In Brief

I've written a series of four lesbian detective novels, unimaginatively called, "The Detective Series." They are available for your purchasing pleasure on amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions and on bn.com for Nook. In addition, I like sunsets, single malt scotch, and some other thing that starts with the letter S. This blog gets updated once a week or so and usually has something to do with my experiences as a writer.

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Entries in book #1 (17)

Friday
Apr202012

Free at last

Hey, I didn't write a blog post last week. The reasons for that were twofold. 1) I had nothing to say. 2) I am a lazy slacker who wasn't willing to think of something to say. You're welcome!

But now, at long last, I have something to say. I finally FINALLY got something in writing from Bella Books saying that I'm released from my contract. Turns out that the key to getting a response was to threaten to get a lawyer. Worked like a charm. (Should have done that as soon as Downith suggested it.) Just for kicks, the publisher added in a line about not wanting any further communication from me. Right back at ya, babe! 

So I guess this means I actually have to do the work to self-publish my books. That means editing. Good thing I love editing! Love it! No, wait, dammit, I hate editing with every fiber of my being. And as I contemplate editing book #1, it's occurred to me that it might be even better to edit all four books and release them simultaneously so a reader can buy the whole series. Won't that be fun! No, fuck it all, it will be hellish torture. Whose bright idea was it to write a four book series anyway? Won't make that mistake again, my friends!

That's the news around these parts. Seems like most of my regulars have exciting stuff going on with their own projects. If you care to share, I'm all ears. Or eyes, I suppose would be a more accurate assessment. 

Thursday
Apr052012

Disentangling 

Here's how it went down on Monday, March 19. The publisher called to talk to me about "the tone" of my recent emails. (I am such a bitch, guys! I'm not at all surprised she was annoyed with me. I'm annoying!) And then she said, "If you're not happy with how things are going, we can just tear up the contract." And I said, "Let's do that." And she said, "Okay, we'll tear it up and all the rights will revert back to you." And I said, "Sounds great."

The conversation lasted about five minutes. I hung up the phone with that heady feeling you get when you've been on one path, and then you suddenly, unexpectedly, turn off that path onto another one. And the new path is exciting and beautiful, and you want to be on it, but you're still like, "What the fuck just happened? I was going that way, and this way sure is pretty, but oh shit, where's the goddamn map for this route?" 

It wasn't until a day or two later that the thought occurred to me that I should probably have something in writing that the contract is null and void. Sometimes I watch legal dramas, and they say things like, "Verbal contracts are binding," so I guess I'm out of the contract? Right? But I've talked to a couple of lawyer friends, and they all say that I should definitely get it in writing--even just an email would do the trick.

Well, I thought that perhaps Bella Books was working on that, and they'd send something to me. I know I'm not the first crazy author that they've released from a contract.

Funny story! Last April when their editorial director said they wanted my book and were offering me a contract, I said something like, "Well, what if things don't go well, blah blah blah?" And she said, "Sometimes that happens. We had this woman who wouldn't agree to the edits that we wanted, so we ended up releasing her from the contract, and I think she was going to self-publish her book. But you, you don't sound crazy, so I don't anticipate that happening here." Ha! HA HA HA!

HA HA FUCKING HA!

But when over a week had passed, and I hadn't gotten anything, I sent a (nice this time! promise!) email saying, "Hey, I don't know how all this works, but it seems like I should have something in writing that the contract is null and void." I also asked them to take down their pre-release listings of my book since I don't think I can list it if they already have it listed (although I'm seriously considering changing the title, so maybe I can?).

Another week has past since that email, so I sent another today. Sigh. I guess I need to be an asshole about this, maybe? I really don't want to hire a lawyer for various reasons, although the top two are 1) laziness and 2) lack of money.

[insert pithy, possibly amusing conclusion here]

Monday
Mar192012

Breaking news: I no longer have a book under contract

Hey, guess what! There was another snag with my dealings with Bella Books. The publisher called to talk to me about it, and after a short conversation, we decided that the best thing to do was to rip up my contract and go our separate ways. 

I'm really okay with this. I've written about my concerns about my cover here recently, and there are some other things--things that I haven't written about--that have occurred that have made me question if this was the path I wanted to take with my work. I have no doubt that the people at Bella Books feel the same way. You know, questioning our business relationship. Because I am not easy. I'm a bitch. There! I said it! I'm a bitch! Don't work with me!

(No, really, save yourselves and stay far away from any sort of employer/employee relationship with me. Not joking.)

I feel really overwhelmed at the moment, but I also feel pretty damn good. I'm going to put out the book that I want the way that I want it to come out. I am so excited about this next step.

Thursday
Mar082012

Status report

Book #1: In the course of correspondence with my publisher about my perfect cover being rejected, I asked (rather petulantly, I might add; I often lack charm), "So what about hearing from my editor in early February? What about THAT?" I was told that the book my editor has been working on has taken longer than she anticipated and that I should now expect to hear from her in early April, but not to worry, we're still on track for a September release. 

Book #2: As I was compiling this "status report" in my head, I realized I have nothing to say about book #2. I also realized that I've barely mentioned book #2 on this blog. I've never even created a tag for it (till now!). It's because this is probably the book I worry about the least. I'm not saying that it's perfect and I don't have any work to do on it. But it's pretty good, and I don't think I'll have to do much to it when its time comes to get ready for publication.

Book #3: This book I still worry about a lot. A friend wants to read it, and having a friend want to read my books is basically the only thing that forces me to edit them BECAUSE I HATE EDITING. However, I love having my friends read my books and tell me how good they are. Catch 22! (Maybe? I think I used that right?) I have no excuse not to be editing this book. Each pass through is helpful, especially when it comes to this one, I think. Maybe this weekend I'll finally suck it up and go through it. That could totally happen...right?

Book #4: I've heard back from a "real" beta reader, i.e. someone who is not my partner. She really, really liked it. I said, "So, are you satisfied? After four books worth of story, does this ending do it for you?" And she said yes. Not sure what else I can ask for or even hope for. I have two other beta readers who aren't done yet. One tells me that she is deliberately reading it slowly because she doesn't want to get to the end. I take that as a compliment. She's about 60% through it now. As for the other, I'm not sure if she's started it or not.

Something else: Here's where I admit that I've been doing some research for another story. My excuse for this is that it's giving me the opportunity to fool around with Scrivener because I promised my partner that I would not begin writing again for at least six months. And I haven't! I am totally not writing! Just familiarizing myself with some software! That's all! And/or I plead the fifth!

How are your various projects coming along?

Friday
Mar022012

Cover, Part 2

I heard back from Bella Books earlier this week about the image I submitted for the cover of my book, and they rejected it. I was quite disappointed. In fact, I still am. Now I wait and see what their design team comes up with. I sent them a list of things I would not like, and that's all I can do. They've said that they'll have the cover finalized in May. We shall see.

The issue of covers and authors is one that I personally find confusing. I guess the philosophy behind not letting authors have cover approval is that authors are writers and don't know anything about marketing. Marketing is the publisher's specialty, and authors should stay out of it. I think that many (maybe most) publishers consult with the author about the cover for his/her book, but when the chips are down, the publisher makes the call.

A prime example of this came to me from my friend, Kristan, who sent me a link to a post written by author Justine Larbalestier about the cover for her book, Liar. You really should click on that link and read the story in its entirety, but to sum up, the publisher, Bloomsbury, decided in their infinite wisdom to put a picture of a white girl's face on a book in which the protagonist is a black girl. Larbalestier, of course, disagreed strongly, but she ultimately had no say in the matter.

I can't think of a more telling instance of marketing and integrity going in opposite directions. 

You all know by now that I would like final approval of the cover of my book. You also know that, just like most authors, I don't have it. And the more that I think about the idea that I should accept this--perhaps even be happy with it--because publishers are some sort of experts at marketing, the more I am annoyed. You can't read an article about being a successful author and having good sales without reading about... yep, you guessed it, self-promotion. These days, publishers expect the authors to do a lot of heavy lifting in the marketing area, and if your book doesn't sell, they are quick to point the finger at the author who didn't do enough marketing on their own.

A successful book is a collaboration between author and publisher, perhaps now more than ever, and I don't think that the cover should be excluded from that collaboration.