing. Vine Voice Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars
Ice Princess by Jennifer Anderson Mya Newman never minded the routine or quiet that came with living in Honey Creek, Ohio. For her senior year, she craves something exciting to happen instead of it melting into a cookie cutter routine like the previous years. …a wonderfully emotional short story with just the right balance of sweetness and sadness. I recommend it to anyone who relishes a charming story of love and friendship. LASR Review, Great Read! 4 Stars
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. Julie writes sweet romance for Honey Creek Books, the Calypso series with Lyrical Press/Kensington and pens the The Patience Price Mysteries for Carina Press/Harlequin.
Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of romantic comedy, fantasy and suspense—writing where southern charm sometimes meets macabre reality. Her awards include Eppie finalist and two-time finalist of Detroit’s Bookseller’s Best Award.
Magdalena Scott lives in her own fantasy world of Magdalenaville, Indiana, and spends her time writing stories with small town settings. Magdalena knows that life in a “burg” is seldom dull—if you’re paying attention. She is the Amazon bestselling author of the Ladies of Legend romance series.
Judy Alter, award-winning author, penned the five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, she moved from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.
Suzanne Lilly writes lighthearted young adult stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending. Her short stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print. She lives in Northern California where she reads, writes, cooks, swims, and teaches elementary students.
Jan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows—horses. She is an Amazon bestselling author of the Ladies of Legend contemporary romance series and a RWA Golden Heart finalist.
Cheryl Norman turned to fiction writing after a career in telecommunications and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort. A mention in Publisher’s Weekly called her one of ten new romance authors to watch. She resides in Florida and is currently writing the Drakes Springs romance series.
Jennifer Anderson wears the hats of Mommy, wife, cat owner, author, and marketing coordinator. She has lived either coast, but has spent the majority of her life in the Midwest, where she says her heart grows with the love of family and friends, and where she finds inspiration for her young adult and romance stories.
This week on This Writer’s Space I have Leslie Hauser, who was one of my awesome team during this year’s Pitcharama over at Aussie Owned and Read.
Where I Write
Have you ever seen those offices in the Pottery Barn catalog? I sure wish that was my writing space. My dream is that one day I will take all my millions in royalties and create one of those Pottery Barn offices where I will write my way into people’s hearts, with a messy bun atop my head and a pair of hipster glasses. In red.
But until then, I write mostly on my laptop at the kitchen table. I have a wonderful non-Pottery Barn office, but I don’t write there. In fact, I don’t always write at the kitchen table. And I don’t always write on the computer. *Gasp!* Yes, it’s true. I handwrite much of my stories. As you can see in the picture, I adore yellow legal tablets, and I’m engaged in a lifelong love affair with Post-its. I outline each chapter on a Post-it (and I check off each scene when I’m done. Geek much? Why, yes!). So, wherever my legal tablet and Post-its can go, so goes my writing. Sometimes I write on the couch. Sometimes out on my deck. Sometimes at a coffee shop. And once, even during an assembly at school. (I am a teacher.)
I wish I had a cool artsy space to call my Writer’s Room, but really, I just write wherever and in whatever position I can fold myself to let the story flow.
Where I’m Inspired
I live blocks away from the beach. And I run long distances. So, I am definitely inspired by the beautiful ocean view, and the miles I travel alongside it give me plenty of time to create characters and plots and to live in the world of those characters. I’m also inspired in my car. Though I don’t have a long commute, the time spent alone with just an iPod full of songs transports me to a world of possible storylines and characters. Luckily I’m a good driver.
But really, I just shared those two inspiring places to distract you while I reveal the (slightly embarrassing) location of the majority of my inspiration. I guess there’s no spoiler alert since you’ve seen the photo. The shower is my true inspiration. Anytime I need a new idea or to flesh out (pun sort of intended!) a current idea, I hit the shower. I’m not sure if it’s the extremely hot water igniting the blood vessels in my skin or the rhythmic pounding of the water on the shower glass. Or maybe it’s the fragrant citrus of my soap. But something about the shower always takes the seed of an idea and turns it into a blooming garden.
To Be Read
I love reading, don’t get me wrong. But I think that I might enjoy buying books just the teensiest bit more. I have “buffet syndrome” when it comes to buying books. I tend to think I can read more and read faster than I actually can. So the books pile up. There’s no order to this line-up. I’m crazy like that. Just pull one out and read it!
If the stack gets whittled down to one or two books, I make a desperate dash to the bookstore. What if I read those two books tonight? And on trips, I take at least three or four books. What if I read the entire book on the first day? * Having extra books is like a safety blanket. If there were a natural disaster, I might starve to death, but at least I’d have enough to read.
(*I suppose you’re thinking a Kindle would solve that problem? I handwrite novels. I’d rather pay $75 and carry an extra suitcase to accommodate my books than read electronically. 🙂 )
Leslie Hauser is a YA writer and middle school teacher. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
When she’s not living in fictional worlds inside her head, she runs all sorts of distances, tortures her body at CrossFit, and DVR’s entirely too many television shows.
She dreams of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service. But for now, she’s just extremely excited about one dream coming true: her forthcoming YA contemporary Chasing Eveline, to be released by Turquoise Morning Press. She’ll probably celebrate its release with cookies and a trip to Indiana.
Today’s This Writer’s Space features Tess Grant, my fellow Turquoise Morning Press author and author of the The Kitty Irish Trilogy, about a pair of werewolf hunters. I’m really looking forward to reading this one, you guys.
Where I Write
I affectionately call my home The Farmette. It’s a little old farmhouse/big red barn combo with about ten acres of pasture/cornfield. I love the land and the space. I love my farmhouse too, although as is often the case with older houses, its layout is a little bit funky. No closets to speak of, a long skinny living room, and two huge bedrooms upstairs. Plenty of room for an office but there isn’t one included anywhere. Some day I’d dearly love to have a nook to call my own, but right now, my writing is right out there in the middle of life.
That’s it. The dining room table (decluttered specifically for this picture).
Since the dining room is in the little addition connected to the original house, it’s quite chilly in the winter, especially when a west wind blows (which is about 90% of the time). That’s when I retreat to The Chair with my lap desk. It’s tucked in the very east corner of the original house and is quite cozy.
Where I’m Inspired
These are two of my big inspirations…caffeine and tunes.
I like the first black, flavored, and leaning toward lukewarm. And I like the second minus earbuds. Those stupid things always pop out of my ears; I know one of my ears is slightly higher than the other, but is that any reason to harsh my groove?
I make a playlist for each book. I find after a few times of listening and writing that I drop into the writing groove as soon as the music comes on. There’s a lot of overlap between lists usually, and it varies wildly…from movie soundtracks to current stuff.
My other inspiration comes from my little dirt road. It’s got deep dark woods, an abandoned farmhouse, and lots of vultures (no kidding!) and is just the right length for a quick walk to get the creative juices flowing.
To Be Read
Like other authors, my TBR pile is huge! So, I’ve only included my most immediate reads on this list.
I love Maggie Stiefvater, so I’m in the process of rereading The Raven Boys so that I can dig into my Christmas present from my daughter, The Dream Thieves. After that comes my autographed copy of We Hear the Dead by Dianne Salerni (have you read The Caged Graves yet? You should!) and Quest for the Swords of Healing by Trista Vaporblade (who just happens to be my niece!). After that I hope to dig into some Wiley Cash and Jenny Trout.
After nearly ten years as a forensic anthropologist, Tess semi-retired to a farmette in the backwoods of Michigan to raise organic veggies, free-range children, and novels. She writes YA suspense.
Is this thing on *taps microphone*…*loud feedback* *covers ears*. Good! Hey, I’m Jennifer Anderson, author of the Honey Creek Royalty series, Spider and My Brother’s Wedding. *waves*
Where I Write
Back when I was a newbie, thinking writing would solve all my problems, I wrote wherever my butt would fit (I don’t actually have a big butt!). Usually, you’d see me plopped between my two children at the kitchen counter while they did their homework.
Then, the best thing ever happened. Ice Princess was picked up by Turquoise Morning Press! Overjoyed and high on writing accomplishment, I was determined to have a place of my very own. So I turned our playroom into a writing room/kid TV room. I cleaned out the toys, added a desk (an old one stored in our basement) and decorated it with all the funny things I could find. I had baskets, cup of pens, my red laptop and an assortment of Angry Birds (my son’s contribution).
Then I found out I was pregnant with my third kid (with an eight-year difference with middle kid). And about seven months later, gone was my desk (the curb), my Angry Birds (my son’s room), my baskets (storage) and even my red laptop shot craps. I tried setting up shop in the living room with a TV tray and my baby glider, since I’d be nursing every few hours (she was a pig) but alas, that never felt right either.
Now I’m saddled with a new laptop (plain black) and I’ve returned to the kitchen counter. Instead of my kids flanking my sides, I’m joined by a high chair, baby snacks and a countertop littered with everything imaginable.
But I don’t let this stop me. I have a submission at Swoon Reads, one waiting to be edited and one in the works.
Where I’m Inspired
Where do I find my inspiration? Actually, even though I have an amazeballs view, I find the one spot that is sure to conjure up a plot bunny is tightly snug beneath my covers in bed!
And more often than not, I have to jump from a plot dreaming stupor to find a piece of paper (often an old stray receipt) and jot down my idea.
To Be Read
My taste in books run all over the place. But a must is a HEA (Cass: that’s a happily ever after, if you’re not up on your TLAs, or three letter acronyms). I’m in the middle of several series and with 13 books some of them, I’m not in any rush. There are also books that I think I’ve read and forgotten to review! What can I say, mom of three!
You can tell me if I’m successful or not at my countertop writing and check out my latest, My Brother’s Wedding (contemporary romance) or Spider (YA suspense). I’d also love to hear what you think of my Swoon Reads submission, Need To Know. A New Adult fiction that involves a summer hunt, a hot guy on the side of the road and a bestie with an unusual name.
I’m always around to chat on Twitter. Thanks for listening to me ramble and I wish you luck on your writing endeavors!
Author Bio: Mommy, wife, cat owner, review coordinator for Turquoise Morning Press and author. Needless to say, my plate is full. I call the Midwest my home and that’s where I find inspiration. I didn’t grow up wanting to be an author but knew I needed to do something creative. After many years of moving from one job to the next and not finding happiness, I set pen to paper and began work on a young adult novel that will never see the light of day. And that’s okay.