I've been thinking about the long, strange trip my series has taken since I sold the first book to a small print press in 2006. It is a little odd that I'm still promoting my first book 7 years later.
This was the original cover of the trade paperback version of The Vampire Shrink published in 2007. Bookstores shelved it all over the place: horror, romance, fantasy, general fiction.
I contracted to do a second book [Dark Harvest] with this small publisher and we immediately disagreed about the focus of the series. They wanted it to be paranormal romance and I had intended the series to be about the main female character's adventures of all kinds -- pretty much how I still describe the series today: Bloody, Sexy and Funny. After much back and forth, the small publisher put out the second book. Of course, they got to choose the cover. I could kick myself now for not even Googling the title Dark Harvest to discover it was already in use. Publishing had/has a steep learning curve.
So, after the interesting experience with the small publisher, we parted company. Since my first agent and I had gone our separate ways then, too, I started talking to other agents and editors about moving my series to a new publishing house. This was 2008-9 and I heard the same thing again and again: it's impossible to move a series from one house to another, and my series couldn't be easily identified as one particular genre, so they weren't interested.
Thinking my series was dead in the water, I pretty much stopped writing and mostly gave up through 2009 -- until I started reading J.A. Konrath's blog. I loved his ideas for making a living as a writer. When he talked about self-publishing ebooks, I got excited again. Back when my first agent negotiated the contract with the small publisher, nobody was talking about ebooks. So, I retained the digital rights.
In early 2010, I [totally clueless] found someone to make covers from stock photos, hired an editor to help me improve the books and someone to convert them, and I uploaded them to Amazon. Within weeks, both novels [and a few small things I'd also uploaded] became best sellers. I couldn't believe it. I was making more money from my writing than from my work as a psychotherapist. Here are the covers for the self-pubbed ebooks:
Thanks to Konrath's advice, I had gotten in on a good self-publishing wave.
Of course, there was lots of talk at that time about "when the self-pub bubble will burst." I figured I'd ride the wave as long as possible, and keep putting up new books. This time period was even more exciting than when I switched from nonfiction to fiction in 2004. I loved being a writer again.
But it was all new and unknown and I'd been programmed to dream of the traditional publishing deal.
So, when I was approached by an agent in mid-2010, who said he could sell my series to another print house, I thought my ship had finally arrived. [Yes, I know what you're thinking.] Agents had begun signing successful self-pubbed authors and I was flattered to be among them.
Right before the holiday period of 2010, [when digital books took off like rockets] I signed a worldwide contract for the first 3 books in my series and took the e-versions down from Amazon, etc.
Book one [The Vampire Shrink] came out again later in several forms with different covers:
Almost immediately after book one published, the USA portion of my new deal fell apart due to all the changes in publishing. So my USA books got lost in the shuffle.
My UK editor [really excellent editor and person], said she thought the old book #2 jumped too far ahead in the series story, so she asked me to write a different book #2, which is titled, Blood Therapy.
Since I made so many changes to the series arc in the new book 2, that old book 2 [Dark Harvest] was shoved underneath the cosmic bed and parts of that book used in the new book #3, Crimson Psyche. This is the UK cover for new book 3. It's possible the USA version will use the same cover, but I don't know yet. I only recently got a new USA publisher. The UK print version comes out January, 2014.
So, what's next for my writing/publishing journey? The only thing I know for sure is that I'll keep writing my series and making it available to readers. I'm also brainstorming a spin-off series and completing a few short stories.
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