Monday, September 19, 2011

Reversion of Rights - You Can Fix Things

What I'm reading: Part of the Bargain by Linda Lael Miller

After a long wait, I finally got a reversion of rights date for FINDING SARAH and HIDDEN FIRE. As of Wednesday, they will be mine. It should be noted that when you get the rights to a book back, all you "own" is what's between the covers, not the covers. So, I hired a cover artist and this is the new look. I'm trying to call attention to the fact that these two books are connected, so we went for a similar look in both. My sister-in-law provided the main cover image for FINDING SARAH and my son, whom many of you have met here, provided the image for HIDDEN FIRE.

Why did I ask for my rights back? Bottom line: the books weren't doing anything for me (or the publisher, I would assume). About 18 months ago, one of my publishers "remaindered" my first Blackthorne, Inc. book, WHEN DANGER CALLS. The rights reverted to me, and I thought I'd give indie publishing a try. E-books were nothing new to me; my other publishers had been e-book first publishers.

So, I tackled the learning curve for putting books on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and a few other sites. I discovered that although I wasn't raking in the bucks, I was making some sales.

When Ellora's Cave said they were closing down their Cerridwen Press line, and were moving those books into the EC umbrella under the "Blush" imprint, I decided to take the rights back to WHAT'S IN A NAME? but to leave FINDING SARAH and HIDDEN FIRE there, to see if sales would be better under Blush. Meanwhile, I re-published WHAT'S IN A NAME? myself, along with a few short stories.

After giving Blush about 6 months and seeing no change in sales, I requested the rights back to my two remaining books. It took another 6 months, but things are finally coming together.

While I waited, I took a long, hard look at FINDING SARAH and decided it needed some work. That was my very first published book, and I knew it had flaws. I gave the book to my crit group, and I think we've created a much improved version. There were days when I'd look at a scene and say, "Did I really write this?" But then I'd hear from readers who loved the book, or I'd look at my web page where I could see the awards the book had won, and would remind myself that I'm my worst critic, and the book didn't really suck. However, given that I've grown as a writer, I took advantage of being able to fix, update and add some scenes I hadn't included in the first.

HIDDEN FIRE was actually the fourth book I wrote, and I found it needed a lot less fixing—more proof that I've honed my craft over time.

I also decided to bundle all the Pine Hills short stories into one short volume and put that up for sale as well. We're still working on the cover for that one. The toughest part of this one is coming up with a title. If you've followed my Facebook postings, you'll know I put out a plea for help with a title last week. As of now, the offer still stands – if you suggest a title that works for me (and we've had some very 'off the wall' suggestions from people just having a good time), I'll give you a download of the finished product.

For now, it's a matter of making sure the "old" books have been removed from the various e-stores. Once that happens, I'll be starting the upload process of the newer versions. You can be sure you'll read about it here.

Tomorrow, my guest is B.D. Sharp, who's going to talk about bookstores.

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and don't forget, my goal is 500 followers by the end of the year, and 250 "likes". There will be prizes when I get to each milestone. Sometimes the Google Friend Connect follow gadget takes a long time to load. Don't know why, but if you're trying to follow the blog, I appreciate your patience.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'd like to hear a little about how you get the old editions out of the e-stores. Is that easier than it sounds?

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - this from my publisher: We will notify our third party digital and print distributors (Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, Ingram and others) in advance to remove this book from sale; be aware it can take them several days to several weeks to implement a suppression notice.

So, I'll just have to keep checking. In the past, this publisher has been good about following up when I've felt things were moving a bit too slowly.

Ray said...

I hope this brings more attention to your books.

I love the new covers. What a talented family you have.


Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Ray -- I hope so, too!

P.I. Barrington said...

Hmm, very very interesting! I'd love to hear how sales do in the future...thanks for this informative post!

Deborah said...

Terry: I think more of us will be following you in the future. Thanks for being the pioneer!

Terry Odell said...

PI -- I'll be updating. I see no reason to keep things "secret." That's why I enjoy sharing on the blog.

Deborah -- I'm hardly a pioneer, but thanks.

Karen C said...

Love the covers! Enjoyed hearing about the process.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Love the new covers - and wishing you much success in sales.

Lynda Hilburn said...

Nice covers, Terry! Way to take charge of your publishing reality. Thanks for sharing your experiences. So helpful.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've learned so much from you - thanks so much for discussing all the stages of these processes. I didn't realize it was all so complicated!

Jemi Fraser said...

Forgot to say - I love the new covers - fabulous photos!!!