I posted this same blog on the http://www.equestrianink.blogspot.com/ that I also write on. However, I felt it would pertain to those of you who write and are interested in self-publishing.
This weekend I am teaching at The Southern California Writer's Conference. I have done this for the past several years and it's always fun and educational. As traditional publishing is looking at change with the massive growth of e-books and various self-publishing options, this year should be an especially interesting one.
When my first book was published back in 2005 (Murder Uncorked), I was bright eyed and in many ways naive. I was so excited to have finally signed a publishing deal. It was for the first 3 books in the Nikki Sands' Mysteries. I had a lot to learn. Nine months later I signed another contract for my Michaela Bancroft series (aka--The Horse Lovers' Mysteries). Both series did well, but my Nikki Sands' Books took off and that was where the publishers' focus went to. I did sell through (which means I earned back my advances) on all of the Michaela Bancroft Mysteries but "word on the NY Street) was that it's hard to sell horse stories unless it is to kids. I say, "Bull pucky," (well, if you know me,then you know I'd use another word)anyway, the series was pulled. At the time I was sad, but I had more mysteries under contract with the Nikki Sands books, so I had the writing still moving forward. However, writing Michaela and about her friends (both human and horses) was something I really wanted to continue doing. I kept it on the back burner and about the time my rights were reverted back to me, the publishing world was on the cusp of drastic changes. This was a good thing.
What this has meant for so many mid-list authors (myself included) is a great deal if you know how to capitalize on it. Once I got my rights back, I made some slight changes in the manuscripts where I had screwed up. You see when I started writing Michaela I knew very little about reining and working cow horse--and readers pointed out where I had made mistakes. readers will do that. Frankly, I still don't know enough. I like to jump! But my dad convinced me that I should explore those diciplines for my character. Dad is an old cowboy and his idea of jumping comes from going out in the woods and flying over logs. I took his suggestion and it worked. However, I still want to see Michaela out on the cross-country course. (I will get back to this). Okay--so--once I had the rights back on these books I decided to reprint them myself. Amazon has a great program called Createspace. There is no out of money cost and it is pretty easy to use. You get your art work or you can use their templates for a cover, format the book to their requirements and upload. The royalty scale is much better than what I was getting from Penguin. Not to mention--I get paid monthly versus every six months. I also took the books and uploaded them on to Kindle (you can do this and have a book up in 48 hours). This is where I am really seeing a difference. I am selling 150 books a minimum a day right now on the Kindle! And--I also get paid monthly on this. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I am sure there are some of you, like me, who agree that there is not enough adult equestrian fiction out there. We want to read it! I am also sure that some of you have a good book inside of you. You might be asking, well why would I want to share in that? "Oh please, I say--there is plenty to go around." We can all share readers. The caveat here is a couple of things--you still have to have a good book and have it edited. If the book and editing are not decent then no one will pick up the next book. A lot of traditonalists say that the market will become flooded from people who really haven't honed the craft. Maybe at first, but as with anything--the cream will rise to the top. Readers are smart and they will find what they like and keep reading. What do you have to lose?